Sam is already holed up in Tyrone for the year but where will the other Sam - aka, Mr. Ryder - be headed?

Will it spend the next two years in Wisconsin - which wikipedia informs us is Steve Stricker's home state - or is it bound for an already trophy laden kitchen table in Rathfarnham, for Padraig Harrington to gaze at as he munches his cereal in the morning?

Three days out from the first tee off, here are the essential components that make up a great Ryder Cup experience.

A couple of Americans who hate each other

The only available picture of them together

Drawling southerner Hal Sutton forever entered the Hall of Fame of bad Ryder Cup captains for throwing out noted enemies Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in the same fourballs pairing in the opening match of the 2004 edition.

No doubt, it made logical sense in his head. If Woods and Mickelson could stuff the Europeans while learning to love each other out there on the fairways of Oakland Hills, it would do wonders for the esprit de corps in the American team. Esprit de corps often being something conspicuously lacking in the American team room.

Alas, that didn't happen and the European pair of Colin Montgomerie and Harrington won a crucial victory.

There is of course huge potential for US team infighting this time around. The bickering duo of Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau make Woods and Mickelson look like Riggs and Murtaugh (the latter two golfers are themselves nowadays "too old for this s**t").

Koepka is apparently incapable of registering DeChambeau's presence anywhere in his vicinity without wincing. For his part, DeChambeau, after initially making unconvincing attempts to laugh it off, is growing increasingly weary of the 'Brooksy' taunts from the galleries on the PGA Tour - he had a mouthy spectator manhandled off the premises following his play-off loss at the BMW Championship.

The ingredients are certainly here for another unhappy American flop.

Reflecting on past mistakes, captain Stricker has hinted he will not do a Sutton on it and pair Koepka and DeChambeau together, which is a shame. Furthermore, he has publicly called upon them both to buck up and not ruin this for everyone.

It would be a beautiful story - possibly even one that could be committed to the big screen - if the free n'easy jock and the unpopular science nerd could put their differences aside and make sweet foursomes music on the fairways. Do it, Steve.

The Irish bring home the bacon

Christy O'Connor Jr takes the acclaim after downing Fred Couples

We sense there is slightly less derisive hostility to the Ryder Cup concept among the bulk of Irish sports fans than there is to that other multi-national sporting outfit, the British & Irish Lions.

Folk never truly shed the nationalism for the Lions - 2013 and the fury over O'Driscoll's omission showcased that. The true battlefield in Lions' terms is the battle to get most of your country's boys in the team. That is the matter about which folk get most heated - as is made plain when some lofty UK rugby correspondent happens to omit a couple of Irish dead certs from his own hypothetical XV. The actual Test matches are an afterthought.

Students of history will not be surprised one jot at this. It's obvious to anyone that Irish people have traditionally been more comfortable embracing a European identity than a 'British Isles' one.

Still, it's not the same without a healthy Irish component. The 1993 match, a damp squib, was the last one without the presence of at least one player from this island.

Christy O'Connor's two-iron at the Belfry, Eamonn Darcy eventually seeing off Ben Crenshaw after the latter had broken his own putter early in the round, Paul McGinley securing the half to beat a star-studded American team in the Belfry... the Ryder Cup has brought us many stories of Irish triumph.

In some respects, there is something quaint and retro about the pride we took in Irish players delivering the goods on the final stretch on Sunday. Irish golfers are responsible for 10 out of 18 European major championship wins in the 21st century so in a curious sense, it has felt that we have evolved past the Ryder Cup.

Did we not realise the Ryder Cup was for the likes of Poults and Monty who can't actually do it in the majors? That our Irish golfers had eyes on bigger prizes. (Padraig Harrington's previously decent Ryder Cup record imploded altogether once he started accumulating major wins, bizarrely enough)?

Still, Shane Lowry's desperate desire to make the Ryder Cup - which saw him stumble a tad Sunday week ago around one of his favourite tracks, Wentworth - reminded us that it still means something. Not to mention, Leona Maguire's stunning heroics in the Solheim two weeks ago.

