Following a second-round 67, Davis Love III reflects on his play in the 2012 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open with Fred Albers from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Davis Love III is glad to be playing golf again.
“It distracts me for 4, 5 hours a day from thinking about last week,” the U.S. Ryder Cup captain said Friday from the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. “I've got a lot of great memories from last week, and when I get by myself I start second guessing and start wishing that we would’ve done something a little different and could've gotten those guys a win.”
The U.S. led 10-6 going into singles play at the Ryder Cup before a historic comeback by Europe to win 14 1/2-13 1/2. It matched the largest final-day comeback in Ryder Cup history.
Love’s four captain’s picks earned a total of just four combined points for the week. Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods went 0-3 as a team and the U.S. lost the first five singles matches out Sunday.
Nearly a week later, even Love can’t help but wonder what went wrong, and he’s not sure how long it will take him to get over it.
“A long time,” said Love, who is 7 under through two rounds in Las Vegas after a 67 on Friday. “I don't think it'll ever go away. It was a great team. They played great. They had some bad breaks on Sunday and some guys holed some putts on 'em and turned it over.
“Winning is what it's all about and we didn't win it.”
Prior to the 2012 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Davis Love III met with the media on Tuesday to talk about playing golf after the mental strain of coaching the Ryder Cup.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.com
MEDINAH, Ill. -- Phil Mickelson wasn't about to let his captain, Davis Love III, take the blame.
So when someone asked Love whether he would have done anything differently, then specifically mentioned sitting Mickelson and Keegan Bradley after the team had gone 3-0 in the first three sessions, the lefthander felt he had to step in.
"Hold on, Davis. Hold on one sec," Mickelson said, interrupting his long-time friend in mid-sentence.
"As far as playing Keegan and I, you need to hear something," Mickelson continued, looking out at a packed interview room. "Keegan and I knew going in that we were not playing in the afternoon, and we said on the first tee, we are going to put everything we have into this one match. …
"And when we got to 10, I went to Davis and I said, listen, you're seeing our best; you cannot put us in the afternoon, because we emotionally and mentally are not prepared for it. And I know you're going to get pressure, because we're playing so good.
“But we have other guys that are dying to get out there … so you need to stay to our plan. So you cannot put that on him; if anything, it was me, because I went to him at 10 and said that to him."
Love acknowledged there were those close to the team who thought maybe that strategy should change. So he rode out to the 10th hole to talk with Mickelson.
"Phil came running over and started yelling at me, we are putting the most effort into this, we are giving you our all and we are going to win this match and do not play me in the afternoon," Love recalled. "And I thought that was the funniest thing I had ever heard.
"He was really adamant that he did not think that they should play in the afternoon; that some of the other guys would have a lot more energy and would play well."
The decision was one of many tough calls Love said he had to make. Sitting Tiger Woods down for the first time in the former world No. 1's career was another but the U.S. Captain wanted the 14-time major winner fresh for the final Four-ball match and the all-important Singles.
"Would I have liked to have had everybody on our team play four matches the first two days? Yeah, because they were all playing really, really well," Love said.
Even so, Love said he's probably going to second guess himself for a long time. He knows some matches -- like Justin Rose's win over Mickelson and Ian Poulter's over Webb Simpson and Martin Kaymer's clinching win over Steve Stricker-- seemingly turned on a dime over the last three holes.
But that’s the Ryder Cup.
Love thought he had a solid plan on Sunday. The U.S. only needed 4 1/2 points in Singles to win the Cup. Granted, Love knew the 10-4 deficit wasn't insurmountable. After all, he was a member of the American team that staged that historic comeback at Brookline in 1999.
So he put the Americans who were playing best out first to
counter what he knew would be the top of Europe's roster. But Jose
Maria Olazabal's team simply played better and the Americans found
out how the other side felt that year.
"I'm sure there's a lot of great plans in a lot of sporting events that sound really good the night before, before the game starts, and then there's a fumble or a turnover or something happens and it doesn't work," Love said. "What didn't work today is they played a little bit better than us and got some momentum and made it tough. ...
"But when you end up with the power and the excitement that we had in those first groups, and we had what we felt like was the steady Eddie guys in the back, we thought it was a great lineup. Again, a few putts they made, a few putts we missed, and it would have been a huge difference."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MEDINAH, Ill. -- Davis Love III wants to win. That's a given. But he has repeatedly said he wants a friendly spirit to prevail in the Ryder Cup this week at Medinah.
So it wasn't surprising to learn on Tuesday that Love wanted to honor Seve Ballesteros, perhaps the greatest European Ryder Cupper ever, this week. The Spaniard died last year after battling brain cancer and this will be the first Ryder Cup since 1979 in which he hasn't played a role.
