The Ryder Cup is unique to golf. There are some detractors that believe its nothing more than a fundraiser for the PGA of America and its counterpart, the European PGA. But ask someone who has participated and you get a different answer, especially someone who is making a return appearance after more than a decade away from it. “Not sure if the opening tee shot will ever go away from me; I still wake up with wee shivers of it.
It was not pretty. I was glad I did it, but the 15, 20 minutes beforehand, it was not great,” recalled Paul Lawrie. The Scot was part of the European team in 1999, which was also known as the Battle of Brookline. “I loved it. Had a great experience, even though the team lost, which was disappointing. You win or lose as a team.
But I still took on that as a tournament that I always wanted to play in, and it was really pretty loud in 1999 so I can't imagine it's going to be any worse than that. But I think it's different than now. A lot of our players play over there and have houses over there and live there and are friendlier to the teams than the last time I played, so it should be fine,” he said.
Lawrie, however, won’t be bringing his two sons with him to Medinah, host of the 2012 Ryder Cup. “The boys are staying at home,” he said. “We (his wife) both felt because it's so busy, and A, you're not going to see anything; and B, if Marian is walking with another wife who I'm playing with, who is going to look after the boys behind the ropes. It's not an environment for a 13-year‑old boy to be at a Ryder Cup away from home. They will both be at Gleneagles watching and spectating, I'm sure, in 2014, but in America, not sure if that's the thing for the boys so they are going to stay home and watch it on the telly. I think they were both expecting that they were going to be coming to be fair, but nae. There's a lot of stuff on that week; it's a busy week and the crowds are going to be unbelievable.”
While Lawrie and his wife decided to leave their boys at home, he’s still anxious to get to Chicago. “Chuffed (excited) to be in, obviously. It's been a long time. It's been 13 years since I played last time, so can't wait,” he said. “I'm looking forward to it. Man, there's a little bit of nervousness there, too. Every player, if they were honest would agree to that. You don't want to let people know. You want to do your best. You want to win points,” he said. At the PGA Championship, he was asked what it was like to play the Ryder Cup in the US. “Peter Hanson asked what it was like to play in America, Ryder Cup, because he had not he played at Wales. And José said, ‘Paul, maybe you can answer that.’ I said, ‘Well it's easy for me because I played with Monty, so all of the abuse was at him.’ That's what I said, and it's true. But I said to him, ‘You'll love it, you'll absolutely have a great time.’” Doesn’t sound like someone who is treating it like just another event. Then again the Ryder Cup delivers a lot of emotions before the final points are determined. It’s equally safe to say that money couldn’t duplicate Lawrie’s past experiences either.