I was reading something at the weekend – yes, I do read words and don’t just gaze witlessly at the pictures – and said article was all about the ancient Peruvian ceremony of takanakuy.

Perhaps you’ve heard about it? Basically, it’s an annual tradition which helps to usher in the new year with a clean slate and involves that genteel, diplomatic process known as physical violence.

Men, women and children in the province of Chumbivilcas gather to engage in fist fights as a means of settling the myriad grudges and grievances that have built up over the past 12 months.

Apparently, all this cathartic thwacking, thumping, clattering and battering helps to foster a sense of camaraderie and strengthens the bonds in the community.

Once everybody has got some stuff off their chest and clocked a few sair yins, all and sundry come together to drink and celebrate.

Funnily enough, members of The Herald’s sports desk employ a similarly time-honoured ritual during the office Christmas knees-up.

Anyway, I was thinking that takanakuy could be used to sort out the on-going palaver in the world of men’s professional golf. After bigwigs at the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Public Investment Fund missed the Hogmanay deadline to firm up their plans for a working partnership, a few biffs and beverages might just hasten the whole thing along?

Imagine the scene? LIV supremo Greg Norman and PGA Tour commissioner, Jay Monahan, rolling around in the dirt and throwing a few punches before staggering off arm in arm for a reconciliatory pint and finally signing the framework agreement? It can’t be any more ridiculous than some of the capers that have gone on over the past year or so.

But here we are in 2024, and things are still mired in uncertainty. Those no-nonsense residents of the aforementioned Chumbivilcas are probably dabbing their burst lips, cut eyebrows and dented noses and saying, ‘well, I’ve just stuck the nut on my next-door neighbour because of his encroaching hedge but at least we get bloomin’ stuff sorted quickly’.

At the weekend there, the PGA Tour’s first ‘signature event’ of the new season, The Sentry, took place in Hawaii and served to illustrate how badly the men’s game has been affected by the on-going muddle.

A year ago, in the same tournament, Jon Rahm got 2023 off to a barn-storming start when he fired a final round 63 to overcome a nine-shot deficit and win with great aplomb. Rahm, of course, is now a LIV employee and wasn’t allowed to play in the 2024 opener.

The watering down of PGA Tour events goes on. Unless something comes out in the wash soon, April’s Masters, the first men’s major of the year, will, again, be the first time we see all the game’s big hitters on the one stage. Great news for the Augusta showpiece. Not so great for everything that goes before it.

For the casual observer, who probably now gets more roused watching dust form on a sideboard than they do about switching on the golf, confusion and shrugging indifference reigns.

Regular tour events are diluted and the attraction can be less compelling. Meanwhile, LIV, despite all its self-promotion, hoopla and hype, has a TV audience that’s broadly equivalent to the numbers you’d get outside an old Dixons shop when a few folk would peer at the teles in the window for the football scores on a Saturday afternoon.

Everybody is being shortchanged. Well, apart from many of the increasingly powerful players, whose greed and disloyalty has led to the established tours capitulating to the Saudis. On both sides of golf’s divide, it remains a wholly unsatisfactory situation.

Amid all this, reminders of golf’s modest place in the wider scheme of sport are easy to find. In the US, the Sports Business Journal recently reported its list of the top sporting broadcasts of 2023. The final day of the Masters attracted 12.1 million viewers and was golf’s most watched event. But it was down in 131st place on the overall list of must-see sporting occasions.

Over here, the Ryder Cup attracted an average of 750,000 on Sky, which was a record figure.  Given that the final of last week’s darts world championship lured in 4.8 million on the same platform, however, you can see why golf can ill afford to have more folk jabbing the ‘off’ button. The current chaos is doing nothing in terms of attracting and maintaining eyeballs.

Last week, Rory McIlroy, who was one of the most strident anti-LIV voices, softened his stance on the whole state of affairs. “I wouldn’t say I’ve lost the fight against LIV, but I’ve just accepted the fact that this is part of our sport now,” he said, as the aforementioned Norman gloated like a cat that had commandeered the entire dairy let alone the cream.

Acceptance of Saudi dosh across sport in general is, well, par for the course. The wider, geopolitical issues involved with Saudi Arabian investment may remain unpalatable for many but for golf, and indeed sport, there ain’t no going back.

So, is it now forward together? Well, that seems to be the case. How long this wearisome journey will take, though, is anybody’s guess. I still reckon a bout of Peruvian takanakuy will sort it all out.