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Updated 2:00 PM November 8, 2006




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Spotlight: OSEH worker scores a trip 'fore' two to Ryder Cup

Most golf fanatics only dream of obtaining tickets to the Ryder Cup, a biennial golf tournament held in different places around the world.

For Tim Cullen, an environmental manager in the Occupational Safety and Environmental Health (OSEH) Department, that dream became a reality in September.
Tim Cullen (left) and his brother, Pat, take a break between shots at Doonbeg, a relatively new course designed by Greg Norman. They're at the signature hole; the 14th, a tricky par 3, with the Atlantic Ocean in the background. (Photo courtesy Tim Cullen)

After a hot August weekend involving several rounds of the sport, Cullen was posting his scores on the Golf Association of Michigan Web site in an effort to regulate and improve his game. He noticed an advertisement to enter a contest to win a trip for two to the Ryder Cup in Ireland. The rest is history.

"I never would have imagined I would win a trip to Ireland—especially to watch a tournament as prestigious as the Ryder Cup," Cullen says. Cup matches comprise two teams of professional golfers from Europe and the United States. The international teams compete every two years in hopes of claiming the famous trophy.

Osprey, a multifaceted real estate and recreational property firm in Brighton, sponsored the free trip to Ireland. The trip included airfare to and from Dublin; transfers between the airport and hotel; hotel accommodations for three nights; daily entry to Ryder Cup venue the K Club in County Kildare, an hour outside Dublin; and one-day entry to the hospitality tent.

"It was a unique experience to actually see the professional golfers live and up close," Cullen says. "Many of them looked very different than how they appear on TV."

Although he said it was unfortunate to see the U.S. team struggle and lose the tournament, Cullen was honored to watch the talented golfers in a competitive environment.

"The quality of golf was exceptional," he says. "They made it all look so easy!"

While visiting, Cullen took some time to experience the culture and attractions of Ireland with his brother, Pat. The siblings prowled around Dublin and took short trips to neighboring towns to see the sights and sample the food and drink.

Cullen particularly enjoyed taking the Dublin Area Rapid Transit train north to a small fishing village called Howth, along the coast of the Irish Sea, that supports a small fishing fleet.

"Since my brother lives in Baltimore, we don't get to see each other as much as we should," Cullen adds. "This trip was a great opportunity for some 'middle-age bonding,' especially as we endured the atrocious weather.

"While traveling, I learned where hurricanes go to die: Ireland! Some of the tournament play was actually suspended for several hours due to high winds and steady rain!"

Cullen has been a University employee for more than 11 years. Prior to that he pursued a career as an environmental consultant.

"Employment at the University offers a wide variety of technical opportunities in which to get involved," Cullen says. "My area of responsibility covers many regulatory compliance issues, and because of the diverse nature of the University's operations, this keeps me and my staff very busy."

Cullen has one daughter, Abbey, 24, who is studying for her doctoral degree in history at Loyola University in Chicago. His wife, Claire, is a pediatric dentist in Novi. When he isn't working at the University or attending the Ryder Cup in Ireland, he enjoys reading, fitness and golf.

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