WELL, what d’ya know?

That old adage that money talks was hollered in full dollar, pound, euro, shekel, bong and dong decibel-screeching level this week.

And who suffers? Those dinosaurs among us who can’t afford, or don’t want, to subscribe to satellite television.

This week came the announcement that from 2017 The Open championship – the oldest, most prestigious, indeed the most revered golf tournament – will be screened live, and only live, by Sky Television.

That ends a shade over six decades of coverage of the battle for the Claret Jug provided by the BBC. And it is a dark day of disgrace for sports fans.

Sky Sports, that sky-jacking piper whose tune gets louder with every passing moment, has gone and kidnapped another great sporting tradition.

Okay, The Open was not one of the collection of so-called crown jewels such as football’s World Cup, the Olympic Games, the Grand National and Wimbledon, plus bakery/cooking, house-refurnishing, property-hunting specialities protected for showing across non paid-for broadcasters.

But losing the June jamboree of birdies, bogeys and bravado-blustered Americans trying to yank the small but perfectly-formed vessel back across the Atlantic still represents a massive kick in the bunkers.

It’s so easy to lash out at Sky, those sports-snatchers supreme.

Among my own faves to since have been purloined by broadcasting’s most brazen robber barons have been rugby league and boxing.

The first has, admittedly, flourished largely down to the first-class presentation of what is undeniably a high-calibre product.

Fresh and innovative treatment of rugby league amplified its inherent skill and speed, its intensity and athleticism.

Bizarrely though, the second, boxing, has fared far from as profitably, which maybe was due to the fact that boxing was already hyped to the nth degree before the tentacles of the Murdoch satellite enveloped the ropes and canvas arena in its all-encompassing grip.

But what of golf’s ruling authority the Royal & Ancient, whose R&A acronym might now stand for rip-off and avarice?

In accepting the Sky coins of silver – no doubt in their millions rather than just the Judas talents- tally of 30 – the game’s rulers bleated about being able to filter yet more resources to the grass-roots of golf.

Somehow, I cannot see humble clubs around these isles, certainly not those under municipal patronage, benefiting from any unlikely trickle-down effect unless they mean more sales of alcohol while the four days of The Open are played out in the clubhouse lounge.

Wouldn’t it be so much more refreshing if the R&A confessed how they acquired the best market price for what is nought but a sell-out?

In two years’ time the nation’s golf fans who don’t subscribe to Sky, or who don’t get to a venue showing it, will no longer get to see – live – the yet to be crowned winner coming down the 18th fairway to a gallery of applause.

Nor will they marvel – live - at shots of sheer genius, scrambling artistry or length of green putts. A certain Senor Ballesteros must be spinning in his grave.

And what about the BBC, whose exclusivity will soon be ripped from its mitts? They are not innocent in this. They cannot be absolved from blame – and that’s simply not because they can never be expected to match the seemingly bottom-less cash-pit of Sky.

What the Beeb is unashamedly guilty of is taking their eyes off the dimpled ball. They should be charged by licence payers for their smugness that borders on the reckless.

While Sky has advanced its coverage of golf, much in the same way as its attention to detail to English domestic football and the afore-mentioned rugby league, the Beeb’s coverage has been lodged like a hacker in the rough stuff that has barely shook off the 1970s.

Whereas Match Of The Day was often described as football discussion in the clubhouse until undergoing subtle changes over the last year or so, golf on the BBC has never got out of the jolly chums talking-shop peopled by the Peter Alliss-band of stick in the mud traditionalists.

Each time The Open is shown you can almost smell the garishly patterned jumpers and trews pulled out from mothball protection, the pungent smoothness of brandy and port, the pernicious whiff of privilege and exclusivity.

Efforts to change the crusty image have been lame. The recent introduction of Dan Walker to the team has been as edgy as a snooker ball.

Now that Sky has snuck up again with its bundles of moolah, the BBC should be taking a hard look at how they approach sport.

Otherwise it won’t be a surprise to see the august channel’s lone live sport limited to One Man And His Dog. And that will be rough.