Then again, so too has the Llandudno Trophy, the handsome chunk of silverware that's up for grabs here at Slaley Hall this weekend. In the grand traditions of commentary cock ups, this cherished keepsake, in the eyes of those involved, is "18 pounds of solid silver that's worth its weight in gold."
During the second world war, it was perched on the mantelpiece in the Dorset home of Percy Alliss, the celebrated former Ryder Cup player and father of that golfing doyen Peter, when a bomb from a German aircraft that was raiding the south coast ports exploded less than 50 yards away. The resulting tremor sent the trophy clattering to the floor. Amid the commotion, a startled young Peter muttered his now well-known phrase 'Cor Blimey, O'Reilly' and the Llandudno Trophy was left with a dent in its lid.
These days, the damaging dunts are being reserved for the GB&I players. There was no aerial assault in cold, tranquil Northumberland yesterday but the hosts were still left reeling by a fearsome US bombardment. It had started well enough, though. Having earned a battling 2-2 share of the spoils in the morning foursomes, Russell Weir's GB&I boys went into the afternoon in a purposeful, upbeat mood but all that optimism was crushed during a calamitous spell. A 4-0 whitewash of the fourballs saw the US surge into a commanding 6-2 lead and left the hattered hosts with a mountain to climb. If last year's Ryder Cup was the Miracle of Medinah, then GB&I will have to muster a Salvage at Slaley in the club professionals' equivalent of the ocean-spanning clash. "Gutted to be honest and I didn't expect that at all," was Weir's simple summing up after observing the disintegration from the sidelines before trudging into the team room to try and lift the morale. He was probably requiring something similar to the soaring oratory of Churchill.
For the morning at least, it didn't look like the home side would be needing to mount a major recovery as the opening session developed into a closely contested tussle.
There may not have been the dawn bedlam on the first tee of a Ryder Cup, with all its frenzied flag-waving, whooping and hollering, but for the PGA pros driving off, their moment had come. Gareth Wright, the Edinburgh-based Welshman, revelled in the general cut and thrust and showed the passion that the PGA Cup stokes up among its combatants. In tandem with Englishman Richard Wallis, Wright's 15-foot putt for birdie on the 16th, which sealed a 3 and 2 win over the US duo of Mark Sheftic and Chip Sullivan in the top tie, attracted the kind of vigorous back-slapping usually given to someone trying to dislodge a fish bone from their throat.
Funnily enough, things would become hard to swallow later in the day. The Wright and Wallis axis had been all square with Matt Dobyns and Ryan Polzin with five holes to play in the opening fourball match but were floored by a late Polzin birdie blitz. The Texan rattled in raking putts from 35, 20 and 20 feet at the 14th, 15th and 16th to claim a 3 and 2 win.
It was left to the Scottish duo of Greig Hutcheon and Graham Fox to try to snatch something from the debris in the final tie with Mike Small and Bob Sowards. Two down with eight to play, the Tartan Tour twosome levelled affairs through 12 but Small eagled the 13th before Sowards birdied the 14th to reclaim the two hole advantage. Fox birdied the 16th but the Scots both missed the final green and, with the Americans safely on the putting surface, the writing on the wall spelled out a two-hole defeat. "I saw what happened at Medinah so we'll take nothing for granted," said US skipper Allen Wronowski. "We have to keep the pedal down." GB&I, meanwhile, need to get motoring today.