USA Captain Davis Love III recalls 1999 Ryder Cup
Ryder Cup USA Captain Davis Love III is hoping to lead his team to its first victory in the matches since 2008 when the 2016 Ryder Cup tees off at Hazeltine National next Friday.
In an effort to pump his team up, it might be wise for Love to show them the latest episode of his "American Captain presented by Mercedes-Benz" series.
In this installment, Love described what it was like to be a member of the 1999 Ryder Cup USA team, which pulled off a historic final-day comeback in those matches at the Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
After making easy work of Frenchman Jean Van de Velde in singles, Love's work for the day was far from over.
"When I finished my match, one of the assistant captains came up to me and said, 'Ben (Crenshaw, the U.S. Captain) wants you to go watch Justin [Leonard]. He's not playing well. He's 4 down and he's in the rough again,'" Love recalled. "It looked like he was going to lose another hole. I just started trying to give him a little pep talk. I tried to get him to laugh and get him going, because he was almost in tears. He was getting beat badly. I started walking with him, trying to pep him up and it was a tough task to send someone out to cheer up a guy that was 4 down.
"I kept telling him, 'Win a hole. He's going to give you a hole. He's due to hook one. Look how low he's teeing the ball.' I was trying to tell him anything to give him some confidence," Love said. "Then, all of the sudden, he did win a hole. And then Olazabal did give him a hole. And then he made a putt. And then he birdied 14. Then, all of the sudden, his eyes were getting real big and he was starting to believe that he could win."
On the 17th hole, it looked like Leonard hit a nice approach with a wedge into the green, but it spun back down to the front of the green, settling 45 feet from the hole.
"I was walking every step with Justin," Love said. "When he hit the wedge into 17 and it spun back down, we were all a little deflated, but felt like maybe he still had a chance. I'm walking up the right side near the green and Michael Jordan is standing under a tree inside the ropes. I walked up and I looked at him and I went, 'I'm too nervous to talk to you,' so I just walked away."
Moments later, Leonard holed the putt assuring the U.S. its first Ryder Cup victory since 1993.
"My most favorite Ryder Cup moment was probably watching that putt go in on 17," Love said.
You can check out the entire episode here: