Jack Nicklaus hosts exclusive Ryder Cup dinner
U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III wasn't kidding when he said his goal was to start team building early this year.
On Thursday evening at the North Palm Beach, Fla., home of Jack and Barbara Nicklaus, Love and 22 potential U.S. Ryder Cup players gathered for a dinner.
"Jack and Barbara were incredibly gracious, opening their home to myself, our Vice Captains and many potential U.S. Ryder Cup players," Love said. "What a wealth of knowledge and perspective from an icon, both on and off the golf course."
Nicklaus, the winningest major champion of all time with 18 total and a two-time Ryder Cup captain in his own right, is just as eager to see the U.S. try and win its first Ryder Cup since 2008 at Valhalla later this year at Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minn.
Thursday's gathering was easy for a lot of players as the PGA Tour is playing the Honda Classic this week at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens.
Here is the complete list of players who attended Thursday's dinner with their respective Ryder Cup points standing in parentheses:
Zac Blair (35), Keegan Bradley (42), Jason Dufner (12), Tony Finau (29), Rickie Fowler (6), Brian Harman (37), Russell Henley (27), Billy Horschel (24), John Huh (34), Dustin Johnson (2), Chris Kirk (39), Kevin Kisner (11), Brooks Koepka (9), Jason Kokrak (23), Jamie Lovemark (30), Andrew Loupe (40), Ben Martin (31), Phil Mickelson (7), Brendan Steele (41), Robert Streb (20), Jimmy Walker (18) and Gary Woodland (19).
Also in attendance were Vice Captains Jim Furyk, Tom Lehman and Tiger Woods, as well as PGA Ryder Cup Committee Member Pete Bevacqua.
In recent years, the first meeting of potential U.S. Ryder Cup team members hasn't come until early June at the Memorial for uniform fittings, making Thursday's shindig unique.
Since the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine in Chaska, Minn., will be played in an Olympic year (with golf included in the Games for the first time since 1904), there have been some adjustments made to the qualifying calendar for the U.S. Ryder Cup team:
- Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016: The top eight will be finalized at the conclusion of The Barclays, which is scheduled to finish on this date, as opposed to the traditional closing of points at the conclusion of the PGA Championship, which will be played in July instead of August in 2016 due to the Olympics. It also affords players an additional two weeks from past years to earn a spot on points.
- Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016: Love will select three of his four Captain's Picks at the conclusion of the BMW Championship, scheduled to end on this day.
- Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016: Love will make his fourth and final Captain's Pick at the conclusion of the Tour Championship, scheduled to end on this day.