Two men, Fred and Bill, have been drawn to play together in the weekly Wednesday roll up at their local club. On the third hole, as Bill is about to drive off, a funeral procession drives past on the road that runs adjacent to the tee. Bill breaks his usually rigid pre-shot routine, lays down his driver, doffs his cap and stands in motionless silence. Once the funeral procession had passed, Fred said, “Bill, that was a very moving thing you just did. You are a true gentleman.” Nodding, Bill replied, “Yes, well we were married for 30 years.”

The oldest jokes really are the oldest but what this mildly amusing yarn emphasises (and exaggerates) is the extent to which most men will follow the game they love. That’s why, for many golfers, next week’s Ryder Cup will present something of a dilemma.

Unless you noted down the Ryder Cup dates as soon as you received your ’08 diary (something I would thoroughly recommend), chances are you agreed (about six months ago, if your life is anything like mine) to do something on Friday, Saturday or Sunday night that’s going to prevent you from watching the greatest sporting spectacle of the year. Back in February, going to a christening in mid-September seemed harmless enough. Now it’s threatening your sanity. So do you attend the christening like a good godparent or do you develop a serious case of tonsillitis, politely bow out at the last minute, upset your other half and indulge yourself in hours of Ryder Cup action?

Unfortunately, only your conscience, or lack of one, can help you make this decision. But whichever course of action you choose, one thing’s for sure, someone is going get hurt.

Four years ago when the Ryder Cup was played at Oakland Hills, I’d agreed to go on holiday on the Sunday. I didn’t see a single shot on the final day of that glorious victory. To make matters worse, golf isn’t such a big deal in Tunisia and I had to wait a whole three days for the result. It was like watching every minute of every match at the World Cup only to miss England beat Germany 6-0 in the final.

Looking back now, it was an important lesson. It taught me about the pain of missing out. So on that note, I must pack a bag, see on Wednesday I’ve got a flight to catch. This time however, I’m going to Kentucky, not Tunisia!