According to reports, the Black Friday sales were quieter than normal this year. That’s hardly surprising, of course. Most of us can barely afford to buy a woodlouse in the current cost of living crisis.

Anyway, there was a time when Black Friday, an appalling shopping tradition in the US which suddenly became an appalling shopping tradition over here, whipped up mindboggling levels of pandemonium which merely reinforced the belief that society has lost its bloomin’ marbles.

Before you could say, ‘ooh, look, there’s 60 per cent off that Russell Hobbs four-slice toaster’, the boggle-eyed, salivating hordes would be elbowing, biting and gouging themselves to the front of the queue to embark on the kind of frenzied shelf-stripping that had all the decorum of a seething shoal of piranha fish gnashing a stricken warthog down to the bare bones.

In the absence, then, of any Black Friday tumult this year, we’ll just have to settle for the mouth-frothing delirium of another Tiger Woods return this week. According to my calculations, this will be comeback number, oh, 106? I may be slightly out with my finger counting, but you get the idea.

The last time we saw Woods in a competitive environment was on a soggy, chilly day in Augusta during April’s Masters as he hirpled his way through seven holes of an excruciating third round which was so painful, it looked like he was walking on ball bearings. Woods promptly withdrew and we’ve not seen or heard much from him since.

All being well, we’ll see and hear him over the next few days as he pitches up at his own Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, a cosy, end of year gathering of 20 players which tends to be as tranquil as the curds and traybakes section of a village fete. Such a controlled, genteel environment tends to be the perfect place to dip a tentative toe back into the competitive waters.

This, of course, doesn’t mean there will be a lack of scrutiny. Apart from the usual issues surrounding his health, many are keen to question Woods on the general state of affairs in the men’s professional game as it continues to be embroiled in a fairly desperate guddle.

You’re probably all sick and tired of reading about great wads of money and framework agreements involving the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) as discussions over a working alliance rumble on and on.

Then again, you may have just switched off completely to the whole palaver a long time ago. You’ve got more pressing golfing issues to deal with – that jittery, jabby putting stroke you’ve developed won’t cure itself – so why waste time worrying about multi-millionaires bickering about more multi-millions?

Since that framework agreement between the warring factions was unveiled to great gasps of astonishment, Woods has become a player director on the PGA Tour’s policy board.

Woods may not be permitted to give too much detail in his press conference today but it would be interesting to hear his thoughts on the direction the tour is heading.

What does he want the future of the circuit to look like? And would he accept huge Saudi investment into the tour given his well-documented disdain for all things LIV related? He turned down something in the region of $800 million to join the rebellion, after all.

Woods is a voice more powerful than the opera singer on the Go Compare advert. Imagine if he said he was totally against a union with the PIF? The whole framework thingamabob, which already seems to be on a shoogly peg, would probably go down like a torpedoed battleship.  

Golf’s prolonged period of discontent continued at the weekend when the results of the PGA Tour’s Player Impact Program (PIP) were unveiled. The PIP is that contentious scheme which was developed to stop PGA Tour players hopping on board the LIV gravy train by rewarding them for boosting the circuit’s profile through activities like social media engagement and brand exposure. Golf’s irrational competition to secure its top talent knows no bounds.

Rory McIlroy was No 1 on the PIP chart this year and was handed $15 million. Woods was second and pocketed $12 million. Tiger’s impact and commercial clout, even in hidden convalescence, remains vast.

As for those players who muddle on the margins? Well, they ain’t happy apparently. Nate Lashley – now there’s a name for the hardcore golf followers – bleated that dishing out $100 million to just 20 players on the PIP was a ‘kick in the face’ to the rank and file of the tour.

Lashley has made $7 million since 2018. He’s hardly a pauper. Not for the first time, however, evidence of the growing schism between the tour’s leading lights and those, well, lesser lights has become apparent.

The star attractions who bring eyeballs to the tour want a bigger chunk of the pie. Those further down the food chain believe they’re being forgotten about amid all the pampering that is lavished on the elite. There is division and discord as well as a distrust in the tour’s hierarchy. It’s another sign of troubled times.

Oh well, at least Tiger is back. Again. Will he manage 72-holes or will it be another aborted mission? As with most things in men’s golf just now, there are more questions than answers.