And when the captain of the 2012 US Ryder Cup team steps up to the rostrum at Medinah Country Club, his welcome speech will no doubt pay homage to the great traditions of the event. Well, some of them at least.
For while DL3 blabbers on about sportsmanship and friendship and the great game of golf, he will almost certainly keep quiet about one of the more entertaining Ryder Cup conventions: the uncanny gift that Americans, and American captains in particular, seem to have for making the most outrageous howlers. These are just some of the best:
1929. Moortown. Never famed for his modesty, US star Walter Hagen felt he had nothing to fear when he was drawn against Scotland's George Duncan, whom he had beaten two years earlier, in the singles. "Well boys, there's a point for our team right there," Hagen declared to his team-mates. Duncan, taking a comfort break in a nearby toilet, overheard the remark and was understandably furious. He took out his anger by hammering Hagen 10&8, still a record margin.
1949. Ganton. With rationing still in operation in Britain, the Americans brought their own meat. Faced with accusations of selfishness in the British press, they offered to serve the fare at a banquet for both teams in London. The British players reportedly tucked in, but their wives refused to take part on the basis that the gesture smacked of charity.
1975. Laurel Valley. Jack Nicklaus, then the best player in the world, suffered an unexpected 4&2 defeat to Scotland's Brian Barnes in the first of two rounds of singles matches. Embarrassed, Nicklaus demanded that captain Arnold Palmer send him out against Barnes in the second round so he could get revenge. Nicklaus got his wish – but only up to a point. He played Barnes again – and lost again, going down 2&1.
1995. Oak Hill. Curtis Strange had two things going for him ahead of the 1995 event: he was renowned as a fierce competitor and he was a close friend of Lanny Wadkins, the US captain. What he didn't have was any form, meaning Wadkins had to pick him as a wild card. The controversial choice didn't look any smarter when Strange delivered nil points from three matches as Europe won 14½-13½.
2002. The Belfry. Strange was captain by now – and he had clearly learned a thing or two from Wadkins. With the match poised 8–8 after two days, he decided to put all his big guns out last in the singles. Trouble was, Europe captain Sam Torrance had top-loaded his selection, and the efforts of Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, last men out for Strange, were meaningless as the Cup had been lost by the time they finished.
2004. Oakland Hills. Mickelson and Woods were still the best players in the world, so US captain Hal Sutton paired them together. Trouble was, their mutual loathing was thinly disguised, evidenced by the look of contempt on Woods' face when Mickelson hit his opening tee shot in the foursomes into trees. They were thrashed by Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington, then lost to Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood in the fourballs.
2010. Celtic Manor. Corey Pavin delegated team uniform matters to his wife Lisa. Renowned as something as a fashion victim herself, she opted for style over substance, choosing a set of waterproofs that, well, weren't. On the first, sodden day in Wales, team assistants had to buy new wet-weather gear from a concession stand. They never recovered and lost 14½-13½.