Davis Love III is suddenly the most consequential man in American golf, the kingmaker on a U.S. Ryder Cup team that has spent most of the 21st century watching the Europeans celebrate in new and interesting ways.
Who can forget such flourishes as the Sergio Sprint (The Belfry, 2002), the Woosie Champagne Gargle and Sniff (The K Club, 2006) and the McIlroy-McDowell Awkward High Five (Celtic Manor, 2010)? Love is facing more than a decade of Euro mojo.
Starting on Sept. 4, when he makes his four captain’s selections to the U.S. team, the public will learn more about Love than it has in any of his 20 PGA Tour victories.
It will learn how his mind works, what his biases and fears are, and where he stands in the arc of his own career. To serve as a Ryder Cup captain is to bare your soul to the masses.
The most fascinating part of the captainship is seeing a player – an individual for most of his golfing life – suddenly thrust into the role of a molder of men. At Valderama in 1997, Seve Ballesteros captained in the same way he played – wildly and with flair to spare. He drove his golf cart like Jeff Gordon, making hairpin turns along the course and arriving to matches at the most crucial moments. He was so prevalent you would have sworn Seve hit a few bunker shots.
“I’m a sportsman, just like y’all,” Sutton announced. “I want to see this.”
Woods and Mickelson, never the best of friends, were cooked before they got to the first tee.
In 1995, Ben Crenshaw won an emotional Masters inspired by the death of his mentor, Harvey Penick, and had just enough magic left to fuel an improbable American comeback at Brookline four years later.
Corey Pavin, in 2010, might have been undone by the most famous wardrobe malfunction since Janet Jackson.
Which brings us to Love. What kind of captain will he be? The first hint will come when he adds four players to a team that includes Woods, Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson.
As an active player, Love shares much in common with Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker, two 40somethings who are still grinding after all these years. To leave Stricker and Furyk off this team – his team – would be the acceptance of his own golfing mortality.
After that, it gets more complicated, with a list of players in their 20s and 30s that have many big days in golf ahead of them. After making his picks, he will make a smart and reasoned defense of them.
Much of Love’s career has been spent on the safe side of the street. He has long been one of the faces of Polo. His beautiful golf swing can be viewed in the video log of a thousand golf instructors. He won a PGA Championship and two Players Championships.
If it feels like he’s been around forever, it’s because he has. But starting in September, he gets an earpiece, a walkie-talkie and a fast cart. It’s going to be fun getting to know Davis Love III.
On Wednesday at Sea Island Resort Davis Love III hypothetically referred to David Toms as the next U.S. Ryder Cup captain and a reporter playfully pressed him, “Did you just confirm David Toms is the ... Read More
Sunday night at last month’s Ryder Cup was already going to be difficult for the American team, which lost the largest lead on home soil in match history, and having the two squads mix in a post-game ... Read More
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