Punch Shot: Love as '16 RC captain - good or bad call?


Davis Love III will be named the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reported Monday. Love was the losing 2012 U.S. captain and was selected by the U.S. Ryder Cup task force to lead the team next year at Hazeltine. Is this a good call or bad call? GolfChannel.com writers weigh in.


Davis Love III is the right choice as the American Ryder Cup captain if Fred Couples and Paul Azinger don’t want the job.

That doesn’t sound like it’s the case, though.

The real story here isn’t Love getting the job. It’s why he’s getting the job. It’s why he’s better qualified for whatever new vision the Ryder Cup task force is laying out for the future of the captaincy than are Couples and Azinger, who have both proven themselves formidably as winners in international team events.

If you’re seeking an answer to the American Ryder Cup woes, you start with Couples and Azinger. You have to dismiss them before moving on. There’s no getting around that. From the outside, it’s staggering that their proven methods, as wildly different as they are, weren’t deemed good enough. They’ve already figured out something nobody on that task force has figured out – how to captain a winning international team – and it’s curious how they’re deemed less suited to the Ryder Cup task than Love.

This new American Ryder Cup leadership model Love fits better than Couples and Azinger is the real story here, if the task force is actually constructing one. If there isn’t, “task force” was a colossal misnomer. If the “task force” isn’t creating a new team construct, then it was nothing more than a glorified selection committee.

To be clear, Love isn’t a bad choice here. He was a very good captain who put his team in position to win at Medinah in 2012. The question is why he’s better suited than two proven winners with proven methods.


The issue is not that the PGA of America selected Davis Love III for the 2016 captaincy. He’s wildly popular among the players, he put his team in position to win at Medinah, and he would have been hailed as a savior if not for Europe’s historic final-day rally.

The issue is how the PGA arrived at this decision.

Let’s start with the basic premise that the task force was overkill and a drastic overreaction to what happened at Gleneagles. For months we’ve heard from players and PGA officials that this 11-man group is a necessary step to ensure a bright future for this event. They talked this thing to death, looked from all angles at why the Americans have lost six of seven cups, and decided to recycle not just a past captain, but one who lost.

Fred Couples and Paul Azinger were the favorites for the job, but they declined invitations to the task force. That must have rubbed the group the wrong way, because Love had a prime seat at the table and was involved in the decision-making that led to him being named captain. Conflict of interest, no?

The 2016 Ryder Cup is still 19 months away, but it is clear that the overhyped task force already has a credibility issue.  


The definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result, so a retread captain like Davis Love III will receive plenty of critique. But while Love came up short at Medinah, his selection to lead the Americans at Hazeltine has plenty of merit.

If nothing else, Love’s selection eliminates what was reportedly one of the biggest issues among the 2014 Ryder Cup squad – the rapport between the captain and his 12 players. Love is held in high esteem among his PGA Tour colleagues, and the roster will certainly be motivated to atone for 2012, when he seemingly had one hand on the trophy.

The much-discussed task force didn’t exactly strike out into uncharted territory with this pick, but it did begin to turn the tide from the low reached last fall under Tom Watson’s watch. And just think, if any one in a series of events had broken in the Americans’ favor on that final day at Medinah, Love might have been viewed as a consensus choice without the need for a selection committee.