When in Rome? Well, I’m not actually there yet. Your correspondent is writing this column in the shadow of a grand, inspiring edifice of Baroque magnificence. No, not the Glencairn Social Club but the Palazzo Reale in Turin. Now, I hear you ask, ‘what the Dickens is he doing footering around in northern Italy when the Ryder Cup is being staged in the Eternal City?’.

Well, the flabbergasting cost of actually flying into the Italian capital for this week’s bonanza was an outrageous excess that would’ve made Caligula blush, so we had to be a bit more financially creative. The cheap train down the road, meanwhile, will give me time to read up on the Emperors of Ancient Rome, a fascinating chronology of rulers that lurches from peace and prosperity to terror and tyranny. It’s a bit like the roller coaster of The Herald sports desk to be honest.

Interestingly, that auld rascal Nero, when asked to put his signature to a death warrant, once said, “I wish I had never learned to write.” Funnily enough, that’s what I often grumble to myself as I struggle through composing this bloomin’ column.

Anyway, if all goes to plan, I should be wheezing into the Colosseum that is the Marco Simone Golf Club media centre just in time for the opening foursomes. Or maybe Sunday’s singles?

If we get a Ryder Cup that’s anything like the Solheim Cup, then we’ll be in for an absolute treat. Then again, I’m not sure my nerves will stand up to another edge-of-the-seat epic. They are so shredded, it’s like they’ve been birled through a threshing machine.

The good ladies of Europe and the US certainly put on a terrific show in sunny Spain during three days of compelling competition which underlined the alluring majesty of team golf.

A fascinating, fluctuating, hands-over-the-eyes spectacle of nip and tuck, ebb and flow and whatever else you want to toss in there is becoming the norm in the Solheim Cup. This year’s tussle finished in a thrilling 14-14 draw. In 2021, there were just two points in it. And in 2019 at Gleneagles, it went down to the final putt of the final match. It continues to be wonderful theatre.

In contrast, there hasn’t been a close-run thing in the Ryder Cup since the epic bout of 2012 when Europe mounted the Miracle of Medinah to win by a point. For all the hype in the build-up, you can’t manufacture drama when the gun goes. Who knows what will transpire this week as the USA aim for a first win on European soil since 1993.

With the men’s and women’s transatlantic contests taking place back-to-back for one year only, there were suggestions – from the US skipper Stacy Lewis no less – that the golfing bigwigs had missed an opportunity to collaborate more and exploit this unique circumstance.

Predictably, that dreadfully trite phrase ‘grow the game’ was being banded about in wild abundance. But does the Solheim Cup really need to tag along with a Ryder Cup to bolster its profile and, ahem, grow the game? Not at all. The women’s showpiece, as it has demonstrated time and again down the seasons, is more than capable of standing on its own two feet. The women’s game as a whole, meanwhile, is in fine fettle.

The Solheim Cup will be held again next year to move away from the Ryder Cup before returning to its usual biennial rotation. Keeping the two events separate gives them their own spotlight. We don’t really need some force-fed, let’s-play-them-in-tandem contrivance, do we?

Here in Rome – well, on a train to Rome – all and sundry are working themselves into a giddy fankle ahead of hostilities breaking out on Friday. The media-driven frenzy of pondering, posturing, pontificating and predicting will reach fever pitch over the next few days of preview as we trudge through the kind of phoney war that should be accompanied by a crackling broadcast on the wireless from Churchill.

No event in golf gets analysed quite like the Ryder Cup. I’m surprised each player doesn’t get a CT scan in the media centre prior to their pre-event interview. What’s that? Oh, they are.

Absolutely everything, from captains, vice-captains, wild cards, potential pairings, team room ambience, morale-boosting oratory, the wives and girlfriends or sartorial decisions, gets pored over with the kind of forensic attention to detail that Quincy used to adopt when poking and prodding at a corpse.

Luke Donald and Zach Johnson, the respective captains of Europe and the USA, will beetle around on buggies with stern faces while whispering into walkie-talkies. Under the unrelenting gaze of scrutiny from every corner, the masses will focus in on what those captains do or don’t do while the 24 players involved will no doubt do things that the captains will not want them to do because the very nature of golf means that you can easily do things you don’t mean to do even though you’re trying your best to do the things you want to do and not the things you don’t want to do. Fair dos?

We’re all nearly set then for another weekend of team golf. The women of Europe and the US set a mighty standard. The men have a lot to live up to.

Now, where’s this ruddy train going?