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Love hosts dinner for Ryder Cup hopefuls

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KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Davis Love III took off his player’s cap and put on his Ryder Cup cap after Thursday’s first round of the PGA Championship.

Figuratively speaking.

After posting an even-par 72, Love hustled off Kiawah Island's Ocean Course to host a Ryder Cup dinner for the top 20 players on the American points list at The Sanctuary Hotel. The top eight after the conclusion of the PGA Championship automatically qualify for the team. Love will announce his four captain’s picks on Sept. 4, after the Deutsche Bank Championship.

It’s an awkward week for Love, who wants Ryder Cup hopefuls focused on playing their best this week but knows his very presence can heighten pressure on players.

If Phil Mickelson were feeling any extra pressure to make the team on points, he couldn’t help but be reminded Thursday that he is on the bubble at No. 8 on the American points list. Paired with Love, Mickelson was outplayed by the American Ryder Cup captain, as Love’s 72 was a shot better than Mickelson's 73.

“We talked about playing together yesterday, so we would get that out of the way,” Love said. “I told Phil not to grind. Phil and I have been playing a long time. There’s not much awkward left for us.

“He is trying to make the team, because he doesn’t want to have to be picked. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to make the cut, or to win, that’s thinking about results. I told him just to go play this tournament and not worry about things.”

They will be paired again Friday.