Back in ye olden times, when humans existed in wood carvings and folk still used phrases like “ye olden times”, King James II decided to ban “ye golf”. The bold Jimmy also outlawed a primitive form of “ye futebawe”. This crude, crash, bang, wallop pursuit would later be revived as the Ladbrokes Premiership.

King Jim maintained that all this golfing, footballing and, er, ye-ing were distracting his subjects from valuable archery practice, although historians would later discover that the calamitous consequences of a shanked mashie niblick on the 17th hole of ye medal could be far more devastating than the impact of the bow and arrow.

If James II was surveying the scene today, there’s a good chance gowf would be prohibited and its participants drowned in the village pond, particularly if he’d been sitting on his regal perch watching the final round of Sunday’s Farmers Insurance Open which lasted for an exhausting six hours and still never reached a conclusion.

JB Holmes took over four minutes to weigh up what eventually turned out to be a lay-up during a painful palaver of plootering that resembled a three-toed pygmy sloth embarking on a prolonged courting ritual in an Attenborough documentary. So much for the war on slow play.

In China, meanwhile, King Jimmy would probably have a sturdy ally in the shape of Xi Jinping, the president of the People’s Republic. China’s peculiar view of golf has been well-documented and its love-hate relationship with the game would make Fatal Attraction look like an episode of Steptoe & Son.

This time last year, Mr Jinping, like Chairman Mao before him, began his own crusade against the game as part of a wider campaign on corruption and excess. Jinping and his Communist cronies were adamant that this grand old Royal & Ancient pursuit was merely an example of flashy, western decadence. He’d change his tune on that one if he turned up at The Herald sport desk’s spring outing.

Of course, golf in China remains a ball game of considerable contradictions with a list of inconsistencies that’s longer than the Great Wall. There’s expansion one minute and expulsion the next, vast investment here and meddling interference there.

At the tail end of 2017, golf was made compulsory in some Chinese schools in an attempt to teach children etiquette and instill good behaviour. The move once again highlighted the alternate realities in which golf in China exists. If they are not waging war on the fairways and greens, then they are championing the cherished values that are at the game’s core.

The fact Li Haotong has just become the first Chinese male golfer to break into the world’s top-50 adds another layer to this curious association.

“It’s going to be big,” said the 22-year-old after being asked what the reaction will be in his homeland to his victory over Rory McIlroy in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the weekend.

With Shanshan Feng, who became the first Chinese golfer to win a major in 2012, currently top of the women’s global order, the potential for growth in this colossal nation is immense.

Li, who has made sizeable strides in recent years, is clearly a terrific talent. This was showcased on the global stage last summer when he surged over the line at the Open with a closing 63 to finish third at Royal Birkdale.

Rather like ponderous affairs on the west coast of America on Sunday, though, Li is also known for a fairly deliberate approach. At times, particularly during Saturday’s third round, you almost thought the dusty sculptures of the Terracotta Army would move quicker.

There are many creeping culprits in the global game and, despite all the golfing prowess they demonstrate, the sighing dilly-dallying simply reinforces the widespread view that golf takes too long while doing little to enliven the spectacle as a whole.

The procrastinating of Holmes was a ridiculous episode. A three-ball taking six hours for 18 holes while officials did nothing meant we never even got a winner on Sunday night. Golf was the big loser, however.