There’s no escaping the Ryder Cup these days. Last week in Paris, Thomas Bjorn, the European skipper for the 2018 match in France, paraded golf’s cherished gold chalice around some of the French capital’s landmarks to promote the ‘Year To Go’ festivities.

The prolonged build-up and fevered anticipation that this great transatlantic tussle stokes up almost leaves drooling observers chalking off the days on the calendar and eagerly gazing at a clock that’s tick-tocking louder than that oversized timepiece on an episode of Countdown.

It’s 90 years since the Ryder Cup was first contested in 1927 and 40 years since a GB&I team, after decades of almost ritual slaughter, played the US for the last time.

In 1979, the combined fleet of Europe set sail to engage with the American forces and the Ryder Cup tide would slowly begin to turn.

The pivotal moment, of course, arrived at The Belfry in 1985 when Sam Torrance, resplendent in a red v-neck and boasting a moustache that was thicker than the Ardennes, condemned the US to a first defeat in the biennial bout since 1957 and held his arms aloft in triumph to create one of the event’s most enduring images.

Two years later, in 1987, history was made as Europe won for the first time on US soil. That contest 30 years ago was played at the course that Jack built. In the end, though, it provided the stage for the triumph that Jacklin built.

The great Jack Nicklaus was the US captain and had designed the Muirfield Village course in his native Ohio. There would be no home comforts for the Golden Bear, however, as Tony Jacklin’s inspired side battled to a 15-13 victory.

With a side featuring the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle and Bernhard Langer, Europe had four of the best players in the world while the precocious talent that was Jose Maria Olazabal was plunged into the frontline of the Ryder Cup battleground for the first time. It was hardly surprising that Jacklin was confident.

“What a roster I had,” reflected the Englishman. “I remember being asked by the press what I thought was going to happen that week. ‘Oh, we’ll win’, I said, simple as that. I meant it. It wasn’t a boast. It wasn’t a challenge. I wasn’t trying to anger the Americans or motivate my own team. It was just what I felt.”

Despite Europe’s strengths and confidence, the US were a formidable force. “It couldn’t have looked worse for us, playing against a team captained by Jack Nicklaus on a course designed by him,” recalled Torrance.

“But we had some pairings that were just phenomenal. Langer and Lyle, Seve and Ollie (Olazabal), Faldo and Woosie (Ian Woosnam). These guys were unbeatable and they played golf that had just not been seen before from Europeans.”

Europe were rampant and on the first day they whitewashed the afternoon fourballs 4-0 to lead 6-2. By the end of the second round of matches, the visitors had extended their lead to five points going into the singles. The US were not done and dusted yet, though, and produced the kind of charge that should have been accompanied with a bugle.

Torrance played his part in staving off the American cavalry when he two-putted from 12 feet on the last to pinch a half against Larry Mize. Even though the US won the final session 7 ½ - 4 ½, the Europeans got themselves over the line. “It was the most terrifying putt I’ve ever stood over,” said the Scot. “My hands shook like a leaf.”

Torrance and Lyle were two of four Scots in that 1987 team and were joined by Ken Brown and Gordon Brand Jnr. Getting just one in the team these days requires a monumental effort. In 2014, when the Ryder Cup was played on Scottish soil for the time in almost 40 years, Stephen Gallacher had the best season of his career on the European Tour but still came up short of automatic qualification for Paul McGinley’s team. The fact Gallacher had made such a rousing push, though, meant McGinley had no hesitations in affording the Scot a wild card for the Gleneagles showpiece but Gallacher’s predicament simply underlined how hellishly difficult it is to barge your way into the automatic spots.

The qualifying race for the 2018 team is already underway and it’s Glasgow’s Marc Warren who is leading the tartan challenge. Free from the injury that scuppered the first half of his 2017 campaign, Warren is now showing the form that has many of his peers singing his praises. “There are very few people out there who have the talent that he has, I’ve always said that,” insisted the former Open champion and two-time Ryder Cup player Paul Lawrie.

Three weeks ago, Warren was down in 173rd place on the Tour’s money list but a series of high finishes has galvanised his year and he’s now in the top 60.

The problem for Warren, of course, is that he is a long way from the promised land of the top 50 on the world rankings and when it comes to Ryder Cup ambitions, that’s where you really need to be when the qualifying battle intensifies in the new year. The top 50 provides an access all areas pass to the Majors and the WGC events where massive piles of qualifying points are up for grabs.

As of last week, Warren, who has been as high as 48th in his career, was down in 213th spot but he was almost 500th just a few weeks ago. In this game, the fortunes can change quickly. The road to the Ryder Cup may be long and winding but at least Warren is back on the right track. It's onwards and upwards to Paris.