An Interview With: DAVIS LOVE III
KELLY ELBIN: United States Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III joining us as we head to Sunday with the United States leading the Ryder Cup 10 6. Davis, another day of Ryder Cup chills and thrills today. Comments on what transpired today and look ahead to the pairings for tomorrow, please.
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, it was a thrilling day from the dark the boys were warming up in this morning to the dark that Ian was making that great putt on the last hole. It was a long day, exciting golf. We both had some great runs today. We had some great stretches of holes from both teams, some great golf from both teams, and ultimately we came out four points ahead.
But I think everybody played very, very well. Our team, they stuck together, they stuck with their game plan, and they had a lot of fun out there this afternoon watching each other play. I'm very, very proud of the way they played, the way they hung in there.
I had some guys that were 2, 3, 4 down keep playing hard, hang in there. Obviously Dustin was disappointed coming off of 16 and then played 17 and 18 beautifully. That was a big point for us to keep the momentum going.
It's hard to easy to say, but every match is important. But that was a big match because you knew the guys coming in, those guys behind Dustin's match were playing very, very well and looked like they could win those two points.
All in all a great day. We're excited about our position, but we know, as Ollie said, it's not over yet.
Q. Davis, can you just explain your thinking for putting Tiger in the final spot tomorrow?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, we sat out on the porch, a bunch of us, and we said, it's hard to decide who the best six players or the best eight players on your team are, and it doesn't really matter which ones you put in which order because everybody is playing so well.
Individually I wouldn't want to play anybody on our side, so we didn't really try to match up. But we just felt like there was a group of guys that like to play pretty fast, and there's a group of guys that are more comfortable playing later in the day. Tiger is used to teeing off at 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon. That's kind of his usual time on weekends. So we looked at a lot of different things.
But I needed some stability, I think, in different spots. You needed guys like Tiger and Strick down towards the end. I've always looked at it like you don't know when these matches are going to end. They will not end the 11:03 match will not necessarily end before the 11:14 match. So we didn't really look at where the pairings would fall, the match ups would fall or where the final point would fall. We just looked at who wanted to go where.
I would say there was six or eight guys that didn't take off real fast that I could catch, and we talked about it. Pretty much everybody everybody that was still at the clubhouse when I got up there got kind of what they wanted, where they wanted to be, which is what they've gotten pretty much all week, except for the guys that sat out.
Q. We've heard a lot about Europe feeling like they have a little bit of momentum right now. I just wonder what your take is on the day's proceedings even though they won those last two points?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I've kept saying over and over again, we just want to win each segment. We want to go out and have some fun and not really think about the outcome. We have one more day to go, and we'd just like to go out and play.
Our guys, they all want to win a point. We've got guys that are trying to go 3 0 or 4 0 or win their first point. There's a lot of guys playing for pride in their team and in their country and wanting to contribute. I've never seen anybody so excited as Keegan Bradley coming off that second or his third win. They just want to go do it again.
All I'm going to stress to them is all you can do is just go win your match, and you can't think about the outcome of the day and what the other guys are doing, and we don't want to talk about how many points we need or what it's going to take to win. We just want to go play.
We've got one more day for the next two years to play Ryder Cup matches, and they're going to be excited to come out and play tomorrow.
Q. The way you've set the course up for plenty of birdies and eagles and the way that you have encouraged the 13th man, the Chicago crowd, to get behind your team, and finally the way that you've decided not to ask any of your players to play all matches, with regard to your visualization for where you would be now and where you are now and your dream, has this been a perfect plan so far, working out?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, it's it's easy to have a plan when you've got great players. I could have mixed it all up, and if they would have played like they did this week, any plan would have worked. I thought Tom Kite had a great plan, and Tiger and Davis and Justin didn't play very good. I thought Hal Sutton had a great plan, and Davis and Chad and Tiger and Phil got beat.