Aggressive and theatrical expressions of US nationalism

The Americans celebrating their comeback '99 victory with gusto

In the wake of Brookline '99, the Americans resolved to comport themselves in a more genteel and ostentatiously dignified manner thereafter. The result was three straight losses and a few stale editions of the competition.

You need a touch of that US bite that they brought to bear on the Brookline comeback. We had Ben Crenshaw, Tom Lehman and all the WAGS, in their absurd shirts decorated with portraits of previously successful US teams, galloping onto the green to mob Justin Leonard while Jose Maria Olazabal was still examining the contours of his putt to save the contest.

It prompted much apologetics from the Americans afterwards, and a great deal of scandalised comment in the Irish and UK press - but never has the Ryder Cup felt more dramatic or alive.

Vice-captain Sam Torrance described it as the "most disgusting thing I've even seen in my life", which possibly hinted at a sheltered existence.

European captain Mark James titled his post-Ryder Cup memoir 'Into the Bear Pit' which gave a clue to his feelings.

Vice-captain Sam Torrance described it as the "most disgusting thing I've even seen in my life", which possibly hinted at a sheltered existence.

R&A chair Michael Bonnallack probably took the rhetoric a bit far when he said "it was like being at a soccer match."

Captain Crenshaw was the jingoistic American captain in his most extreme incarnation. No golfer has ever donated more money to Republic candidates for office - and that's saying something on the PGA Tour - and Mr Crenshaw snubbed then President Clinton by instead, on the Saturday night, inviting in then Texas Governer George W Bush to read a letter from a soldier written during the siege of the Alamo to inspire the US team to overall a four-point deficit on the final day.

We need some of that visceral 'USA! USA! USA!' spirit to bring a real edge to proceedings.

Dubious sportsmanship and/or accusations of cheating

The 1991 Ryder Cup was one of the most spiteful and contentious of them all - pictured are Seve Ballesteros (teeing off) and Jose Maria Olazabal

The Ryder Cup has lagged behind the Solheim Cup in this sphere in recent times, what with Suzann Peterson's infamous insistence in 2015 that a tiddler of a putt, picked up in haste by Allison Lee, hadn't in fact been conceded, leading to tears and recrimination, and then this year, when Madelene Sagstrom didn't wait the allotted 10 seconds before swiping Nelly Korda's ball after an eagle putt fell short.

Ideally you want some of that for the Ryder Cup. The last thing we want now is gluttonous displays of decorous sportsmanship of the type which so marred this event between 2002 and 2006.

On Sunday evening, we do not want a situation where a perfect gentleman like Paul McGinley is conceding putts from one end of the 18th green to the other because his team is so far ahead (as happened in 2006). At the K Club, the Americans still hadn't shaken off their post-Brookline embarrassment and spent the aftermath boasting about how civil and gentlemanly they'd been as they went down 18 1/2 - 9 1/2.

No, we need some needle. We need a spiteful refusal to concede gimmes and teams trying to pull a fast one wherever they can.

This abrasive spirit probably went a bit far in the 1991 Ryder Cup - aka 'The War on the Shore' - in Kiawah Island, when sections of the American home crowd went down what we might describe as the Mr Burns' caddie route.

Even radio DJs of graveyard slot calibre were enlisted in the effort.

"One or two things happened that perhaps shouldn't have happened," recalled European player Paul Broadhurst of the '91 event.

"Radio stations ringing us at five in the morning to wake us up. All manner of different things, balls appearing back on fairways. Maybe they were in the rough and all of a sudden, they appeared on the fairway."

The BBC full highlights of the entire event on YouTube are instructive. We'll hone in on the crucial final singles match between Hale Irwin and Bernhard Langer, the latter of whom was swinging well but, unfortunately for the Europeans, was suffering a dose of the yips that might embarrass a 15-handicapper.

As Irwin whips his tee shot into the terrifying par-3 17th, Peter Alliss and co spot the ball 10ft left of the pin and naturally assume he's banged in a beauty. When the players reach the green, lo and behold, it turns out Irwin has an awkward chip on the far side of the green, sparking a prolonged bout of confusion in the commentary box. The commentators momentarily doubt their sanity and wonder were they seeing things. Eventually they conclude that "some joker" in the crowd must have pegged another ball onto the green.

