Davis Love III reveals format for Hazeltine matches
Ryder Cup USA Captain Davis Love III has revealed the format for the 2016 Matches at Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minn.
In a press conference ahead of the Memorial Tournament, Love said Foursomes (or, alternate shot) will be played each of the first two mornings, followed by Fourballs (or, better ball), before Sunday's 12 singles matches.
PGA.com caught up with Love after his presser for a Q&A where we learned the thinking that went into the order of play, touched on Jordan Spieth's recent "slump," and how he's urging players to take the necessary time to relax with such a jam-packed schedule of big-time events on the horizon.
PGA.com: You've laid out your plan for the order of play at the Ryder Cup. Pretty traditional for a U.S. Ryder Cup with Foursomes first, isn't it?
Love: Yeah. If you go back and look, that's usually our best format, alternate shot. We seem to do pretty well at that. I guess the other major reason is logistics. It makes the tournament flow better because Foursomes is a lot faster than Fourballs. Those Fourballs matches can be really slow and drag out. Since Foursomes move so quickly, guys can get some lunch before the afternoon matches and the captains have time to think about pairings instead of having to rush pairings while Fourballs matches are still finishing up. I think Foursomes first worked well for us at Medinah in 2012, so I wanted to stick with that
PGA.com: How about Jordan Spieth on Sunday at Colonial? What a short-game exhibition those last three holes.
Love: I think Jordan just busted out of the most overrated, overhyped slump in the history of golf. He had a couple of bad weeks and then rallies to win by three with three birdies on his last three holes in his hometown.
For all of us, Colonial is a big deal -- getting your name on the wall, he grew up watching that tournament. It was a big win for a lot of reasons. For a 22-year-old he's had a lot of big wins already, but this one is up there. It's a perfect course for him. It suits him well and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him win multiple times.
I also think it was sort of a big deal to get that win out of the way so soon after what happened at the Masters. I honestly do not believe that what happened at the Masters was a big deal to him. It was a big deal to a lot of people, but not so much to him or the people who are close to him. He was in a good place and focused on getting back to work. I didn't worry one minute about it.
But it is big. Now he proved he's moved on. He's got the mindset of sticking with his game plan and he'll have plenty of chances in all the big tournaments. One of the things that impresses me most about Jordan is that he doesn't talk about this year or next -- he talks long-term, 10-20 years from now. He's incredibly positive and focused.
PGA.com: Tell us about this week at Memorial. You've got Ryder Cup uniform fittings going on, right?
Love: Yes. We invited the top 25 on the points list and their caddies. It's a work in progress right now. That's enough for one week -- no need for team dinners or anything more.
What I'm doing now is startting on individuals and assistant captains. I've had two conversations with Dustin Johnson already. I've seen Jordan Spieth, I've talked to Rickie Fowler and Jim Furyk. I'm organizing practice rounds with Tom Lehman.
This week is about getting clothes fit and getting ready for a massively busy major and playoffs season before the Ryder Cup. Dustin is trying to figure out how to sneak in a U.S. Open practice round, so we're not going to bug him this week about getting up to Hazeltine.
Maybe we'll do something big and formal -- dinner-wise -- during the PGA and playoffs. Jordan is a lock, so we'll start with him. I'm good with Zach Johnson already. I just say, "who you want to play with?" to Zach. I had a good conversation with Bubba Watson this week too.
That's the good thing about a great field like this at Memorial -- I can talk bunch of guys.
PGA.com: You touched on that loaded schedule coming up. What's that going to be like, having the next three majors decided before we even hit August?
Love: It's going to be a lot of golf in a short period of time and then there's also the playoffs. I think we're going to be talking to guys about health, fitness and rest for not just the Ryder Cup, but the rest of the season.
Jordan is great at that. We're going to make sure we don't do too much. We want them thinking about time management. They need to be prepared for the big long push at the end of the year. The famous spring break for the boys -- Rickie, Jordan, Justin Thomas and Smylie Kaufman -- in the Bahamas. That's happening all around, but not promoted as much on social media. I just want to remind them we're here to help them with everything and that they need to be able to take time to recover.
PGA.com: Player-wise you're not pushing any Hazeltine trips just yet, but what about you and your vice captains?
Love: Tom Lehman's got a trip for 2-3 days where he's going for sure. I'm going Monday-Tuesday after U.S. Open. We're going and telling guys we're available to meet there if that's what they want. The ultimate would be to have 10 guys there at once there, but it's just not realistic with the schedule. Guys will do drive-bys. Phil Mickelson is good about that. He'll get there.
PGA.com: Matt Kuchar has been incredibly consistent of late racking up points and is currently up to 10th in the standings. Is he impressing you?
Love: Matt is playing a big stretch right now. He's planned ahead and took a lot of time off at the start of the year. He has a weird schedule sometimes. People can't figure it out, but it works for him. He builds his season around specific events. I'm close to him at home in Sea Island and see what he's doing all the time. I talked to him as well. He's cruising along and getting better and better.
PGA.com: Last thing, have you had much communication with Tiger Woods lately?
Love: He's a good texter. He gets back to me very quickly. I hope he can play soon.