On and on we go. For the wearied observer, the prolonged negotiations between golf’s established tours and the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) seem to be moving along with about as much surging impetus as Grandpa Broon hirpling to the bowling club when his bunions are playing up.

Despite all this, Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour’s embattled commissioner, insisted in his state of the nation address ahead of the Players Championship at Sawgrass earlier in the week that talks were “accelerating.”

For those seeking answers as to what the structure of the elite end of the men’s professional game will look like in the future, though, there is a general feeling that we are stuck somewhere between deadlock and gridlock.

In an effort to get things shunting along, it appears that a posse of influential PGA Tour campaigners – player-directors as they are now known – are poised to meet with the high heid yins of the aforementioned PIF.

As ever with this on-going rigmarole, the whole thing is shrouded in the kind of secrecy that would make the plans for the D-Day Landings look like common chitter-chatter at the local.

“We are being encouraged to potentially meet with them at some point,” admitted Jordan Spieth, the three-time major champion, as he shed some vague light on proceedings.

That said, the former world No 1 may as well have been speaking to the media in whispered tones down a dimly lit back alley as he hinted at the possibility of some of the PGA Tour’s main movers and shakers meeting the PIF governor, Yasir al-Rumayyan, in the coming days

“I’m not sure that I can say much more other than we’re being encouraged to potentially meet with them,” he added with caution. “I think there’s not a whole lot more I can say about that, but we are being encouraged obviously which I think is probably a good thing that the entire board should [meet] if there’s going to be any potential for a negotiation.”

The Players Championship has been celebrating its 50th staging this week but the absence of a glut of star names like Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka and Cameron Smith, who all defected to the LIV rebellion, has taken some of the shine off this golden anniversary.

Who will lift the tournament’s gold and sterling silver trophy, meanwhile, remains to be seen. Heading into yesterday’s third round, the reigning US Open champion, Wyndham Clark, was sitting on a four-shot lead having opened his campaign with a couple of terrific 65s.

His 14-under tally set a mighty standard. For Oban’s Robert MacIntyre, the standard on the PGA Tour continues to give him plenty of food for thought.

As a rookie on the circuit, the 27-year-old Scot has been slowly finding his feet – he posted a top-10 finish in the Mexico Open recently -  but the Stadium course proved to be a frustrating, punishing adversary.

Having missed the cut on his debut in the Players Championship in 2021, MacIntyre again departed early with rounds of 74 and 76 for a six-over tally.

“Wasn’t to be this week,” he said in a reflective post on social media. “Twice I’ve played (the Players Championship) and twice I’ve come off thinking how can you make a score round this place? One of those courses for me.”

Perhaps MacIntyre can take on board those old words of wisdom from the great Jack Nicklaus? “Patience was always my strength,” said the 18-time major champion, who won three of the first five Players Championships back in ye day. “When a player says a course doesn't suit him, he's half beaten right there.”

It is all part of the learning process.

MacIntyre’s fellow Scot, the experienced Martin Laird, endured a grisly end to a third round that was going along quite the thing.

After a topsy-turvy outward half, Laird, a three-time PGA Tour winner who was joint runner-up in this championship back in 2012, conjured a purposeful thrust coming home.

The Glasgow exile, level-par for his round through 11, picked up birdies at 12, 13 and 15 before plonking his tee-shot at the iconic 17th to eight-feet and making another gain.

What the golfing gods giveth, they taketh away, though, and a trip into the water with his second shot on the 18th led to a teeth-grinding double-bogey to finish. Laird had to settle for a two-under 70 and a three-under tally.

Sunday is another golfing day.