These guys went out and played hard and played very, very well. It makes it easy on the Captain when it's all your big decision is do you put Keegan and Phil back out or do you give them a break like they're asking for. Those are it's tough to sit what has Dustin Johnson done when he's on the golf course this week? He's played great, and I sat him out twice. So it's hard to make decisions like that.
But we had an idea of what would work, and other than a couple hot streaks getting us, it's pretty it's worked pretty well.
So if our guys just go play like they've been doing, one more day, we can have some fun tomorrow night. I think the fans have enjoyed it. When I build a golf course and the members come to me and say, "we love our golf course," that makes me happy. If it's too easy for a PGA TOUR event or a U.S. Open, I'm happy with that.
Would Kerry Haigh ever set the golf course up like this for a PGA Championship? Probably not. We enjoy his PGA Championships because they're very fair, but I don't think anybody is complaining about Poulter birdieing the last six holes except for the two guys that played him. You know, that was pretty exciting stuff.
I think that's what the fans want to see. They don't want to see us putting for pars. I've said that a bunch. But it's good golf, and everybody has had fun, and we just want to go have fun for one more day.
Q. Back to the pairings, how much is your order, especially at the top, a reflection of what you guys thought they might be doing at the top?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I think it's a reflection of what I've been telling these guys. It's their team. It's their 12 men. It's not anything about I didn't get to play and Hub didn't get to play and Verplank didn't get to play; we're just working for them. I let them basically pick it. Like I said, I'm not going to tell you who all was sitting at the table because some guys ran off and some guys went with their wives, but pretty much six or eight guys picked this order, and four assistants and my brother sitting around a table.
And then we lined them all up, and then we got sidetracked on other things and started talking about what was for dinner, and then we said, what do you think they're going to do, and we all know they're going to load the boat early. Most of the guys sitting around there were on the other end of it when we loaded the boat early at Brookline. It's your only option.
So we didn't need to talk about whether Rory would be first, second or third, or whether Justin would be first, second or third or Luke would be first, second or third. It really didn't matter to us because Bubba likes to play fast, and we didn't want to block him by six other guys, and Webb likes to get out there and Webb and Bubba hit balls together in the morning.
It just made sense. It was pretty easy. Four or five guys all basically came up with the same thing. The only thing I didn't ask them was who wanted to be in the envelope, because I don't think that's a fair question.
Q. Do you have anyone special talking to the team tonight at dinner?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, since I've missed it, I hope somebody did (smiling).
Q. Anything special planned for tonight?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, our special guests were here pretty much all day. Hopefully they're going to catch their plane on time. I'm sad to have probably missed a great talk by the Bushes, but they're back there while I'm I'm entertaining you while they're entertaining them. Hopefully Scottie V has got the football game on and they're not watching me while the Bushes are speaking.
Q. Three of your first five players out are rookies playing singles for the first time. Can you remember what was different for you playing as a rookie in singles as compared to the team, and will you give them any advice in terms of scoreboard watching or anything different about how to handle themselves playing alone as compared to the first two days?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I told Bubba we were going to get some "quiet please" signs for the first tee for him because it seemed like it was kind of loud.
But you have to do a little bit of that. That's why you go to the range with them in the morning or go to the first tee with them. But I've been saying all along, my rookies aren't rookies. Bubba Watson is not scared to go out there, and Webb Simpson is not scared to go out there. Keegan has been just on fire. He loves this stage. And I don't think I've ever seen a group of well, this is the eighth team I've gotten to watch. I don't ever think I've seen a group of guys that were playing so well, so confidently, so free, because they've been playing so well for the last six months, last year, last their lifetime with Tiger.
They're just on a roll, and they're letting it go here. They're being real free and confident every time they walk out of the locker room, and I think that's great.
I think when Ollie looked at that, he went, oh, they put the guys that are playing really good first. He didn't look like, oh, they put their rookies out there. I wouldn't want any part of Bubba Watson or Webb Simpson or Keegan Bradley or Phil Mickelson right now.
