U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III had a week to remember in his first Masters start since 2011. On Sunday, Love even collected some Masters crystal thanks to his hole-in-one on the par-3 16th hole – the second of three aces there in the final round.
We caught up with Love, who is in Hilton Head this week, for a little post-Masters Q&A that touched on that ace, advice he would pass along to Jordan Spieth after a crushing loss, and how his team is beginning to take shape.
PGA.com: Tell me about your Masters week.
Love: It was obviously nice to be back playing in the Masters. I have so many friends that are members there and it was great to see them and they were excited to see me there. I loved seeing the changes to the course, too. It's amazing how much Augusta National changes through the years and even more amazing how those changes look like they've been there forever. It was just a great week.
PGA.com: And, of course, you managed to ace No. 16 in the final round, which had to be special.
Love: To finish with a hole-in-one and get some crystal was awesome. It was incredible. We had heard the roar for Shane Lowry not long before we got to 16 – we didn't know it was Shane, but knew by the roar that it had to be a hole-in-one.
Right when I struck the tee shot, I heard a woman say, "That's perfect."
Then, once the ball started rolling on the green, I heard a guy say it was going to break right into the cup. Sure enough, that's what it did. People were jumping out of their seats and the roar was amazing. It was incredible how loud it was. I've chipped in on that hole on Masters Sunday before and, man, I thought that was loud. But Sunday's hole-in-one? That was the loudest roar I think I've heard in my career.
PGA.com: I've got to ask you about Jordan Spieth. What advice would you give him as someone who has had close calls of his own?
Love: In 1995 at the U.S. Open, I had a putt to win and then I had a putt to get in the playoff and then I made the putt to not be in the playoff. That's something I've never been able to forget. I bogeyed the last two holes and I could have won the U.S. Open. You never forget it. Just maybe you think you're never going to have another chance. At 22 years old like Jordan, you're going to have a lot more chances. I'm sure he's looking at it differently. It doesn't matter if he wins five Masters and five of every other major and breaks Jack's record, he's still going to look back and go, I could have won that one. He'll never get over it.
You have to take the wins with the losses. What he said in his press conference was perfect – he needs to have more discipline. It's a tough lesson to learn, but he's led seven of the last eight rounds in the Masters. He's going to be OK.
PGA.com: Early last week, Spieth played alongside potential Ryder Cup teammates Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas in the Par 3 Contest. As captain, you must enjoy seeing that kind of bonding, especially during a big week.
Love: It's great that they all get along. They're terrific young men and represent the game so well. That's what I told Jordan after the Masters. The way he handled himself in the aftermath was more impressive than his golf game.
Those guys play together at home and I think it shows what we've been saying – the American guys do get along real well. I think it's because they're coming off college golf, Walker Cup, Palmer Cup and they're just so used to hanging out around one another.
PGA.com: With double points awarded at the Masters, do you feel like the team is finally taking some shape, or is it still too early to say?
Love: We really didn't have any big jumps. Daniel Berger was the biggest (from No. 40 to No. 21), but everyone else just repositioned a little bit. We have some big money, big points tournaments left. We didn't have the winner last week, but we had a lot of guys up there. From No. 5 down will shift a lot, but Jordan and Dustin Johnson are for sure in good posiiton.
PGA.com: As it stands now, there's not a single potential U.S. Ryder Cup rookie in your top 8. Is that surprising to you at this point?
Love: I don't think so. You look at the names – they've all played well the last few years. There are guys with one or two Ryder Cups under their belt in the top 8, but guys knocking on the door at 10-11-12 without experience. Our better players are just playing really well. They're always playing well. Consistent good play is what I've seen out of them.
PGA.com: How impressive was it to other players what past European Ryder Cup Captain Bernhard Langer did last week?
Love: It wasn't surprising to me at all. He always does well there like Freddie Couples. He's inspired by the Masters, he knows the course as well as anyone having won there twice and he's been playing great for a long time on the PGA Tour Champions. It doesn't matter what tour he plays on, he'd be competitive. I'm always impressed with his will and determination.