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THE RYDER CUP ANNOUNCEMENT
February 24, 2015
JULIUS MASON:¬† Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.¬† I'm The PGA of America's Julius Mason and I'd like to welcome you to PGA of America headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, for the 2016 United States Ryder Cup Captain announcement.
We have some very special guests in attendance with us today that I'd like to introduce to you, beginning with members of the United States Ryder Cup task force on stage, including Tom Lehman, Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, PGA president Derek Sprague, PGA CEO Pete Bevacqua and PGA Vice President, Paul Levy.
Also joining us in attendance in the audience from the South Florida PGA Section Executive Director Geoff Lofstead; PGA past president Mickey Powell, from right across the street, our good friend and neighbor, the Executive Director of The Honda Classic, Ken Kennerly; representing NBC Sports and Golf Channel, our domestic television partners, the producer responsible for delivering The Ryder Cup to millions of eyes around the world, Tommy Roy; and from Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, site of the 41st Ryder Cup, general chair, Patrick Hunt.
And now, all the way from Malone Golf Club in Malone, New York, the president of PGA of America and co‑chair of the task force Derek Sprague.
DEREK SPRAGUE:¬† Thanks, Julius.¬† Welcome to PGA of America headquarters where it's about 85 degrees warmer than my hometown.¬† So I'm glad to be here this week, as well and thanks to all of you for joining us here today.
There certainly has been a lot of Ryder Cup talk over the last several months, both inside the building and outside the building, and I can't tell you how pleased I am to finally be able to share the exciting news today about the findings of The Ryder Cup task force.
As we saw last year in Scotland, The Ryder Cup continues to evolve as the most unique and captivating event in all of golf.¬† Last October during the week of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, we announced the formation of a Ryder Cup Task Force, which was created to examine the entire Ryder Cup process.¬† This 11‑member group looked at everything Ryder Cup, from identifying the next Ryder Cup Captain and discussing the vice captain strategy, to Team USA's selection process and creating The PGA of America Ryder Cup Committee to help guide us and deliver continuity moving forward.
Let me say that I was very impressed with the way this group approached their assignment.¬† The experience and enthusiasm they brought to the table convinces me that the future is very bright for Team USA.
What transpired over a number of phone calls, next messages and meetings ultimately delivered a new process that we believe most effectively positions Team USA for success in 2016, and in future Ryder Cups.¬† We will address that process with you in just a few moments.
But let's not forget who we are up against.¬† The European Team is strong and will continue to be a formidable opponent.¬† But our main objective obviously was to choose a Ryder Cup Captain who will best prepare our team to compete and win.¬† A captain with Ryder Cup experience, who is passionate about the matches, respected by his players and is selfless in his approach.¬† Someone who is a terrific motivator, a natural leader, and who will have Team USA prepared for Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota in 2016.
On behalf of The Ryder Cup Task Force and the PGA of America, it is my pleasure to introduce you to the captain of the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup Team, Davis Love III.¬† (Applause).
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† Thanks, Derek.¬† It's an honor to be here not only as a member of The PGA of America, but the U.S. Ryder Cup family.
I'm here with the same goal I had in 2012 but not as the same captain.¬† The task force has been an open, honest team‑building experience; the collaborative effort of so many veterans of the Ryder Cup is a result of the passion and commitment to build a team structure that will lay the groundwork for future teams.
It's a new business model, a new team building model that comes from being given an opportunity by The PGA of America to come together and use all of our veteran experience to build a new team culture and consistent plan for the future.
Why the shift now, and not after 2010 or 2012?¬† Simply, we want to win.¬† What we created is a new process for continuity and teamwork which will prepare us for many years of success.
So 2016 will be a collaborative effort of many individuals from the task force, past Ryder Cup Captains, veteran players of The Ryder Cup to create the best environment for our team to be totally prepared to compete at Hazeltine National.
And speaking of past Ryder Cup Captains, I have spoken to many of them and I can't tell you how happy I was to hear how involved they want to be.¬† Whether it's directly or indirectly, they will be a big part of our team's success.
