An Interview With: CAPTAIN DAVIS LOVE III
KELLY ELBIN: United States Team captain, Davis Love III, as the Friday morning foursomes have been announced for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club. We'll get right to it; comments, please, on your decisions for your four teams and how you see the four matches shaping up.
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, we are excited about our four teams we are sending out there. We had a tough decision, and it wasn't who to send out; it was who to sit down.
I had to talk to four of my guys, and somehow come up with a rational explanation of why they weren't going to play. But these guys we thought made really, really good alternate shot foursomes teams. And that's what we decided to go with.
I'm very pleased. Our guys have really pulled together this week. They have said they would do anything I asked them. And they came through today, too, when we finally had to make the decision. So I'm excited and we are just excited we are going to play some golf.
Q. Was there anything in Ollie's pairings that surprised you or otherwise raised an eyebrow?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I just saw them (chuckling). I'm still studying them.
No. Maybe order a little bit. But honestly, we didn't spend a whole lot of time trying to figure out what they were going to do. These groups have been down on paper for awhile, and we just were trying to figure out which ones we wanted to play and which ones we wanted to sit and what order we wanted them to go out in.
I really, I honestly didn't try to guess what they were going to do.
Q. Could you describe your reasoning for putting Tiger and Stricker out last? And also, do you know right now what you're going to do right now in the afternoon, or does it depend what happens in the morning?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, you can never say that you know exactly what you're going to do, because I didn't know what I was going to do today.
So we've got a pretty good plan of what we want to do. But we want to go watch obviously watch a little golf in the morning and see how guys are playing. But I've got four guys, I've got four of the best players in the world that love this golf course sitting on the bench, and I'm going to have to get them in the game.
So I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do, but it's just this is the best four we felt like to start us off. And order wise, there was not a whole lot of rhyme or reason to it, except that maybe pace of play, we wanted to get Brandt going; Brandt likes to get out there and get after it. Brandt was a good one to lead off.
Obviously Phil and Keegan are a little bit excited to be playing, too, so get them going. And then we've got some pretty cool customers at the end that can handle whatever happens in the last two matches.
Q. We've been building up to this moment for a long, long time. Can you give us a sense of the mood among your players? Are they ready for this?
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, they are ready. They are excited. There was a lot of great golf played out there today. I kept getting radioed from my assistant captains, my brother, everybody that was out there said, you know, this guy just did this; Bubba just made an eagle, back and forth. Everybody looks good. Everybody feels good.
So they are very, very excited. They are going to be very happy, as their captain is and the rest of this team, as I keep saying, to go play. This has been an exciting week so far. It's been a busy week so far. They are primed and ready, for sure.
Q. What's your latest thought on the length of No. 15, especially since Mickelson came in and said he doesn't anticipate it being drivable; and also, do you think you'll move around the tee much on the weekend?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, it won't be drivable if Phil doesn't hit driver, if he hits an iron off the tee.
I think you'll probably see a variety of things at 15. You know, it all depends on the wind, too. If it's cold or windy, not many guys can get there no matter where you put the tee. The front of the tee is I think the shortest you can get it is 285 front, so if it's cold and windy coming in, not many guys out there that will be able to get there. Maybe Dustin and Tiger and Colsaerts. But I think you'll see a variety.
You know, it's different in different formats, and Kerry is I think the great thing about what we have seen Kerry set up PGA Championships and Ryder Cups is he gives you a variety. It's fun; fun to play any course that Kerry sets up. I'm just glad that I got to Curtis Tyrell and got rid of Kerry's four inch rough. (Smiling.)
Q. Do you have any thoughts about Europe's choices? Does this give you any insights into Olazábal's tactical thinking?
DAVIS LOVE III: As I said, José Maria and I have just been trying to get through these speeches, and then I just saw these pairings.
I'm sure I've got a bunch of guys sitting up there in the team room waiting for me to get on the bus home. I've started to study it. Honestly, the whole experience of the last three or four hours has been so incredible. When Kerry Haigh handed me that envelope and that piece of paper and I had to fill it out, I was joking with my nephew, I said, "Would you fill this out for me?"
It's just such an honor to go through this process, because there's so many fun things you get to do. And to go to Bubba and Webb out on the golf course and say, you guys, I'm going to ask you to sit down, is just surreal to go ask those two guys not to play right off the bat in The Ryder Cup.
But that tells you what a great team we have. No, I haven't studied it, looked at it. So I'll have to go check it out. I'm sure there will be a lot of discussion in our room and in their room the rest of the night.
KELLY ELBIN: How close to the opening ceremonies did you determine your four teams for tomorrow morning?
