Can you remember back in those locked down days during Covid when Zoom – that videotelephony thingamajig – became as much a part of our everyday existence as staring out of the window and gently releasing a resigned sigh?

I still recall the night when we embarked on that maiden, multi-person family Zoom call which, for certain members of the group more used to communicating through written messages delivered on horseback, was a seismic moment of technological wonder on a par with the moon landings.

As Wifi signals strained under the weight of fumbling, doddering incompetence, and we all crackled our collective way towards this bold new frontier, the successful completion of a connection, and the sudden appearance of a variety of startled faces on screen, generated so much flabbergasted jubilation, the whole process should’ve been accompanied by the gasp of ‘oh boy’ that Walter Cronkite spouted when Apollo 11 landed on the Sea of Tranquillity.

The reason I bring Zoom up is that my 10-month-old son had to sit in his high-chair next to me the other day as we conducted a Ryder Cup conference call with Robert MacIntyre. To be fair, the various gurgles, babbles, yelps and squeals he made – my son that is, not MacIntyre – probably made far more sense than any of the questions his faither managed to splutter out during the duration of the blether. Give it a few weeks, and he’ll be writing this column.

For MacIntyre, and the rest of Europe’s Ryder Cup team, it’s on to Wentworth for the flagship BMW PGA Championship. All 12 members of Luke Donald’s side are competing in an event that has the kind of star attraction that would get Sir Patrick Moore giddy on an old episode of The Sky at Night.

This showpiece affair in Surrey’s leafy stockbroker belt is always eagerly anticipated and with the Ryder Cup just around the corner there’s an added oomph to the occasion. A year ago, of course, there was a slightly different buzz around the place and the whole LIV Golf palaver was at fever pitch.

The presence at Wentworth of a battalion of rebels who had defected to the Saudi-backed circuit made it as hard to stomach for some as an entire ladleful of cod liver oil. The announcement of the death, meanwhile, of Her Majesty the Queen during the opening day of play forced an immediate suspension and eventually led to the event being reduced to 54-holes.

After the general tumult of the 2022 championship, all and sundry are hoping that it will be, well, all quiet on the West Course front this week. With the LIV furore now somewhat on the backburner – for the time being at least – we can perhaps just enjoy the golf and the feel-good factor currently surging through the European game. Viktor Hovland in brilliant, all-conquering form, the fearless Swede Ludvig Aberg emerging as a thrilling new kid on the block? There are plenty of reasons to be chipper.

It wasn’t that long ago, that many were looking towards the Ryder Cup with a considerable degree of downbeat trepidation. All the talk was of the LIV situation dismantling European unity while the jettisoning of stalwart figures like Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Graeme McDowell – whether as players or as part of the backroom team – was viewed in some quarters as an incalculable loss in terms of Ryder Cup know-how.

The last meeting between the sides, meanwhile, was such a sobering affair, even members of the Temperance Movement would’ve turned to the soothing sanctuary of the wine rack. The 19-9 whipping at Whistling Straits was the heaviest dished out to a European team since the combined fleet came into being in 1979.

The dominance of the USA was so overwhelming, there were times when a glimpse at the scoreboard conjured up shuddering images of those backs-to-the-wall GB&I days when the likes of Maurice Bembridge and Eddie Polland were getting trounced 6&5 by the imperious might of Nicklaus and Palmer.

The talk in 2021 was that an American team, bristling with talent and a new-found cohesion, would dominate the Ryder Cup for years to come as Europe faced up to a period of transition and a changing of the guard.

Fast forward to 2023, though, and that notion of the Ryder Cup being a foregone conclusion seems somewhat fanciful. In the ebb and flow of golf, with all its fluctuations in form and fortunes, we could be looking at a very tight transatlantic tussle in a fortnight’s time. And let’s not forget that an American team hasn’t won on European soil since 1993. The weight of history can be a wearisome burden.

This time last week, when Donald unveiled his wild cards, a few folk were carping about the inclusion of Shane Lowry. By his lofty standards, the 2019 Open champion has had a modest campaign but a timely third place finish in Sunday’s Irish Open, his best result of the season, was greeted with great gusto.

"I started the week getting in the Ryder Cup team and I come here and play some of the best golf I've played all year,” beamed Lowry with renewed vigour. It was the perfect pick-me up too ahead of his defence of the BMW PGA Championship title.

In this game, timing is everything.