Just for a change of scene, I toddled along to the local library yesterday and set up camp there to compose these weekly wafflings, while taking the opportunity to sheepishly return a couple of Mills & Boon audio books I’d had since last October. “I hear that a decent column from you is also long overdue,” muttered the librarian with a withering snort.

As I clumped off to settle in to this hushed, scholarly environment, I assumed I’d be inspired by all the meaty tomes, weighty novels, searing polemics and trailblazing memoirs that surrounded me. As you can probably already tell from these opening paragraphs, I wasn’t.

In fact, the only thing that got inspired was a young student who engaged in whispering conversation with me and ended up asking for advice about breaking into journalism.

Presumably, he’d glimpsed me in the throes of bewildering endeavour and figured that if a ham-fisted oaf such as myself can eke out a living by witlessly pawing and poking at the keys of a laptop until I reach 900 words, then there’s hope for anyone.

We live in hope, meanwhile, that the on-going shenanigans in the upper reaches of the men’s professional game will, one day, come to some sort of conclusion.

Speaking to a Sunday newspaper at the weekend, the DP World Tour’s out going high heid yin, Keith Pelley, suggested that a unified product, involving the old European Tour, the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, is inevitable.

Everybody and their auntie knows that negotiations involving the various parties have been rumbling on for yonks now. And they could rumble on for a while yet.

“Whether it be in six months, a year, two years or 10 years, I think people are coming to the realisation that a collective product is in the best interest of global golf,” said Pelley.

A decade? Blimey. Imagine your correspondent still documenting this prolonged palaver over the course of the next 10 years? It would be like some entry out of the diary of Samuel Pepys.

These continue to be strange days. Last week, those of us in the golf media worked ourselves into various states of excitement at the return of Anthony Kim after 12 years in the competitive wilderness.

Despite all our slightly unhinged anticipation, Kim, predictably, looked as rusty as some of the wrecks in the Polmadie car pound and finished dead last at the LIV event in Saudi Arabia with a 16-over tally, 33 shots behind eventual winner Joaquin Niemann.

Kim came in 11 strokes behind the second last player and was cut so far adrift, he may as well have been bobbing about in a raft on the Red Sea.

As for Niemann? Well, his win poured more fuel on the heated talking point that simply won’t go away. The young Chilean, who won his second LIV event of the season and also captured the DP World Tour’s Australian Open at the tail end of 2023, is one of the hottest players in the game just now.

"How is that possible? I'm like 100 in the world," he responded as he, once again, brought up the bone of contention that is the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR).

For the record, Niemann is actually 76th on global order but, like most LIV members, he is slithering down the standings because the breakaway circuit doesn’t meet the OWGR criteria and players can’t earn ranking points. In this respect, a scroll through said rankings still makes for baffling reading.

Now, where’s Dustin Johnson, the two-time major winner who had spent a combined 135 weeks as world No 1? Ah look, there he is, down in 247th, sandwiched between Pachara Khangwatmai and Nick Bachem. It’s an odd state of affairs isn’t it? But that’s elite men’s golf in 2024 for you.

Niemann is eligible for the Open. The other week he was handed an exemption for the Masters on the basis of his Australian Open win and last night he got the nod for the PGA Championship. 

In these fractured times, the best competing against the best is not something that happens on a regular basis. As a follower of golf, you may feel short-changed. The majors, then, seem more important than ever.

Some, including multiple LIV winner and - whisper it - world No 449, Talor Gooch, have claimed that major winners should now have an asterisk next to them due to the absence of certain LIV players in the field. Hysterical nonsense? Why, of course it was but there’s been a lot of hysterical nonsense spouted in the world of golf over the past couple of years. There will probably be more to come.

Hysterical nonsense? Why, of course it was but there’s been a lot of hysterical nonsense spouted in the world of golf over the past couple of years. There will probably be more to come.

The players who signed up for LIV knew that they would potentially jeopardise their place in the championships that matter more than money because of the circuit’s failure to meet the OWGR regulations. You can’t have your cash-sodden cake and eat fistfuls of it.

Some observers insist the OWGR is flawed, inaccurate and not fit for purpose in these changing golfing times. Many others believe the LIV defectors should suffer the consequences of their choices on a circuit that still has questions of competitive integrity to answer.

It’s just another bloomin’ thing that needs sorted in the complex guddle that is men’s professional golf. If we’re lucky, we may get consensus rather than conflict by 2034. Watch this space …