By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MEDINAH, Ill. -- Luke Donald is one of the few, if not the only player, to ever have an honest-to-goodness home game at the Ryder Cup. Of course, the Englishman who lives 25 miles from Medinah plays for the European Team and this is American soil.
"Hopefully I can garner a little bit of the support from the crowd because of that and turn that into a slight advantage for Team Europe,” Donald said. “but it is a unique experience for me.”
Donald first came to Chicago 15 years ago to attend Northwestern. He won the NCAA title as a junior and was a three-time All-American, providing the foundation for a standout pro career that assured he wouldn't have to put that degree in art theory to work.
"I think I'd be probably living in a different suburb than I am now, let put it that way," Donald said with a smile.
Of course, Donald originally had hoped to play collegiately at Stanford. When things didn't work out, Wally Goodwin, who was The Cardinal coach at the time, suggested Donald look at Northwestern where he used to work.
"I came for a visit and just really liked what I saw, and that's how I came here really," said Donald, who maintains an interest in Wildcat athletics -- even to the point of knowing the football team plays Indiana on Saturday.
"I know there's been talk of us maybe going 6‑0, 7‑0 to start the season, which would be great for Northwestern, and as an alum, I'm always keeping an eye on things."
Donald married an American, who is showing the other European wives the sights of the city this week, and has two young daughters. But make no mistake, as much as he likes the culture and sports in Chicago, Donald feels right in step with the European Team.
"I always consider myself British through and through," Donald said. "I've obviously reaped the benefits of going through the college system over here, really helped me with my golf, and I enjoy living here and I feel very comfortable here, but I don't think that changes how you feel about where you grew up. And I grew up my first 19 years in England and still have a very close relationship with that country, with my country."