The Europeans unveiled golf bags with the silhouette of Ballesteros, who owns a 20-12-5 Ryder Cup record, celebrating his winning putt at the 1984 British Open at St. Andres. Love put that same iconic image on yardage books he gave to the members of the European Team and their caddies.
"Ours have a little saying in it in the top, but theirs has a silhouette of Seve in their yardage book," Love said.
In addition, the yardage books have half a Ryder Cup on them. So if the caddy matches his with his boss, the picture of the golden chalice is complete. The same goes if Love matches his with the one given to European captain Jose Maria Olazabal.
"That's what it's all about is we respect them and they respect us, and come Friday morning to Sunday night, we are going to have a lot of fun competing," Love said. "And then as José said, then it goes right back to being friends."
Of course, Love plans for those friends to be celebrating in the U.S. team room that night.
"I don't know who is going to win, but I know on Sunday night, we're all going to be in the same room, and our room's real big, and it will probably be our room, and we'll be having fun," he said. "We might have more ... table tennis tables than them, so they might have to come over. That's the way it was in Wales, they were all over in our room celebrating.
"Obviously we hope that we have more champagne than them this time. But it's all in friendship, so there's nothing, nothing but good about Seve being on their bag."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Davis Love III has already won the Wyndham Championship twice.
Both of those victories came at Forest Oaks Country Club, though. If the 48-year-old is to win a third on Sunday, Love will have to master a course in Sedgefield that puts a premium on shot-making instead of the powerful drives he can unleash.
"It really doesn't (suit me)," Love acknowledged. "Kind of like
a lot of short, tight courses. I hit a lot of 2-irons off the tee
and just try to get it in the fairway but it's tricky and I've done
well at courses like Hilton Head and Colonial.
"I can get it around here but it's certainly not my style but I'm enjoying playing, The new greens are great -- hit good putts, they go in and I've been, like I said, I've been real close to shooting a low score every day."
Love fired his second-straight 66 on Saturday that could have been lower had he not turned a potential birdie hole into a double bogey when he hit his 8-iron at the seventh hole into the creek beside the green. That was the only blemish in a round that moved him to 11 under and within three strokes of the lead.
So can the wildly popular North Carolina product snap a victory drought of nearly four years on Sunday?
"Yeah, if I quit making silly mistakes," the U.S. Ryder Cup captain said. "I played real well this week and punished myself a couple times with silly mistakes or I'd be right there. Scores are going to be low. I just have to keep shooting low.”
Watch Sam Snead's domination, Davis Love III's two wins, Brandt Snedeker's win in 2007, Ryan Moore clutch victory in 2009 and Arjun Atwal's 2010 win as a Monday qualifier.
The pairings have been unveiled for this week’s PGA TOUR Matchups Game on Facebook. You can check out the Matchups for the Wyndham Championship below, or on the PGA TOUR’s Facebook page.
Participants have until 6 a.m. ET Thursday to make their picks. Log on to the PGA TOUR Facebook page and click the Matchups link to make your picks for this week, or to sign up.
|Webb Simpson vs. Bill Haas||Wake Forest alums do battle in their home state|
|Carl Pettersson vs. Ryan Moore||Two past Wyndham champs ready for more at Sedgefield|
|Davis Love III vs. Jason Dufner||Ryder Cup Captain keeps close eye on Ryder Cup rookie|
|Sergio Garcia vs. Trevor Immelman||Two international stars are looking to kick-start their season|
|Jhonattan Vegas vs. Brendan Steele||Both need a big week to get into the FedExCup Playoffs|
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- We won’t know for another month who will be the captains’ picks for this year’s U.S. and European Ryder Cup teams, but Davis Love III and Jose Maria Olazabal offered at least some insight on Wednesday.
“We'll be plugging holes, matching pairings,” Love said. “Obviously if Steve Stricker was on the outside, we have a guy that likes to play with him that's a lock.”
Tiger Woods is that lock as he’s the only player on either side to have mathematically secured a spot.
As Love indicated, Woods has had success alongside Stricker. The two compiled a 6-2 record when paired together in the last three international team competitions (2-1 in the 2010 Ryder Cup, 0-1 and 4-0 in each of the last two Presidents Cups).
Stricker is currently 10th in the standings. Only the top eight players after this week’s PGA Championship will automatically make the U.S. team, however. Love will then make four captain’s picks Sept. 4.
Others on the outside looking in include Hunter Mahan, who has won twice this season, at No. 9, and Jim Furyk, who had leads late into the U.S. Open and last week’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, at No. 11. Furyk also finished second in Tampa, losing a playoff Luke Donald.
