IN the vaults of the British Pathe newsreels, there is a grainy, black and white clip of a “Golf International” at Gleneagles from 1921.

The footage is a mere 31 seconds long, which, funnily enough, is about the same amount of time the BBC commit to televised golf coverage these days.

This sliver of film may not be of DeMille proportions but for eager historians of the Royal & Ancient game, the rarity remains an epic production; a shard of moving image from the first match between professional golfers from Britain and the USA.

This time next week in Wisconsin, the 43rd Ryder Cup will be well underway amid a mouth-frothing frenzy of hooting, hollering, highfiving, fist-pumping and chest-thumping. And that will just be the scenes in the media canteen when the barbecue ribs arrive.

A century ago, the seeds of golf’s grand transatlantic tussle were sown on Scottish soil.

The first official Ryder Cup did not swing into action until 1927 but the gathering at Gleneagles in 1921 was “the catalyst”, as the PGA’s former chief executive, Sandy Jones, said in Ed Hodge’s hefty volume, Jewel in the Glen: Gleneagles, Golf and the Ryder Cup.

This very newspaper, meanwhile, was central to this genesis. Back in ye day, The Glasgow Herald’s 1000 Guineas Tournament was a considerable lure and the decision was made to add a team event as a prelude to that particular competition.

With its sizeable prize fund, a record purse at that time on these shores, and its proximity to The Open Championship, which was held a couple of weeks later at St Andrews, The Herald-backed event attracted the great and the good of the golfing elite over James Braid’s fledgling King’s Course.

It was the ideal opportunity for an international coming together.

“It is a splendid testimonial to the magnetic drawing power of the course and marks also the appreciation by the golfing profession of the generous provision of prizes made by the organisers of the tournament,” reported The Herald with jubilant trumpet blowing.

“This week will witness the greatest gathering of professional golfers, that in its long history, the game has ever seen. Only The Open Championship itself will, in interest and importance, equal the tournament.”

And so, a British contingent which, in addition to Braid, featured the two other members of that Great Triumvirate, JH Taylor and Harry Vardon, as well as the likes of George Duncan, Abe Mitchell, Ted Ray and Arthur Havers, would go head-to-head with their American rivals.

On board the RMS Aquitania, built at the John Brown yard in Clydebank, was the mighty Walter Hagen and decorated Scots-born Major winners Jock Hutchison and Fred McLeod, who had both taken up US citizenship having ventured forth from the cradle of the game to find fame and fortune on the other side of the Atlantic.

The sailing from New York to Southampton took six days and the American team then took the sleeper train to Glasgow. The Gleneagles Hotel was still being erected so the visiting golfers had to settle for the shimmering splendour of five waterless train carriages parked up in a siding near Auchtermuchty in Fife.

The idea of Hagen trudging about with a pail of water so his troops could give their necks and oxters a dousing before the commute to Gleneagles would give the molly-coddled modern professionals gasping palpitations.

Imagine the feuding Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau sharing a sponge, a bucket and a bar of Lifebuoy soap? In the end, the Britons would prove too strong for the US over one day of foursomes and singles jousting and romped to a 9-3 victory.

“Britain has come out with flying colours from the first American professional challenge,” scribbled The Herald’s correspondent of the tussle.

The Glasgow Herald Tournament would continue for a number of years but the international match that debuted in 1921 would not be part it.

In 1927, when the actual Ryder Cup was held for the first time in Massachusetts, The Herald event was not staged. It never was again.

“It would be pushing the issue to say the Ryder Cup owes its existence to this very newspaper but there is a direct connection between the beginnings of the biennial match in 1927 and the Glasgow Herald as it was known then,” wrote the paper’s late and much-missed former golf correspondent, Douglas Lowe.

From those small seeds in 1921, a giant golfing showpiece continues to flourish 100 years on.