Donald feeling at home in Medinah
As the only Chicago resident out of the 24 players at The 2012 Ryder Cup, Luke Donald is hoping to wrest some of the home support this week, as he prepares for his fourth appearance in European colours.
The World Number Two lives 25 miles from Medinah Country Club, which hosts the 39th edition of the biennial contest, having move from England to Chicago to study at Northwestern University in 1997.
Fifteen years on, Donald has come to call Chicago home, but his allegiances remain firmly with his country and continent of birth, which he represents with an obvious pride.
“It's a unique situation for me,” he said. “Obviously my home is here, 25 miles just north of here. I'll be the only guy on both teams that is more familiar with this town than probably anyone.
“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, but it is a unique experience for me.
He added: “I've obviously reaped the benefits of going through the college system over here, which really helped me with my golf. 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.”
Donald, who made his debut on American soil as part of Bernhard Langer’s record breaking team in 2004, has so far only been part of a winning European side – a record he is hoping to maintain at Medinah.
Having won six out of his six matches in Foursomes – the format that will launch The 2012 Ryder Cup on Friday morning – Donald will be out to extend that particular 100 per cent record as well this week.
The 34 year old has formed formidable Foursome partnerships with Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood in his three previous Ryder Cups, and after practising with both players he is keen to resume either pairing.
Donald, who last year became the first player to top the European Tour and PGA Tour money lists in the same season, reserved praised for Westwood, the most experienced member of the European Team, and believes their contrasting games dovetail perfectly in the Foursomes format.
“We have different games obviously,” he said. “Lee is great off the tee. He hits it long and straight. I think with his long game, my short game - a lot of people have spoken about that in the media before. If you put the two together, we could have a few more than zero Majors between us. I think we obviously complement each other.
“Lee is a personality on a golf course, he's just very easy going. Nothing bothers him. He exudes a lot of confidence, especially this week, and that rubs off well on me.”