Rickie Fowler, who won earlier this year at Quail Hollow, is No. 12, while Brandt Snedeker, Dustin Johnson and Bo Van Pelt round out the top 15.
But as we saw with Keegan Bradley, a player can make a big leap in the standings with a win -- particularly this week with double points being awarded (players receive two points for every $1,000 in prize money earned). That means everyone down to Matt Every at No. 37 has a chance to earn an automatic spot with a victory at the PGA Championship.
“It just shows you that we are strong and all of the guys at the top are taking turns playing well,” Love said. “There's a lot of golf to be watched. Fifty-one days (until the Ryder Cup), there's three tournaments after this week. I would think somebody can get really hot that we are not even looking at.”
One player Love will be looking at is an ice cold Phil Mickelson, who is on the bubble of earning one of those automatic spots at No. 8 in the standings.
Mickelson, who won at Pebble Beach earlier this year, has just one finish inside the top 25 on the PGA TOUR since April. At one point during that span, he failed to break par in nine consecutive rounds -- the longest such streak of his career. He’s also missed the cut in two of his last three starts, including at the British Open, and admitted to being “lethargic” the last two months.
If Mickelson were to struggle again this week, he could drop in the standings and that might force Love to use one of his picks on the veteran of eight Ryder Cups and nine Presidents Cups.
“I think he and Steve and a lot of guys are trying really hard to make the team, and that might be hurting them a little bit,” Love said. “We have all been there; the last few weeks, you press a little bit, you try a little too hard.”
Olazabal is facing a similar dilemma with Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington, who have played in five and six Ryder Cups, respectively. They are 12th and 29th in the current standings, though Europe’s top 10 players won’t become final until the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles later this month.
Europe’s team will be comprised of the top five players from the Ryder Cup European points list and the top five not otherwise qualified from the world points list. Olazabal will add two captain’s picks the day after Europe’s top 10 spots become final.
“He's a great team player,” Olazabal said of Garcia. “His spirit is always really good, and in that regard I think he's a great asset to the team. It's true that at the moment his game is a little bit off. Pairing-wise, he's proved the last few Ryder Cups he can play with anybody, and he's done well. I think that's very important. If you are looking at the players to be on your team, Sergio would certainly be one of them for sure.”
Harrington’s chances seem far more tenuous.
“He has to do really extraordinary well,” Olazabal said. “He's well down the list. He's a very methodical player. From tee-to-green, his game has been fairly good, but I think his putting has let him down this year so far. If he really does extraordinarily well, he can have a great chance of making the team still, but it's going to be up to him.”
Whoever Olazabal and Love pick, both men will lean on their assistant captains, among others, when it comes to making their selections.
Love added that he doesn’t yet have a hard list of player’s he’s considering when it comes to his picks. But he does have an idea of what characteristics he’s looking for.
“You want some hot putters,” Love said. “You might want another long'-ball hitter.
“This week is important, because it ends the points. But it's just as important as any of the guys who play at Greensboro or who plays well at Barclays. I would like to catch somebody that's hot this week and the next two tournaments they play.”
By Brian Wacker, PGAOTUR.COM
BETHESDA, Md. -- Davis Love III confirmed on Wednesday perhaps the worst-kept secret in golf: That Fred Couples will be one of his assistant captains at the Ryder Cup Sept. 28-30 at Medinah Country Club.
Joining Couples as an assistant is Mike Hulbert.
“I've talked to Fred a lot since he's done so well the last couple years with the Presidents Cup team,” said Love, who has yet to name his other assistants. “I talked to him a lot, gotten a lot of advice from him, been surprised at his level of detail and his commitment to the Presidents Cup. And I know that's why the guys are lobbying for him to do it over and over again, because he really has put a lot into it.”
Couples has captained the last two Presidents Cup teams -- and is the captain for 2013, too -- and led the U.S. to victory both times.
“People see Freddie, he makes it look so easy and he's got this nice swing and he's always smiling and waving,” Love continued. “But what's going on in his head, I think, is completely different. He really has a lot of pride in his game. It doesn't show, but he tries very, very hard.”
As for Hulbert, he came with a pretty impressive recommendation of sorts.
One of the first calls Love received after he was named captain was from Curtis Strange, who told love that Hulbert was “the best assistant captain in the history of the Ryder Cup.”
Hulbert was an assistant captain under Strange in 2002. He has also long been one of Love’s closest friends, even before Love played his first round on the PGA TOUR as an amateur and was paired with Hulbert.
“He knows a lot of guys out here and a lot of guys know him,” Love said. “He's one of those kind of the favorite hang guys around the TOUR.”
As for Couples’ other two assistants?
”Those two were my natural choices,” Love said. “My next two are going to be harder.”