DAVIS LOVE III: I would say that the guys that are playing together were pretty well set, and we turned it in pretty early. Well, I should say, we wrote it on the paper and sealed it pretty early. And we didn't second guess ourselves very much today. We had a little bit of discussion at lunchtime, but we were pretty solid set on these four going out.
Q. I noticed earlier or in the middle of the afternoon, several of guys on the putting green doing very similar putting drills. Is that something you suggested or are they just following their normal routines?
DAVIS LOVE III: Oh, no, no, no, I stay out of their I ask these guys to prepare the way they always prepare; if they need their instructor or they need an extra hour to do their thing. I reminded Zach Johnson that he has his own system for practicing his putting and I'm just trying to find time for him to be able to do it. That's their normal routine. I asked them just to be rested and prepared, just like this was any other week. So that's their own deal.
Q. You've got three of your rookies going out in the morning. Did that give you any pause, especially sending Brandt out first?
DAVIS LOVE III: No. As I said, I think yesterday, these guys are not really rookies. Brandt Snedeker has been playing as well as anybody since The Open Championship, and he's hot. Got him with a guy that's got a lot of experience.
So I think we just felt like where guys would be most comfortable; obviously the first tee Friday morning of The Ryder Cup is going to be a pretty exciting, loud place, and we wanted some guys that we felt like could handle that situation and that wanted to get out of the gate and get going. Those are two guys we felt like were perfect for the first tee.
And again, we weren't guessing who was going to be there. We were guessing what it was going to sound like, feel like, and who could handle that the best. And the more you get to know Brandt Snedeker, then the more you'll understand why he's going off first.
Q. We're going to spend hours now trying to go through this and come up with ideas on who is going to win and who is going to lose; can you give us your realistic expectations as you look at those pairings how the U.S. could come out of tomorrow morning?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I won't make any predictions, but I can tell you this: I love my team and I love the pairings, and I love the plan we've got going, and I'm excited to watch them go play.
Q. Do you know first who will hit your opening shot in the top game?
DAVIS LOVE III: Who will hit the
KELLY ELBIN: Who will hit the very first shot, whether Jim or Brandt?
DAVIS LOVE III: No. If I said it, I would probably do it like I did Sea Island, Georgia, for Jim Furyk; I would probably tell you the wrong thing. So I'm not 100 percent sure how they have sorted it out.
Q. Also, Tiger Woods and Stricker have suffered two heavy defeats in the last two matches; do you see that as a blip and is that why you've decided to keep with them?
DAVIS LOVE III: They have won a lot of matches, too, in both international competitions. They play very well together. So, again, I didn't go back and study Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker's record before I put them together. They wanted to play together and they have done pretty well together, so going to let them go.
Q. Can you foresee a scenario where the four players that are not playing in the morning would also sit in the afternoon?
DAVIS LOVE III: No, I think we have a plan, and we are going to stick with it.
I told some of the guys, Dean Smith just ran his offense and he ran it and he ran it and he ran it until the game was over; and I think that's what we are going to do. We have got a plan, we have some great players and we are just going to let them play until we run out of holes. I think everybody around me seems to feel like we have a pretty good plan.
It's going to take nine holes or 12 holes and see what's going on. But I think we are just going to stick with our game plan. I don't think we are going to mess around with it a whole lot.
Q. You were very eloquent in your speech, so how come the Jim Furyk mix up?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, because I got a guy from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that lives down the street from me at Sea Island, Georgia, and then I've got a guy from Nashville, Tennessee, that has a house down the street from me in Sea Island, Georgia. And I corrected I had to switch Matt Kuchar it said Ponte Vedra, Florida on his, one of my versions of my speech, and I had to switch his to Sea Island, Georgia, and so when I saw Ponte Vedra pop up, I went, uh oh, they got it wrong.
It's the simple fact that we want Jim and Tabitha to move to Sea Island. We have not convinced them yet. They are only 50 miles away but we can't get them up there yet.
You know, if that's the only mistake I made in that speech and Ollie got through it without crying about Seve because I was crying when he was talking about Seve. So I'm happy. It's over; he and I can celebrate that the speeches are done and the pomp and circumstance is over, and that we can go play.
You should have seen us out there at 9:00 this morning. We were like little kids, nervous (shuddering). It's over. Jim can give me a hard time if he wants, but it was it actually was fun to sit up there. It was nerve wracking and emotional. But it was fun.
The hardest thing for me to say was "the United States Ryder Cup Team." I got choked up every time I had to say it. It was exciting. It was fun. And they will wear me out when I get back, especially Freddie. Maybe Freddie maybe I won't see Freddie tonight (laughing).
KELLY ELBIN: U.S. captain, Davis Love III, thank you very much.
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