Life is full of hum-drum irritations, isn’t it? On this long list of largely insignificant inconveniences, one of my enduring peeves is that ‘tear here’ to open tab on, say, a packet of biscuits.

Perhaps I’m just a fumbling imbecile, incapable of following the most rudimentary of instructions, but every time I attempt to unfurl a fresh sleeve of Malted Milks by adhering to the ‘tear here’ guidelines, the whole thing ends up looking like I’ve attacked it with a bloomin’ angle grinder.

Violent slits here, unsightly gouges there, a top layer of mutilated biscuits crumbled everywhere? Good grief. This infuriating palaver generates the kind of crushingly awkward footering, fiddling, muttering and mumbling you’d get when Captain Hook tried to apply some ointment to an area of particular sensitivity. What an excruciating farce.

All of this, of course, doesn’t really have anything to do with golf, does it? But then, when did this column ever start with anything to do with golf?

In a roundabout way, you could liken those pesky ‘tear here’ tabs to LIV Golf because the Saudi-backed breakaway circuit has ripped into the game’s status quo with all the elegance of your correspondent trying to prise open a packet of Malted thingamabobs.

The reported multi-million dollar switch of English Ryder Cup player Tyrrell Hatton to LIV yesterday was the latest development in the on-going saga that continues to ruffle feathers in the upper echelons of the men’s professional scene.

LIV Golf’s third season – how time flies and how wrong we were, eh? -  gets underway this week in Mexico with the circuit’s prize catch, Jon Rahm, making his debut.

Away from the upheaval in the men’s game, the news a few days ago that the Saudis effectively kiboshed a proposed merger between the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour (LET) raised plenty of eyebrows. It also underlined the increasing power and influence they have.

Not that long ago, the LET was in fairly dire straits and its schedule was as threadbare as Albert Steptoe’s semmit. Sponsors departed, events were cancelled, some players had to get second jobs to supplement their income and the whole thing was just about carted off to a hospital ward and connected to a drip.

Given its parlous state, the LET was always going to be vulnerable to the tentacles of the Saudis. The tour simply couldn’t afford to turn down any form of investment that cropped up so when Golf Saudi, a division of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), pumped a few million quid in, amid platitudes about growing the game among women in the Kingdom, the LET became firmly wrapped in their embrace.  

Golf Saudi’s investment in the LET stands at $10 million, nearly a third of the circuit’s entire prize fund. The $5 million Saudi International remains the showpiece occasion while five lucrative Aramco Series events, each with a purse of $1 million, bolster the schedule.

In comparison to the outlandish, some will say obscene, riches they are flinging at the men’s game, of course, $10 million looks like a cup of coins you’d drop in the two pence pusher arcade game at M&Ds theme park. For the women, though, it’s not to be sniffed at and the injection of funds has changed the financial face of the European circuit. At what cost, though?

The proposed merger of the LET and the LPGA Tour seemed a foregone conclusion. Back in 2019, the two entities formed a strategic partnership with a view to an amalgamation but a vote of the LET membership at the end of 2023 to rubber-stamp the act of union was called off at the last-minute.

What was set to be a mere formality became shrouded in uncertainty. “I’m on the players’ council and I don’t know anything,” said Scotland’s Laura Beveridge of a clandestine scene that could’ve featured upturned collars, dimly lit alleyways and a suspicious exchange of briefcases.

It transpired that Golf Saudi wanted various assurances about the nature of the merger before it would commit to bankrolling events on the 2024 schedule. The potential loss of $10 million was clearly too much to risk for the LET.

The merger, for the time being at least, was binned. Also sacrificed were four spots on the LPGA Tour for the leading players from this season’s LET rankings.

The prospect of direct access to the promised land of the women’s game was a huge incentive for the campaigners on this side of the pond. It’s a major blow to lose it now. Losing a series of lucrative events, though, would’ve hurt even more.

In a sense, the Golf Saudi top brass have flexed their financial muscles with something of a veiled threat. And you don’t want to get on the wrong side of them, do you?

Golf, and sport in general, is in very deep. Indeed, this latest development shows the LET is virtually beholden to the Saudis, even though it has a very strong and financially robust partner in the LPGA Tour. As is the norm with golf in the current climate, there are more questions than answers.

The Ladies European Tour and the LPGA Tour will continue to focus on “maximising our joint venture rather than pursue the merger at this time.”

The shadow of the Saudis, meanwhile, continues to loom large.