It's been a strange closing stage to what has already been the weirdest of years.
We have a losing American president bluntly refusing to pack up his bat and ball; the State of Origin being played at the same time as Christmas carols in the malls; an Autumn Masters; Argentina beating the All Blacks... The only thing that has maintained any real consistency has been me once again somehow missing out on what looked to be a certain prize in the annual Mark Hughes Foundation Golf Day.
Last year, as I've mentioned here previously, I was denied the "Straightest Drive" despite my ball actually resting against the rope. Did somebody manage to balance theirs on it?
This year it was the "Nearest the Pin". The 17th at Crowne is a short but tricky little par 3. Sand on the left, water behind, 129 metres on the day. I went with a firm wedge and was very happy with it from the tee. Flew straight at the stick. "That's gotta be close," I thought.
As we walked towards the green I couldn't immediately see my ball, and I remember thinking, "they used to have a $50,000 truck as a prize for a hole-in-one in this thing in the past, I wonder what it is this year?"
I was busy mentally spending the proceeds when my ball came into view, having been briefly obscured by a small ridge.
Any disappointment at it not being actually in the hole was straight away pretty amply compensated for by its proximity to it. It was very, very close. Inside a metre away, and a good foot inside the marker for the previous "Nearest".
I moved the marker, wrote my name on the thing identifying me as nearest and considered the thing a done deal... right up until the point where, at the ensuing presentation, the MC announced that, "third place in the Nearest the Pin goes to Brian Burke".
Third? Surely not! Look, I'll concede that it was possible, however unlikely, that some chancer fluked one and got it inside mine. But two of them?
No way. It reeks of skulduggery and, really, when combined with last year's Straight Drive nonsense you have to suspect some form of continued Coalfield rivalry. Of Cessnock just being intrinsically unable to give a trophy to an ex-member of a superior football side ...
Still, a bloody great day. It's a tremendous cause, and I'll be back next year.
Speaking of persistence: In what my wife will tell you has been the ultimate endurance event, we celebrated our 55th wedding anniversary last week. It falls on the same day, the newspapers informed me, as Nadia Comaneci's birthday.
Comaneci, as many of you will remember, was the first gymnast ever to score a perfect 10, which she managed back in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. She was 14.
Reading about it, and remembering, made for some type of counterpoint, a couple of days later, when a 44 year old Tiger Woods scored his own first "perfect 10" on the par three 12th in his final round of the Masters. Big difference between a 10 in gymnastics and a 10 on a par three I considered.
However, where pretty much anybody else would have dropped their bundle, having carded double figures, Woods went on to birdie five of the six remaining holes. Impressive.
Australia's Cameron Smith shot 15 under - a score that would have won him 77 out of the total 84 Masters events. This year? Not even close. Dustin Johnson took his share of the $US11,500,000 purse - about $2million - by five shots with a record setting 20 under.
Augusta officials are voicing concerns that the technological advances in equipment are depriving the course of its "teeth". Modern players simply fly the ball over where the trouble lies.
What to do? The courses with the space are lengthening themselves, but surely this is ridiculous. Continually lengthening the holes, expanding the real estate, in order to keep up with the gear? It's an absurdity.
At the same time, 63-year-old Bernard Langer became the oldest player to make the cut at the Masters, finishing at three under, in 29th place ahead of a number of top 10 ranked players.
You'd have to think the improved gear, on some level, made this possible.