Captain's Blog: It's all sinking in
Leading up to the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club, U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III will periodically check in with PGA.com to talk about the various things going on in his life on the course, off the course and in his Ryder Cup preparations. This is the first installment of Love's 'Captain's Blog,' as told to PGA.com's T.J. Auclair.
By Davis Love III
U.S. Ryder Cup Captain
Last week, April 13, I celebrated my 47th birthday. It was great. I had a charity auction item that I donated for the East Lake Foundation a little while back. It was for a turkey hunt, which is something I love to do. It turned out that the guys who won the item could come the middle of last week, so that's how I spent my birthday. My wife was at the farm with us and cooked everyone a great dinner. It was very nice.
It's been a few months now since I was officially introduced as the U.S. Ryder Cup captain and since the announcement, it's set in a little more every day. It's an unbelievable honor and the response has been unbelievable too.
As captain, you become part of a small, incredible group. There have been days where my wife, Robin, and I sit back and say, "I can't believe we're doing this." The PGA of America has a terrific system in place, so it makes it easier for us, but there's a lot of hard work ahead and even though we're more than a year out, we're right into it. There are a lot of decisions to be made and plan ahead for. We enjoy it and we're getting more immersed in the responsibility of how big this job is.
There's nothing about it so far that has caught me off guard, but I do have to admit, the response from fans, players, family and friends has been amazing. It reminds me a little of when I won my 20th Tour event to gain a lifetime exemption.
Of course, I wanted to get to that level, but until you accomplish it, you don't realize what it means to others. Just like when I won No. 20, since I've become Ryder Cup captain, people are always congratulating me, players are excited and talking about how they're going to be real nice to me next year for a captain's pick.
It's stuff like that, that makes you realize how huge this is. I've been lucky enough to play on a bunch of Ryder Cup teams, but until now I guess I never realized just how big the Ryder Cup is. It's one of, if not the biggest sporting event in the world and I've been blown away by how excited people are about it.
The fact that I get to captain a team on home soil makes this whole thing even more special. It was always more exciting to play the Ryder Cup at home, because there was a little less pressure and you had that home-field advantage, so to speak. The guys played really well in Wales last year and fell one bounce short of winning. I think they'll be more confident at Medinah, because it's a course they know instead of one they haven't seen before.
Plus, Chicago sports fans are among the best in the world. They know how to support their teams and the excitement they bring will be a big part of the event.
With the Masters in the books, we finally have some point standings to look at. Four of the top-8 guys are former Ryder Cup players (Tiger Woods-1, Steve Stricker-4, Fred Couples-5 and Jim Furyk-8). I'm not surprised at all that Tiger is currently No. 1. If it weren't for a couple of lip-outs, he would have won the Masters. I fully expect him to be at the top of the list when the points close. I mean when you think about it, had he played a couple more events leading up to the last Ryder Cup he would have been high up there.
It's the same core group all the time, isn't it? Tiger, Phil Mickelson, Stricker and Furyk. They're your core guys and then you'll always have a few young guys. I'm confident we'll see that same core group this time around too.
I missed the cut at the Masters, but it was nice to be back at Augusta National after missing out a couple of years. As soon as it's over, you always want to get back. I'm little envious of those past champions who get to go back as many times as they'd like. I got in this year based on my tie for sixth at the U.S. Open last year. I'm looking forward to the U.S. Open and PGA Championship this summer to hopefully play well enough to get back in the Masters. It's a special, special place.
As for this week, Easter week, it's a big family week. I'm headed to Hilton Head right now for the Heritage, where luckily I've had some great success in the past (Editor's note: Love is a five-time winner of the event). It's definitely relaxing compared to Augusta. It's a great tournament on a great course with a great list of past champions. Since I've played well in the past, it's always a week I look forward to. I'm hoping this week provides some excitement and hopefully we're able to line up a new sponsor for the tournament. All the players love it on Hilton Head.