Love still dealing with Ryder Cup loss

By Rex HoggardOctober 17, 2012, 7:13 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – In the 17 days since the U.S. Ryder Cup team blew the largest lead on home soil, Davis Love III has tried to fill every waking moment with distractions.

There have been tournaments – Love is making his third start since Medinah this week at the McGladrey Classic, is scheduled to play in the season-ending stop at Disney World and has three “silly season” starts on his calendar – and hosting duties (McGladrey), paddle boarding (an early Wednesday session off East Beach) and Policy Board duties (Monday’s meeting was his last as a player director).

Some would call this busy work, but on Wednesday at Sea Island Resort Captain America seemed to be coming to the realization that he was just postponing the inevitable. Bidding time until the quiet moments caught up with him and the doubts began dropping like so many European putts on that September Sunday in Chicago.

“Still not sleeping well,” he admitted when asked if the second-guessing had subsided or just started.

From his captain’s picks to his Sunday pairings Love has heard all the Monday morning quarterbacking, all the doubts, all the instant analysis that can make one of the most enjoyable jobs in golf seem ruthlessly thankless.

So in retrospect where, in Love’s opinion, would he have taken a Medinah mulligan?

“You sit there and go if I'd have just put the pin left on 17 on Sunday rather than right, would that have made a difference?” Love allowed.

That’s right, pin positions, of all things. Macro meet micro.

“If I could do something over again, it would be more getting guys thinking about Sunday’s singles and maybe the pins needed to be easier or harder,” Love said.

As for his pairings or captain’s picks Love leaves that to the pundits and revisionist.

For those who suggest that Love should have pressed harder for Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson, who were undefeated in team play, to play Saturday’s afternoon fourball session he points out that those were the same people who questioned sending the American duo out early on Sunday.

Or that those who questioned the wisdom of sending Tiger Woods out last on Sunday are some of the same critics who blasted Love’s decision to sit Woods for Saturday’s foursomes session.

For Love the second-guessing is more esoteric and personal. For a captain that didn’t leave a single detail overlooked it is now the details that haunt him when the distractions subside.

“Maybe I should have had (sports psychologist) Bob Rotella there . . . had him sitting there,” Love said. “Maybe I needed him in the locker room, OK; we're four (points) ahead. What do I do now?”

In Love’s defense he was playing without a script at Medinah. An American team hadn’t headed into Sunday’s singles with such a commanding lead (four points) since 1981(10 ½-5 ½) and there is no “prevent defense” in the captain’s playbook.

Midway through Ryder Cup week Love realized he needed to play the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, and last week’s Open and any other event that would allow him to hide in the moment and avoid micro-analysis.

But it was only a momentary reprieve. For those who know him the type “A” personality that made him such a good fit as captain now precludes him from moving on, at least entirely.

As for the critical analysis from the media masses and beyond Love knew coming in it was part of the gig, like custom golf carts and walkie-talkies.

“I signed up for that,” Love said. “We thought (1997 captain Tom) Kite was one of the best captains we'd ever played for and he just got hammered for the way he did everything. Tiger and Justin (Leonard) and I played bad, didn't get any points. So it was all Tom's fault. So I understand that.”

But then dealing with external doubt was never going to be a problem for Love, he’s been to enough Atlantic Coast Conference football games to know it is the nature of leadership. Dealing with the internal demons, well that’s something else. If the devil is in the details it is more than a little ironic that Love always comes back to the big picture.

“I wouldn’t change anything about the week except a point (the European margin of victory),” he said.

Even more telling, however, was Love’s reaction when asked if he would take the job again.

“I don’t know,” he sighed. “I don't think we could put any more into it than we did, other than a couple putts lipping out for them and a couple putts lipping in for us and we'd have won.”

With that he was off to play Wednesday’s pro-am at Sea Island. For five hours he could concentrate on his own putting, and that’s a start.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm