Ian Taylor, who is a Fellow of the PGA and head pro at Drumpellier Golf Club in Coatbridge, will live out the dream in the bear pit that is the Ryder Cup after being chosen to be among the select band of referees that will provide key rulings that could make or break a match.
But the Lanarkshire pro will have the distinction of being the only part-time referee – with a full time job on the side – to be in the thick of the action inside the ropes when Europe’s big guns take on their American counterparts at Wales’ Celtic Manor Resort from October 1-3.
Despite recently officiating at the USPGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin last month, Taylor admitted the prospect of the Ryder Cup had been keeping him awake.
“If I’m honest – I’m really nervous,” said Taylor, who gave a one-time rookie but now US Open champion Graeme McDowell his first ever ruling on the European Tour.
“I’ve never woken up so many times doing rulings in my head in the middle of the night. It is taking up most of my thought processes on a daily basis. I’m aware that one of my rulings could swing a match. That’s where I hope that the training I’ve received over the last 11 years will stand me in good stead.
“This is a great opportunity. I would never have made a Ryder Cup team as a player but through refereeing I can be inside the ropes at a Ryder Cup and be involved at tournament golf at the highest level.”
Taylor’s selection as a Ryder Cup referee follows a decision by the PGA to introduce a PGA Rules Panel more than 10 years ago.
PGA head of golf operations Simon Higginbottom, who will also be officiating at the Ryder Cup – his second appearance, said: “Ian is at the forefront of the PGA Rules Panel and is more than capable of working on the rules at the highest level, along with his extensive work at national and European levels.
“His inclusion on the Ryder Cup Rules Committee shows that it is possible for PGA members to work at the very top of this part if the industry, as they do with so many other facets of the game.
“We hope that, along with Charles Dernie who served on Rules at The K Club in 2006, Ian will serve as an inspiration for more PGA members to join the PGA Rules Panel through the CPD programme and expand what is already a superb group of professionals.”