Whatever it is you do in life, there’s a book telling you how you should be doing it. Take parenting, for instance.

Over the festive period, your correspondent became a faither. All of sudden, folk who already had bairns were handing over dog-eared manuals, step-by-step guides, meaty tomes and meandering volumes containing an exhausting, finger-wagging list of dos, don’ts, maybes and certainly nots about raising a kiddywink.

Amid all these strident orders from the Child Rearing Enforcement Officers, one nugget stuck in my mind. According to some far out crank, arm-wrestling with your partner during the birthing process could help ease this excruciating exercise.

Given that a labour ward echoes to the same kind of wails and shrieks you’d get when a banshee performs an exorcism on a werewolf, I was willing to try anything but, having lost a best of three, my attempt to introduce another pub staple, shove ha’ penny, to the cut-and-thrust got me a ticking off from the midwife.

Here in the world of golf, meanwhile, there are various ways you can approach being a Ryder Cup captain as new incumbents to the role draw on the kind of pearls and nuggets you’d get in the Illustrated Guide To Successful Parenting.

With the 2020 match still ages away, it’s almost ridiculous to be talking about the biennial battle here in the depths of a 2019 winter. Having appointed the wonderfully chatty Padraig Harrington, though, the European top brass probably needed all that time to get his introductory press conference finished before the opening session at Whistling Straits.

The unveiling of the affable and talkative Dubliner as skipper last week was a surprise to absolutely nobody on the planet. Given the 47-year-old’s ferocious attention to detail and analysis, there won’t be a stone on the continent left unturned as he embarks on a captaincy that will certainly not be lacking in both diligence and quotes.

In the modern era, the role of the Ryder Cup captain has been elevated to such a venerated status, the men in charge should be permanently perched on a marble plinth. “I’m prepared to put my golfing legacy on the line here,” said Harrington upon taking up the reins.

While he is aware of the increasing hype and hysterical scrutiny the post now commands, it’s surely over-egging it to say that a cv burnished my three majors will be sullied should his captaincy go belly up.

Nick Faldo, who employed his own ego as a vice-captain, made a right pig’s ear of things in 2008 but his six major wins – and one or two sweaters - are what folk remember. For those captains who never claimed any of golf’s ultimate prizes, then, yes, a successful Ryder Cup stewardship can be drooled over as career-defining. Harrington’s legacy will be assured whatever the outcome in 2020.

The two-time Open champion has become the third Irishman since 2014 to hold the position. As for us Scots? Well, there won’t be a tartan tinge to the captaincy any time soon with a host of other younger candidates now stacking up.

Rather like Sandy Lyle before him, Paul Lawrie’s hopes of performing a task he’d “love to do” have passed him by. That Lyle did not earn the captaincy remains somewhat shameful given that he was part of a famous five of European golfers who were all born within a year of each other and amassed 16 majors among them during a barnstorming spell of prosperity.

Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer and Ian Woosnam all had stints as skipper but, for reasons that are possibly locked in a tomb under the European Tour’s HQ, Lyle was overlooked. “There is a slight unfairness about it,” he once said. “I was due, definitely.”

Lawrie would be justified in feeling equally as aggrieved as his countryman given that he ticks numerous boxes on the check list. But, to many peering on, the Ryder Cup, whether it’s in the selection of captains or wild cards, can be something of a cliquey, nod-and-a-wink, old pals network.

The captain’s cap fits for some. But not, it seems, for two of Scotland’s greatest golfing champions and ambassadors.