MEDINAH, Ill. -- Simon Allan of Chicago, a PGA assistant professional at Westmoreland Country Club in Wilmette, Ill., will be in a most unusual position for claiming allegiances during the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club.
Allan, 35, a member of The PGA of America since 2006, and a member of The Professional Golfers' Association of Great Britain & Ireland. He retains his U.K. citizenship, and is living in the United States on a "Green Card."
Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, Allan turned professional in 1998. He has been living in the U.S. for 11 years. He will be among 288 Illinois PGA Professionals working any of 521 shifts this week at Medinah Country Club.
"I'm obviously pro-European, but I love this country," said Allan, who has competed in three PGA Professional National Championships and two national PGA Assistant Championships. "I'll be wearing a Ryder Cup uniform in the PGA Learning Center [presented by American Express], but with a Scottish flag hanging off my hat." After two days of volunteer instruction, Allan said that he will be on the course to support Europe.
Allan first visited the United States at age 17 on a golf trip. "I never thought I would end up living here," he said.
It will be Allan's first Ryder Cup, and had attended the 2006 PGA Championship at Medinah as a spectator. Allan had met his wife-to-be, Lauren, while at college in Winchester, England. Allan was an assistant at nearby Royal Winchester.
"I was the cheapest golf lesson within walking distance," joked Allan. The couple arrived in the United States in 2001, and Lauren was hired by the Arts Institute in Chicago.
"I heard about an opening at Westmoreland and applied on a Tuesday, flew out Saturday and was hired on Monday," said Allan, who now works 20 miles north of Chicago. Allan already has booked his trip for next year's PGA Professional National Championship in Sunriver, Ore. He tied for eighth in the Illinois PGA Professional Championship, and earned one of four remaining berths in a five-way playoff.
Allan has found his niche in teaching, having taken lessons for five years from Adam Harrell, who was a former employee under 1994 PGA Teacher of the Year Jim McLean.
"It was the first time I had seriously taken lessons, but I have probably learned more from him and how to teach, how to diagnose and how to help people," said Allan. "It has helped me and the knowledge he has given me has helped my own game."
Allan is not alone as a PGA of Great Britain & Ireland member working overseas, with more than 1,600 members using their PGA badge to achieve international success in more than 70 countries.