It’s been quite the week, hasn’t it? Hot on the heels of the R&A and the USGA confirming plans to introduce a distance-limited ball, Jon Rahm then flung an entire cattery among the pigeons when his will he, won’t he defection to LIV Golf was finally unveiled the other night.

In this fever of gobsmacking developments, you wouldn’t be surprised if Trump’s Turnberry suddenly got welcomed back on to the Open Championship’s rota. Unless, of course, the golf course at the King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia gets first dibs?

These are fascinating, flabbergasting times for the Royal & Ancient game. Well, that’s one way of describing the current tumult without peppering this page with all manner of head-scratching profanities.

Russell Knox, Scotland’s double champion on the PGA Tour, has his own opinion on the whole palaver.

“It’s just crazy,” said the Florida-based Invernesian as he mulled over the latest episodes in golf’s on-going soap opera.

“Imagine if you’d been frozen for the last couple of years, then got brought back now?” he added with a reflective chuckle. “You’d be like, ‘what do you mean there’s this other tour that is paying people millions and millions of dollars to join them? And what do you mean that the governing bodies are introducing a wiffle ball?’.”

Rahm’s defection to LIV is worth upwards of a jaw-dropping £450 million, the biggest in sport. You could buy a few Herald online subscriptions for that.

The reigning Masters champion used that terribly trite, ‘grow the game’ phrase as part of his reasoning but at least he did admit that, yes, the money was the main reason for his switch. The next 20 or so generations of Rahms probably won’t need to lift a finger.

“The money is great, it’s wonderful,” he cooed. “But what I’ve said before is true. I do not play golf for the money. I play golf for the love of the game and for the love of golf, but as a husband and as a father and family man, I have a duty to my family to give them the best opportunities and the most amount of resources possible.”

Make of that what you will. Many, of course, will take his words, ‘what I’ve said before is true,’ and deliver a withering snort.

Back in February 2022, when LIV was still in its infancy, Rahm emphatically nailed his colours to the mast. “This is the one and only time I’ll talk about this, I am officially declaring my fealty to the PGA Tour,” said the Spaniard.

The fact the word ‘fealty’ hadn’t been heard since the fall of Constantinople gave Rahm’s declaration added majesty. Just this August, meanwhile, he reinforced his loyalty to the established tours and said: “I laugh when people rumour me with LIV Golf. I never liked the format. My heart is with the PGA Tour.”

Great fistfuls of salt have now been gulped down. Lured by the mighty wealth of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), you could say Rahm has been taking the PIF out of everybody.

Where this leaves the men’s game and its increasingly wobbly ‘framework agreement’ is now anybody’s guess. A tentative move towards clarity and cohesion has now been shrouded in even more confusion and chaos.

The startling and clandestine June truce involving the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and the PIF, which caused Rahm to swiftly lose trust in the PGA Tour hierarchy, was at least supposed to put an end to all this plundering and poaching.

There has been rampant speculation that US private investors were ready to muscle in on the scene and elbow the PIF into the rough. The capture of Rahm, though, means the Saudis have additional clout around the negotiating table. LIV now has three of the last five men’s major winners in its money-soaked ranks.

Joining LIV also put Rahm’s Ryder Cup future in jeopardy as he needs to remain a DP World Tour member to be eligible for the biennial tussle. Rory McIlroy came out yesterday and stated that the Rahm coup has legitimised LIV and believes the Ryder Cup rules will now have to be rewritten to make sure Rahm is included in the 2025 team. Watch this space.

The current scene in the upper echelons remains as splintered as a snapped hickory shaft. “The whole landscape of golf right now is a bit of a joke,” suggested Knox.

But who will have the last laugh?