Michael Belot was the point man when Medinah Country Club hosted the 2006 PGA Championship, one of the most prestigious events in golf.
He was there when 150 or so of golf's elite players were competing. When thousands of fans lined the lush Medinah fairways. When Tiger Woods clinched yet another major title on that Sunday evening.
Doesn't get much bigger or better than that, huh?
The Ryder Cup, which pits the best players from the U.S. against a European team every two years, is "a completely different animal than the PGA Championship," said Belot, now director of the 2012 Ryder Cup. "The PGA Championship is one of golf's four majors and something that takes a lot of planning and coordination; it's an extremely exciting event.
"But the 2012 Ryder Cup, hopefully, is going to be like nothing this area has really ever seen."
If the number of tents lining the course and the main drive is any indication, it certainly won't be.
"We have 76 corporate hospitality tents, and the largest number previously was in the low 60s," Belot said. "It's been about a four-month build. You can build some pretty significant buildings and homes quicker than you can build a Ryder Cup site."
Belot, along with Don Larson, general chairman of the 2012 Ryder Cup, and Mike Scully, Medinah's director of golf, gave the Ryder Cup lowdown to a packed house of the Schaumburg Business Association members Tuesday morning at Medinah, explaining just what separates the Ryder Cup from most every other sporting event -- including the PGA.
"This particular event is probably three times the magnitude of the PGA Championship," Larson said.
"With the PGA Championship, there are 156 players in the field," Belot said. "We don't care where they're staying, we don't care what they eat, we don't care what they wear, we don't care who they bring with them.
"But for the Ryder Cup there are 24 players, and we plan out almost every single minute of every single day from the time the teams arrive on site."
It's a process that began years ago and now is just around the corner for Medinah and its membership.
"We're probably one of the few clubs in the world that could handle a Ryder Cup," Larson said. "It takes a championship golf course, a facility like Medinah, a great location and the full support of membership."
That support showed itself when members agreed to a paring of a five-month golf season to just 75 days. Soon, they'll see the course closed for play as Director of Golf Course Operations Curtis Tyrrell and the staff put the finishing touches on in the weeks leading up to the Ryder Cup.
And when tournament play begins Sept. 27, don't expect Medinah to be as tough as it was for the past two PGA Championships. Perhaps surprisingly, it'll play easier.
"The golf course is going to play completely different than you've seen it," said Scully, who this week watched European captain Jose Maria Olazabal and European star Luke Donald take on Medinah. "The rough is going to be about an inch and a half long. They want the golf course to be fast and firm. It's all about making birdies and eagles.
"The European team, they were shocked at the length of our rough. They feel the same way we do: Our guys can hit it a long ways and that's going to be a distinct advantage for us. Usually at Medinah for our major championships the rough is 6 to 8 inches long; now it's only an inch and a half -- let these guys bomb away."
Oh, and trying to get tickets to the Ryder Cup? Good luck with that.
Even three-time U.S. Open champion Hale Irwin has to grovel for tickets. He provided one of golf's most memorable moments at Medinah when he sank a 50-foot putt at No. 18 during the 1990 U.S. Open and subsequently ran around the green high-fiving spectators. But he was looking for tickets at this year's Masters tournament.
"He's past champion of Medinah Country Club and I watched him actually hit Mr. Larson up for tickets," Scully said. "That was absolutely incredible. The scope of this event is sometimes hard to fathom."
While tickets for the Ryder Cup sold out in a blink of an eye nearly a year ago, Larson pointed out there are other options available -- including purchasing them though part of the "Magnificent Moments" campaign at rydercup.com or through a reputable ticket broker.
Either way, they won't come cheap -- some estimate they'll go for at least $500 per ticket.
But they'll be worth it.
"We are ready to present the Ryder Cup to the world," Larson said, "and make memories for a lifetime."
Ryder: 'The scope of this event is sometimes hard to fathom'