OPINION: One of the great sports events - the Ryder Cup - takes place this weekend.
The contest pits the best European and American golfers against each other in a three- day match involving foursomes, fourball and singles.
As with the Davis Cup in tennis, it's fun to watch individual stars combining in a team. The golfers don't get paid, but are desperate to play nevertheless.
Samuel Ryder, an English seed merchant from St Albans, Hertfordshire, could never have imagined when he donated the cup in 1927 that his name would live on in such a manner.
The Ryder Cup grew out of a 1926 match between American and British professionals at Wentworth.
The first official cup competition was won by the United States in 1927.
Until World War II, the biennial contest between Britain and the United States was relatively even. Thereafter the Americans dominated.
After 1977 Jack Nicklaus urged that Britain be replaced by Europe. His argument was given impetus by the emergence of Spanish champion Seve Ballesteros.
Since then the Ryder Cup has been riveting. The Europeans, whose ranks have included Germans, Swedes, Italians, Spaniards and Frenchmen, have won eight times, the Americans seven, with one draw.
Some golfers, such as Americans Sam Snead and Walter Hagen and Europeans Colin Montgomerie and Sergio Garcia, have been especially effective in team play.
Nick Faldo has played the most Ryder Cup contests - 11, from 1977 to 1997 - and earned the most Ryder Cup points - 25.
This year's battle looks particularly delicious because the teams are led by two champions, Rory McIlroy for the Europeans and Tiger Woods for the Americans.
McIlroy, 23, is the world No 1. The Northern Irishman has had a fantastic season, including winning the US Open. He has generally bettered Woods in recent head-to-head meetings.
But Woods, though unable to win a Major, has been in his best form in five years, with three US tour victories and a world ranking of No 2. He would love to slap down the young pretender.
American captain Davis Love III has a vastly experienced team, including Phil Mickelson (nine appearances), Jim Furyk (8) and Woods (7).
European captain Jose Maria Olazabal has named a youngish team to defend the cup, though Lee Westwood (eight appearances) has long been a mainstay.
The Ryder Cup has produced some dramatic moments.
In 1969 at Royal Birkdale the cup went down to the final singles, between No 1s Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin.
Their match went to the 18th and Jacklin was left with a two-foot putt to tie it. Nicklaus went over and picked up Jacklin's ball to concede the putt, to the chagrin of his captain, Snead.
'I'm sure he'd have made it,' said Nicklaus, 'but I wasn't going to give him the chance to miss.'
By contrast, in 1989 and 1991 Paul Azinger and Ballesteros made headlines by accusing each other of cheating.
In 1999 at Brookline, Massachusetts, the Americans were accused of poor sportsmanship when they stormed on to the 17th green to celebrate Justin Leonard's miracle 45-foot putt in the final match.
It meant Leonard's opponent, Olazabal, was left with a long wait before he could make his putt, which would level the match. Olazabal eventually missed. The Americans later apologised for their behaviour.
No doubt there'll be more fireworks at the Medinah club in Illinois over the weekend.
I'm picking much of it will revolve around McIlroy and Woods.
- The Wellingtonian