WHEN I asked my husband what he wanted to do this weekend, he spun around, looked at me in horror and gasped: "Nothing! It's the Ryder Cup!" He said "Ryder Cup" in a hushed tone, as if we were in a church, as if it's a holy word, as if it's something to be revered.
Therein lies the problem with the Ryder Cup. It is, to a lot of men, a religious experience, just as golf is a religion. Every two years, although it always seems to come around very quickly, our "friends and allies" the Americans become our sworn enemies.
Normally mild-mannered men turn into roaring, shouting monsters. From TV rooms across the country we will hear shouts of "Bloody Yank!", "BIRDIEEEE!" or sometimes, worryingly, "I love you, Rory!"
Europe and America will play one another in Chicago over the next three days and women all over the world will be ignored, shushed, shouted at or hugged depending on how 'we' play.
The women of Europe are united in praying that Europe win. For then we shall have happy husbands. Smiling, cheerful faces will emerge after three days locked in the TV room.
We will not see our husbands for the next three days. Food is to be delivered on trays three times a day. No interruptions are allowed. One friend told me she was instructed by her husband to interrupt her only if one of the children was gravely ill. "I'm not talking broken limbs here," he noted. "I mean serious, as in life-threatening."
For a few days Europe will be united in cheering on the Ryder Cup team. We shall have a brief respite from blaming each other for crippling debts, interest rates, rising unemployment and deficits as our Irish, Spanish, Belgian, German, Italian, Swedish and British players attempt to win the cup.
But it would seem that it's not just the viewers who take this all very seriously. The players and managers have, in the past few decades, taken the Ryder Cup to a whole new level of intensity and competitiveness. In 1999 Ben Crenshaw, the captain of the US team, invited then Texas governor George W Bush to address the players in the locker room on their first day. So rabble-rousing was his speech that the normally mild-mannered David Duval came storming out of the room screaming: "Let's go and kill them!"
This year it's the Europeans who are going to 'kill' the Americans. Ian Poulter said he wants to kill his opponents in the Ryder Cup. Perhaps both teams should consider having Aung San Suu Kyi give the locker room speeches. It might calm the players down and put a little perspective on things.
This year's US captain, Davis Love, was crying at the press conference before the tournament had even begun. The man was sobbing over the fact that his players are bonding and, what's more, he assured us that he will be crying a lot more in the days to come. Gentlemen, may I remind you that it's a game!
CAN you imagine the reaction if Angela Merkel or Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard cried on TV because their cabinet ministers were getting along well? Or if West Ham chief Karren Brady sobbed on Sky news because her players were friends with each other?
I think it's the golf widows who should have the inspirational team talks. We are the ones who need to be pumped up for three days of being ignored and grunted at as we carry on with our duties, head held high and upper lip stiff without complaining.
There should be a Ryder Cup bonus for wives and partners, a quid pro quo. Three days of lying uninterrupted on the couch watching back-to-back episodes of 'Pride And Prejudice' and shouting "Take your top off Mr Darcy!" sounds good to me.