The Ryder Cup tees off this afternoon

American writer Mark Twain once described golf as "a good walk spoilt". But whatever your view on the sport it is difficult not to become engrossed in the drama of the Ryder Cup which gets underway in Louisville, Kentucky this afternoon.

Europe's best will pit their golfing wits against the cream of the United States for the 37th time. Most of the coverage has talked up the absence of World No.1 Tiger Woods and the apparent unpopularity of European captain Nick Faldo.

So much has been said about Faldo's lack of charisma and bull in a china shop man management skills that the golf tournament itself has been overshadowed. That should all be put to bed once Padraig Harrington tees off sometime round about now.

Europe go into the 37th Ryder Cup as firm favourites having won the last two with relative ease. But the underdog status should suit the US team who will be looking for their first win since 1999.

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