Nicolas Colsaerts, the first Belgian to play in the Ryder Cup, received a PGA Recognition Award for his outstanding contribution to golf at the PGA in Scotland luncheon in Glasgow.
The 34-year-old, who helped Europe pull off the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in 2012, was the guest of honour at the annual event in the Hilton Hotel, where he entertained 700 guests during an on-stage interview with Dougie Donnelly.
“My first reaction was being pretty flattered,” said Colsaerts of his appearance in the Home of Golf. “To get one of the most knowledgeable crowds’ attention for a little bit for a sport that you guys invented is very satisfying for me.
“To be recognised is very nice. I’ve always had a bit of a connection with Scotland. I always loved coming here. I played in a bunch of amateur events when I was young and it was a good schooling.
“For many reasons, the Scots and the Belgians are similar. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We are also the little sister of another country in a way.”
It was at Gleneagles, in the 2012 Johnnie Walker Championship, where Colsaerts sealed one of Jose Maria Olazabal’s wild cards for the Ryder Cup in Chicago.
“I’ve always got on well with the Scots, either in golf or outside of it,” added the two-time European Tour winner. “The first guy I used to hang around with was Barry Hume, who was very promising when he was young.
“I still remember most of the Scots from that team. Marc Warren, Lee Harper, David Inglis, Jack Doherty and Big G [Gordon Sherry], of course.
“I’ve known the guys for a long time and they were always very nice to me. I was travelling on my own when I was young and I was quickly attracted to the UK boys and in particular the Scots because they were the guys I would get on easier with. I quickly understood the lingo.
“It’s good schooling. You see the guys now from Continental Europe coming out on tour, they do these team things and they maybe don’t realise how important it is, socially, to understand the different nationalities.
“I understood the UK boys very quickly and it’s helped me with my travelling and my social behaviour.”
The two awards handed out at the event went to former Hazlehead professional Ian Smith and Gullane’s Keir McNicoll.
Smith, who spent 43 years at Hazlehead before his retirement, received the John Panton Award for his long and outstanding service to the game and said it was “a memorable day and one I will never forget”.
McNicoll, meanwhile, picked up the Stewart Thom Salver, which is awarded to the Year 3 PGA in Scotland Trainee of the Year.
Legendary comedian Andy Cameron was also presented with a special award by PGA chief executive Sandy Jones after entertaining the audience in his customary fashion.
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