No divided loyalties for Donald

Luke Donald insists that he will have no sense of divided loyalties when the Ryder Cup starts at Medinah Country Club outside of Chicago on Friday.

The 34-year-old former world No.1 was born in England, has a Scottish father, and spent the first 19 years of his life in Britain.

But, blessed with a talent for playing golf, he applied for a sports scholarship at Stanford University in California, where Tiger Woods went, only to be turned down.

As chance would have it, the golf coach at Stanford, Wally Goodwin, had formerly been at Chicago's Northwestern University and he pointed Donald in that direction.

He immediately took to the place and eventually stayed on after college, met his wife and, 15 years after arriving in the Chicago area, he is still there and has no intentions of leaving.

"I've been fortunate to travel around most of America and visit most of the big cities and some of the smaller ones, and I just always get drawn back to Chicago," he said.

"I feel like the people are very welcoming and friendly. I just love the culture of Chicago. It offers so much. It is a sporting town, as well, which appeals to me.

"I think that the city uses the lake in a great way. You feel like you're almost on a sea or an ocean.

"Great restaurants, great museums. Obviously I met my wife here; my coach lives here. I have a good firm base of friends and family that live here, and it just feels very comfortable and easy to live, a place that I've come to really enjoy."

But all that will be put aside come Friday, Donald says, when he wins his fourth Ryder Cup cap, having been on winning European sides in 2004, 2006 and 2010.

Despite the 15 years of residency in Illinois, Donald insists that he remains British through and through.

"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," he said.

"And I grew up my first 19 years in England and still have a very close relationship with that country, with my country. I still have a lot of family that are there and I visit there regularly.

"But you know, I wouldn't say I consider myself American. I've tried to stay true to where I was brought up."

Apart from his peerless short game, another edge that Donald can bring to the European team is his intimate knowledge of the Medinah golf course.

He lives just 25 miles (34 kilometres) to the north and plays the course a couple of times a year. He sampled the new layout for the Ryder Cup a couple of times in the last few weeks.

"I'll be the only guy on both teams that is more familiar with this town than probably anyone," he said.

"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."

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