Ryder Cup captain looks to keep players calm, collected
As captain of the USA Ryder Cup team coming to Medinah, Davis Love III says one thing he'll try to do is keep the pressure off his players and ask them to relax and just play their game.
For a guy who will have the pressure of representing his country squarely on his shoulders in three months time, Davis Love III is a pretty calm and collected guy these days.
And that's a good attribute for a Ryder Cup captain to have.
Love, who will lead the U.S. squad into Medinah Country Club in September, is in the final stages of preparation for what should be one heck of a Ryder Cup.
The man with the never-ending "to-do" list, took a little time out recently to talk with the Daily Herald about what he's been through and what lies ahead for the American squad as the countdown to the Cup picks up steam.
Q. You knew being captain was a detailed job, but did you realize just how many details there were — both big and small?
A. Maybe four or five years ago when I started thinking about what it would mean to be a Ryder Cup captain, no. When I went through the last one (as an assistant to captain) Corey Pavin, then I realized, 'Uh oh. I've been looking at this all the wrong way.'
I was saying it's probably like President Obama when he ran, and then all of a sudden they'd sit him down and say, 'Now you're the president, here's what's really going on.' You go, 'Oh my goodness.'
That's when it hit me, and now I'm inside the machine, and if you don't play right it'll run you over because it's so big. But everyone involved has been great about it. It's not like I have to make up the Ryder Cup — I just have to fill in the blanks.
Q. There are a lot of blanks though, huh?
A. It's amazing how much goes into it. But the further along I get into it, the more I appreciate what the other captains did on the teams I played for; how much time and effort and how much of their lives they put into the Ryder Cup.
Q. And you've probably used them as resources I imagine.
A. I have, and as it gets closer I'm going to rely on those guys even more. Things are popping up more and more. I feel like I have to call (former captain Tom) Kite and ask him, 'What did you do when this happened?'
But Corey, I gave him a whole bunch of cigars at Colonial. He said, 'What's this for?' I said, 'I know you like cigars and I'm going to owe you. Keep your phone on.'
He's been great. My wife and I have called Corey and his wife and we're like, 'Help me!'
Corey knew a lot about what was going on with me before I knew it. He's been a great resource.
Q. I know you keep a close eye on the Americans, but how much do you focus on the guys who will make up the European team?
A. I'm not studying the list because I'm out here kind of watching it unfold.
A lot of those guys are guys I'm playing with or know very well like Luke (Donald). And I see Sergio (Garcia) in the gym and around the locker room all the time. There are a few guys out there that I don't know too well — like Martin (Kaymer).
But you know what's going to happen? We're going to get there and it's going to look like our team is favored and their team is going to play really well. It seems like almost every year the Americans look really strong and the Europeans play great.
Q. They're playing pretty well this year, aren't they?
A. We're bragging about how well our team is playing, but their team is playing very, very well.
Q. Do you buy the theory that their team is a more team-oriented squad than the Americans?
A. No, I've never bought into that because I've been on the inside of seven teams and watched it.
I buy into the theory that we come together as a team and we try so hard to win that we get in our own way. I don't think they come together and outwork us or want it more than us. I think they might relax better, but I think that's what Freddie (Couples) did so well with as captain of the last two President's Cup teams — and also what Jack (Nicklaus) did — somehow it was more relaxing, and we played better.
And you know, winning every time in the President's Cup helps.
But now we've been losing, and what do you do when you're losing? You try harder to win. I think that's what we have to get away from; quit trying to win and just go play and let the results take care of themselves.
Q. Easier said than done?
A. When they put the flags in and everyone has the same outfit on, the same golf bag … it becomes a whole different story.
It's hard to turn that off, but that's going to be my thing, along with my four assistants. We're going to say, 'Hey look guys, here's the goal: just relax and have fun.'
That's what we need the guys to do and we have to figure out a way to do it.
Q. And finally, are you looking forward to the next few months or are you dreading the craziness just before the Ryder Cup?
A. I don't know how it could get a whole lot busier than it is right now (laughs) ... but I think we're ready.
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