The Ryder Cup is one of sport's greatest contests. That wasn't always so.

The event, which started in 1927 at Worcester Country Club, Massachusetts, and takes place every two years, invariably saw the United States swat aside the teams from Great Britain and Ireland.

By 1977, when the U.S. won by another wide margin, Jack Nicklaus urged rethinking the event to make it more competitive. That included bringing in golfers from continental Europe, where the game was flourishing most notably with the dashing Spaniard Severiano Ballesteros.

Though the U.S. easily won in 1979 and 1981, Europe just fell short in 1983. In 1985, Europe won at the Belfry, England, heralding a golden age for the event. Though Europe has won more than it has lost since 1985, the competition has never been dull, usually thrilling and at times controversial.

The Ryder Cup climbed from near irrelevance to now one of the most anticipated events in the golfing calendar.

Over the years, it has provided moments of high drama. Attached are some of those great moments as captured by photographers from The Associated Press.