My first time I had just gotten beat up three matches by Ollie and Seve, so I was ready to get back out there and try to win one. But I don't think I think once you get to Sunday, it's almost like a little bit of freedom because you're back to a game you enjoy. I enjoyed singles. I seemed to do pretty well or feel pretty well in singles, and I think these guys will do the same thing. We've got a lot of firepower distance wise in that first bunch, and a lot of strength and good putters. I think they'll do very, very well at it.
You're going to be nervous; shoot, they were nervous Tuesday morning in the practice round walking out there. I said it before: As Paul Azinger said, without the nerves you're not going to see the incredible emotion and the great shots like we saw the last two days, so I think we'll see a lot more of that tomorrow from these guys.
Q. Notwithstanding the fact that he's on the other team, can you give a fellow golfer's assessment of Ian Poulter's last six holes?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, they were outstanding. I only saw the last, saw a little bit of it on the little TVs we're carrying around, but he's done that at least twice this week, that stretch of holes. I've watched him make a lot of putts that were key.
You know, he had an unbelievable and I couldn't even tell you, because I race around so fast, but every time I looked up, the guy with the matching shoes was making a putt, hitting a good shot.
He's a guy like well, like Monty or Seve, that this is what they live for. You know, he loves playing in this kind of a stage. Rory is the same way. Rory my son came in from watching whatever the match was, maybe the first morning where Rory chipped in and made a bunch of putts, and my son came in and said, no matter what he does, he does something great. He had a great stretch of holes.
They've had Colsaerts, had some unbelievable golf this week. They've played very, very well in spurts. And Ian had a great match coming in. It was tough on us, but it was very exciting. As I said, I'm sure the fans loved it.
Q. With a 10 6 lead, as much fun as your guys have had all week, is there any concern that they'll play not to lose tomorrow?
DAVIS LOVE III: No. As Ollie said in his speech, even if they were in primary school, they know about 1999, and they know the story. They know Ben Crenshaw, they know Justin Leonard's putt, they know what can happen. And they're going to be having the same kind of team meeting we had in '99. All right, boys, we've got to win the first six. And then the game is on.
We're just going to go back and hopefully they're pretty much done with dinner and they're going to get some sleep, and we're going to come back and do what we've been doing the last two days and what these guys have been doing the last few months.
If I can add anything to what we've been doing so far it's what we've talked about already. Now it's individual, now you've got to not look at the leaderboard, you've got to not listen to the roars, you've got to just play your match. It's an individual game again, and I think these guys have all proven that on their own, they're the best players in the world, and then you put them in pairings and they're really, really good together.
But again, we're all going to be nervous, we're all going to be playing hard, and we won't win all 12. It would be nice if we did. But we're going to give it a good shot.
Q. I wonder if you were slightly surprised when you looked up to the skies to see a whole lot of Tweets for the European team. I wonder what you made of what happened there, go Europe in the Chicago skies?
DAVIS LOVE III: We were surprised, and then once we asked around and figured out who was doing it, then we understood, because I was in Wales as well and saw the marketing.
But some of it was actually funny, when they said Zach should play from the red tees. I didn't think Zach thought it was very funny, but everybody in my cart thought it was funny.
You know, as long as it wasn't the other side doing it you know, whatever, we discussed it, we texted back and forth about it after we left the first tee, and then we decided, hey, it's working good for us; we keep winning holes. So I'm just disappointed that they stopped, because if they'd have kept doing it all afternoon, maybe our roll would have kept going.
That's what Ryder Cup is all about is competition. I know I saw Poulter one hole, they were giving him a hard time about something, and he enjoyed it, and I think that's what makes him a great player. That's what makes Tiger a great player or think of somebody else that handles it well. Seve lived for that. They lived for Azinger. They lived for playing in front of a crowd and knowing that they were pulling against them. It was interesting. A lot of discussion, but I don't think it bothered us.
KELLY ELBIN: U.S. is up by four with singles tomorrow. Captain Love, thank you.
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