HONOLULU – Davis Love III didn’t have much success against Jose Maria Olazabal as a player in the Ryder Cup. Now he gets to see how he fares against the Spaniard as a captain.
Two officials involved with the selection process confirm Love will be the next U.S. captain. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the official announcement was not until Thursday at Medinah, where the 2012 matches will be played.
GolfChannel.com first reported on Dec. 16 that Love would be named U.S. captain.
Reports out of Europe indicate Olazabal of Spain will be introduced as captain Tuesday at the Abu Dhabi Championship.
Love played on six Ryder Cup teams, winning the pivotal point at The Belfry in 1993. He played on only one other winning team, the great American comeback in 1999 at Brookline. His career record was 9-12-5.
Love was a vice captain in October when Europe won back the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.
“The only thing I learned on the outside, instead of playing, is we cared too much,” Love said in an interview over the weekend. “We try too hard. I’ve talked to a couple of players about how we can treat this like another tournament. But it’s hard. It’s the same thing at the Masters and U.S. Open. How do we figure out how to treat it like another tournament and be more prepared to just play golf?”
Love has known all along he eventually would be a Ryder Cup captain, and he joked about trying to do it the same year as Darren Clarke. But he has some history with Olazabal, one of the most respected figures in golf.
Love faced Olazabal in his very first Ryder Cup match in 1993. He teamed with Tom Kite for a 2-and-1 victory over Olazabal and Seve Ballesteros, the most successful European team ever. That was his only win, though. Olazabal won the other four times they played in team matches at The Belfry and at Valderrama in 1997.
Love, whose lone major was the 1997 PGA Championship, has 20 wins on the PGA Tour, trailing only Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh among players from his generation.
“He’ll be a great captain,” Steve Stricker said. “He’s played on a ton of these teams, and I remember when he had that deciding point. He’s still out here playing and he’s involved with all the guys.”
Love began his 2011 season at the Sony Open, where he shot in the 60s all four rounds and tied for ninth. He said he already had contemplated how he would juggle playing golf with Ryder Cup captain duties, not to mention his role running the McGladrey Classic in the Fall Series that is played in his Sea Island community.
He also said he had spoken to past captain Corey Pavin about how much time was required to promote the event.
“This year will be easy,” Love said. “There’s not a lot to do except to make Freddie’s Presidents Cup team.”
Love has not played in any cup since the 2005 Presidents Cup. Fred Couples returns as U.S. captain for this year’s event in Australia.