Colsaerts Back in the U.S.

After becoming the first Belgian to be selected to the European Ryder Cup team, Nicolas Colsaerts has returned to the U.S. following his semi-successful debut in the biennial two weeks ago at Medinah Country Club near Chicago.

The lanky, long-hitting 29-year-old proved his mettle early in the matches, carding eight birdies and an eagle to carry partner Lee Westwood in their tight four-ball match against Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker on the opening day. Though that was his only point during the week, Colsaerts showed he belonged among the world's elite golfers as he contributed to the Europeans edging the USA 14 to 13 to retain the Cup.

Now he's back in America for this week's Open. The $5 million PGA Tour event starts Thursday at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, Calif.

Playing as a special temporary member this season, Colsaerts was believed to be about $100,000 short of being in the top-125 in earnings - which would have guaranteed him a Tour card for 2013. But the Tour said last week it didn't count his World Golf Championship earnings, which puts Colsaerts at $652,886 and No. 119 on the money list. A high finish this week will almost assure him of a card for next year.

Colsaerts will start the Open at 7:20 a.m. Thursday alongside Gary Christian and Chad Campbell. With $599,722 in earnings, Christian ranks 122nd and Campbell, with $760,227, is No. 108.

On Tuesday following a practice round, Colsaerts sat down with reporters and discussed his future on the PGA Tour as well as his Ryder Cup experience. Here's what the two-time European Tour winner had to say during the following Q&A.

MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Nicolas Colsaerts into the interview room here at the Open. Coming off the Ryder Cup, everybody knows you're trying to earn Tour membership for next year possibly. Can you talk a little bit about that, your desire to play over here? If so, are you going to split your time between here and Europe?

NICOLAS COLSAERTS: Well, I mean, the situation I'm in now, when I heard I had the possibility to join, have this possibility of joining the Tour over here is almost something we shouldn't be discussing about. When you get a chance to play this Tour with all these players, the courses you play on on such a big stage, it would be stupid not to consider it. I've always played in Europe for a lot of years. It's an unbelievable tour to play on and get your grades up, but once you get a taste of what the possibilities here are, you know, they get you pretty excited.

Q. Will you do dual membership if you do pick up membership over here?

NICOLAS COLSAERTS: Well, I mean, the number in Europe is quite easily accessible if you get into the majors and WGCs. There is always going to be the events that you've always liked and played good at back home. You know, like BMW Wentworth and Volvo World Match Play that I won last year. They're pretty big events. So, yeah, it's going to be a bit difficult to make the two work, but it's going to be a lot easier to get my number up in Europe. Like I said, I'm really excited to come and discover new places over here, new golf courses, and play against this great bunch.

Q. Did you talk to any of your are Ryder Cup teammates about dual membership? Luke we saw last year did an amazing accomplishment winning the money title on both; Lee Westwood is going to do it again next year, Rory, all those guys. Did you talk to them much about that?

NICOLAS COLSAERTS: Yeah, there's obviously good discussions you can have with some of the guys that have been doing it for a couple years and how to go about it, how to go about your schedule and places to go and play where my game would fit most. So, yeah, I mean, having these experienced guys around is quite a big help for somebody like me who's going to discover all the new things and try to make both worlds work.

Q. What do you like most about playing in the U.S.?

NICOLAS COLSAERTS: Conditions of the courses; discovering new places. I've been to the U.S. quite a lot, but when you realize how many unbelievable golf courses you have around the country, it's quite unbelievable for somebody like me coming from such a small country to have a chance to play golf around an unbelievable country like this and you have play these fantastic courses. I have to say I have a little thing for Five Guys Burgers. (Laughter.)

Q.Very nice. You've played the course. Can you talk a little bit about the conditions out here this week and what you expect coming into the Open?

NICOLAS COLSAERTS: Well, I mean, this is everything that you kind of have an idea of a PGA Tour event. The rough is a little up and it's a typical American modern target golf course for me. But we get to play a lot of these during the year now. I think it's in really good condition. The fairways are really immaculate; the greens look really good, too. They're not really super fast, which is good on some of these undulating greens. The climate seems to be really, really nice for us coming from Europe. When you play in such conditions in the month of October, it's very refreshing.

Q. Lastly, you probably get the question about the Ryder Cup. What was your takeaway coming out of the Ryder Cup, and what has it done for your confidence?

NICOLAS COLSAERTS: Well, to be honest, I haven't really landed yet. This has been the wildest rollercoaster ride I've ever been on. Emotionally it's something undescribable, especially the way we did it. And as a player, most of all you feel very proud to be part of an exceptional bunch of guys that made history. I have dreamed of playing Ryder Cup since I was really young, and to be part of such an unbelievable history is something I'm very proud of. So as a player, it gives you a bit of confidence as a player. You make a bit more ground. If you can deal with a lot pressure, you'll be able to deal with a lot more stuff in the future.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.