Our jolly old friends at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists will reveal an update to the Doomsday Clock today in an eagerly anticipated announcement that showcases how close they believe humanity is to a complete and utter catastrophe.

Funnily enough, a similarly sombre ritual takes place in The Herald’s office on a Monday night when the sports editor peers gingerly at the elaborate timepiece on his wrist and mutters the apocalyptic lament, “that bloody disaster of a golf column should be on its way.”

During my many moments of strenuous idleness – and believe me, staring at a laptop screen trying to think of an introduction to these Tuesday haverings can be exhausting – I occasionally wonder what the end of the world would look like.

In my mind, it’ll be a spectacle broadly equivalent to the aftermath of Storm Isha. But, in addition to blue wheelie bins left scattered in wild abandon, splintered garden fences and no trains, there will also be flocks of shrieking, fire-breathing pterodactyls incinerating anything and everything in an orgy of terrifying destruction. Or something like that.

So, as we tick-tock our way towards Armageddon, lets crack on with this week’s meander.

The winners around the golfing world on Sunday were a wonderful bunch, weren’t they? Rory McIlroy, doing the captivating, topsy-turvy things that Rory McIlroy does so well, completed a memorable victory in the Dubai Desert Classic as he hauled his way back from 10-shots behind at halfway to win the title for a fourth time.

The mighty Lydia Ko earned her 20th LPGA Tour crown at the age of just 26 in the season-opening Tournament of Champions as she moved to the brink of Hall of Fame membership while 20-year-old Nick Dunlap became the first amateur since Phil Mickelson in 1991 to win on the PGA Tour with a thrilling success at the American Express Championship.

Dunlap, of course, had to forfeit the first prize of $1.5 million. In this tumultuous, financially flabbergasting age, when there is so much written about money you could rip the golf page from a newspaper and pop into the bank to get it cashed, it was almost a refreshing change not to be sidetracked by the mind-boggling riches on offer.

Ah, the Corinthian spirit, eh? Dunlap will now go on to earn a fortune, no doubt, with an inevitable leap into the professional ranks.

The game has a new star. Well, until the next one comes along in, oh, a few minutes. There are so many rising stars in the men’s and women’s scene these days, golf just about appears in the Night Sky Almanac. Many of the young ‘uns who bound onto the stage, particularly from the US college environment, arrive with an ability and an assuredness that’s quite something.

They seem fearless and ready to win and their emergence continues to bolster the game’s formidable strength in depth, which now tends to be deeper than a burial at sea.

Across all levels of the pro scene – and the amateur game too - the talent pool in this global pursuit is vast. Gaining a foothold, making inroads or even consolidating on the various rungs is getting tougher and tougher to do. From a Scottish perspective – we do like a peer through the parochial lens now and then – the new season should give us plenty to ponder.

Yes, we have Robert MacIntyre flying the flag on the PGA Tour and a host of other sturdy competitors who are well-established in the upper echelons of the DP World Tour. We also have Gemma Dryburgh, a Solheim Cup player and LPGA Tour winner, doing sterling work at the top level of the women’s game. Behind that posse, though, we’re a bit threadbare.

For the second year in a row, there were no tartan-tinged graduates onto the DP World Tour from the 2023 Challenge Tour while no home hopefuls scrambled through the qualifying school for the main circuit either.

On the female front, meanwhile, 2023 was a largely forgettable one for those Scots plying their trade on the Ladies European Tour. Kylie Henry, a double champion on the circuit back in 2014, lost her card and failed to get it back at q-school, as did the likes of Michele Thomson, Laura Beveridge and Ayrshire rookie, Louise Duncan.

That particular qualifier was won by Nataliya Guseva, a 20-year-old Russian who was at college in the US and had already secured her status on the LPGA Tour prior to doubling up by winning a European card. What were we saying about these young ‘uns again?

With no Scottish players emerging from the second-tier Access Series, the home of golf is desperately undernourished as far as full card holders on the Ladies European Tour go in 2024. In this hard, ruthless environment, with fresh waves of talent coming in all the time, getting those playing rights back won’t be an easy task.

But then, golf was never meant to be easy. Even McIlroy and Ko, despite years of sustained excellence, will vouch for that. And Dunlap, fresh from his stirring amateur dramatics, will now have to adapt to new demands, increased focus and heightened expectations.

As for this correspondent? Well, I’m just happy I got through an entire column without writing about the Saudi bloomin’ PIF. Things are looking up. Now, how’s that Doomsday Clock doing?