Down the 18th, with Langer needing to win the hole to retain the trophy for Europe, Irwin pushed his drive left into the galleries. As he arrived down to his ball, the Beeb's roving reporter was informing us that "Hale Irwin was a bit lucky here, he hit the crowd on the left hand side but it's actually come out onto the fairway again."


Tearing strips off captains

Mickelson (L) thought Watson (R) was no Azinger

The role of Ryder Cup captain has often been portrayed as a nebulous one, although it's clear some take to it better than others.

Paul McGinley approached the task of winning the 2014 Ryder Cup with the kind of forensic thoroughness that made the invasion of Normandy look improvised.

No sporting brain from Manchester to Minsk went unpicked. Alex Ferguson was summoned to give a stirring address before the off. Even Jim McGuinness, not long after masterminding the defeat of the Dubs, was seen loitering on the fairways as a European players clipped in his approach.

Europe's captains have generally fared better fostering a team atmosphere than the Americans, what with the latter's pronounced loner tendency. Hence the videos of the European team all sat around laughing at Conor Moore's impressions of them, while on the other side, you have Brooks Koepka complaining that the incessant team bonding sessions are interfering with his nap schedule.

McGinley's opposite number had a harder time. After their spanking at Gleneagles, US captain Tom Watson had to sit at the group press conference while Phil Mickelson chose to explain why Paul Azinger (2008 captain) was such a great captain, while all subsequent captains have been clueless - present company very much included. We learned all about Zinger's ingenious pod system, which later captains had inexplicably dispensed with.

After Europe's bad defeat in 2008, vice-captain Sam Torrance was less long-winded in his assessment of captain Nick Faldo, describing Europe's most successful ever golfer as "an a***hole".

The first golfer

George Bush Sr

A former President being ridden around on a buggy as part of the entourage. If it's an ex-Democrat, then at least 70% of the American players will blank him. George Bush Snr, the most WASP-y, middle-of-the-road (and thus the most golf-friendly) President of all time, was an extra-special fiend for the Ryder Cup. He hardly ever missed one.

Early on the Saturday morning of the K Club Ryder Cup, the camera zoomed in on Bush standing entirely unmolested and on his own, resting on an advertisement hoarding behind the tee box, watching David Toms wind up for his drive. He looked like any other elderly chap, traipsing the galleries in Kildare.

The departed President Trump is a famous golf-nut although the golfing authorities pointedly distanced themselves from him after 6 January, removing the 2022 PGA Championship from his course at Bedminster, which was to be the first major held at a Trump-owned course.

Trump is also loath to associate himself with examples of American failure - unless he wants to disparage his haters like the US WNT - so it's perhaps not surprising that, in the past, he's been more inclined to show his face at the President's Cup rather than the Ryder Cup.

Still, he's well got with a number of the players, notably Bryson DeChambeau who has been keen to associate himself with the Donald.

If the Americans are set fair for victory on Sunday afternoon, we shouldn't be too surprised to see his helicopter could swoop in.

14 1/2 to 13 1/2

Martin Kaymer celebrates the winning putt in Medinah

Ryder Cup captains are not renowned for their aversion to hyperbole and Thomas Bjorn didn't stint on it last time around when announcing, "This is the one time when Europe is united. This is the week more than ever that that flag represents the boundary of this great continent."

One continent. United Under Golf.

From the fjords of Norway to the boot of Italy, Europeans will assuredly go to bed happy if The Twelve can bring home Samuel from Whistling Straits, etc, etc.

Alas, this spirit is far from universal.

It's rare to find someone who'll live or die by the result. Not even a golf obsessed Jean Monnet professor who still has #FBPE in his Twitter handle would get too wound up. (Though some did note that as Europe floundered in 2016, it was only those players from places not about to leave the EU who got any points in the singles).

The Ryder Cup is one of those events which is more about spectacle and drama than the outcome.

Better an American win by the thinnest of margins than a European blowout.

Follow the Ryder Cup via our live blogs on RTÉ.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.