Last Updated: September 19, 2012 10:12am
Luke Donald prepares for the Ryder Cup
A Ryder Cup played in Chicago has a big added ingredient for Englishman Luke Donald.
"I have a lot of history here," said Donald in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports ahead of next week's Ryder Cup at Medinah.
"I've spent 15 years here, I met my wife here. I had four good years at college here which really set me up well for being a professional.
"I've travelled around so many different cities in the US playing golf but I've always come back to this place as my favourite city. Great food, great people, a lot to do.
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"It's a little bit like New York but a little bit more manageable, a lot cleaner and, I think, friendlier people. I enjoy Chicago a lot. It has a lot to offer. Great sports city, restaurants, fine dining, a lot of culture, great art museums. It has everything.
"Other than the cold winters, it's a pretty good place."
Chicago has a reputation for being America's most sports mad city and Donald believes it's a great place to stage a Ryder Cup.
"It'll be extremely raucous. I've played in three Ryder Cups and I think this is the biggest city in terms of the location and that'll make it a little bit more fun.
"I think the fans will get behind this Ryder Cup and it'll make it tough for the Euros. They're going to be on the Americans' side, they'll be cheering hard but they're a fair crowd and hopefully they'll respect both teams.
"The home team's biggest advantage is the crowd support and if we can take that away a little bit, not just through my relationship with Chicago, but also playing well then that will be a slight benefactor for us."
Donald lives just 30 minutes' drive from Medinah and has played the course much more than the rest of the European side. He also has good memories of his last competitive performance there - a third place in the 2006 US PGA Championship.
"I had a great PGA," recalled Donald. "I was paired with Tiger in the last group on Sunday and got so much valuable experience from that.
"It's a course, obviously, I know that I can play well around and I'm excited about the prospect of it being not just at Chicago but at Medinah, a place that I'm familiar with."
Donald's earliest memory of a Ryder Cup is the 1987 showdown at Muirfield Village when, inspired by Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal, Europe won for the first time on European soil.
"Everyone remembers that dance that Ollie did," laughed Donald, adding that the Europeans should perhaps practice a version of their own in case they retain the trophy.
Olazabal, of course, will be Europe's captain at Medinah and Donald thinks he will do a terrific job.
"He (Olazabal) always comes to mind when you think of a Ryder Cup from a European standpoint. So much passion, so much flair.
"Obviously his pairing with Seve was probably one of the greatest pairings in Ryder Cup history. Just an amazing flair for getting it done. Short game wizards those two were.
"Ollie will bring a lot of passion to the Ryder Cup. Just seeing him a couple of years ago at Celtic Manor, he came in late as an assistant captain and really brought a lot to it. He said some really good things in the team room. He knows what it's all about. He'll be very prepared."
Donald has been on the winning side in all three of his Ryder Cup appearances - 2006, 2010 and 2012 (he missed 2008 due to a wrist injury).
"I feel like I'm an easy guy to pair up with other people. In that way it makes me a good person to be in the Ryder Cup.
"I have that kind of consistent game where I can pair up with different people with different characteristics to their games.
"I'm looking forward to it. I have a great record in the Ryder Cup. I love the passion, I love representing my country and the honour behind that."
The exact numbers for Donald in his three Ryder Cups are eight wins, two losses and a half. That equates to a win rate of 77.27%
Explaining those impressive numbers, the former world number one said: "I've always had good teammates. I've played with Sergio, we were 4 and 0 (in 2004). We had a great relationship on and off the course. That's important in partnerships.
"I played with Lee Westwood. His game speaks for itself. Lee, a little bit like myself, is very consistent. We don't make too many mistakes. We're in the hole the whole time and that's a big advantage when it comes to Ryder Cup, to be able to continually put pressure on your opponent.
"That's what makes for a good strategy if you want to have a successful Ryder Cup.
"But individual records aside, the most important thing is to get the team victory."
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