I was honored to be asked to serve on the task force.¬† I believe the PGA knows and understands my love and passion for The Ryder Cup.¬† I could not be more excited to captain the 2016 team.
But I agreed to do it for one reason:¬† The members of the task force, to a man, have said they will do whatever it takes for this team to be successful.¬† They are all in.¬† Our team will trust each other and we will have a shared vision.
With that, to move forward with this new plan, I will need people around me that have a tremendous amount of experience, people who I will lean on to help me make good decisions forward to put our team in position for success; people who are leaders in their own right and have the respect of the players, people with a strong will and a servant hard.
So today I'm extremely excited to announce one of our advice at that point ins and extremely excited because when I asked, he said yes.¬† Minnesota's own Tom Lehman has been a voice of reason and passion on the task force, the PGA TOUR Board, as a Ryder Cup Captain, and as a Ryder Cup vice captain, and he assured me, he could get the team Minnesota wild tickets, as well.
So Tom, thank you for agreeing to be a big part of this team and for sharing this ride with me.
And finally, I look forward to competing against my good friend, Darren Clarke.¬† We always had great respect for each other.¬† I know he will bring a strong team to Hazeltine.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† And, in fact, when I was assistant captain for Corey Pavin in Wales, we were standing in the middle of 1 fairway and we were leaning up against the golf cart.¬† He said, "If the PGA of America asks you to be captain," he said, "don't take it until I'm captain because I want to go up against you."
Unfortunately Darren is going to get his wish.¬† I look forward to competing against him and it will be a lot of fun.
JULIUS MASON:¬† Davis, thank you very much.¬† Tom, congratulations.¬† Some thoughts on your new appointment, please.
TOM LEHMAN:¬† First of all, I'm thrilled for Davis.¬† Davis was a great captain and will continue to be a great captain and it will be an hand or to serve with him on this 2016 team.
On a personal level, being from Minnesota‑‑ Alexandria, Minnesota to be able to go back home and be a part of this Ryder Cup Team, it will be a thrill beyond all thrills.¬† I'm honored to be able to do that, to go back home to Minnesota and be a part of this.¬† Professionally; Davis said it all, just this new process, this new era of a Ryder Cup family, bringing everybody in.¬† I'm so excited to be a part of this team for that reason, to help build the team and be part of the process of building a team that has a chance to succeed in 2016.
So I'm excited, I'm honored AND thrilled and looking forward to watching Davis do his thing.
JULIUS MASON:¬† I'd like to ask The PGA of America CEO and Ryder Cup Task Force co‑chair Pete Bevacqua to provide a little more insight on some of the discussions happening.
PETE BEVACQUA:¬† Thanks, Julius.¬† And first off, Davis and Tom, congratulations.¬† It's an exciting day, an exciting moment for The PGA of America and for The Ryder Cup.
And quite frankly a lot of people asked, why a task force, what was the purpose of this, what was it trying to achieve, and I think it's fairly obvious.¬† We took a step back and said, you know, over the last 20 years, a 2‑8 record, something should be done differently, something's broken, we can do something better.
So let's go out and let's bring some of the very best players in the world into the picture.¬† Let's go ask some of the past captains to help figure this out and what can we do as an organization to start a program, build a program, build a process to increase Team USA's chances of success.
That was the ultimate goal, and I would tell you, as someone who has been involved in golf at an executive level for about 15 years, this was one of the highlights of my professional career, being in these meetings, seeing the level of emotion and passion and enthusiasm from Davis, from Tom, from Rickie and Phil and the other members of the task force, just an amazing experience.
We think we have some substantive changes and I'll touch on a few of those.¬†
First off, the vice captains and the idea of vice captains.¬† Obviously Tom was named today by Davis.¬† Going forward there will be four vice captains, two each vice captains will be past Ryder Cup Captains, and two will be players with extensive Ryder Cup experience.¬† We think that will help with consistency and the development of this program and this process.
And we took a long, hard look and took a deep dive on the points and how one becomes a member of The Ryder Cup Team and how the captain's picks work and we made some changes.
I will go over those pretty briefly, but first and foremost in, terms of points, it will start next week and it will include the 2015 World Golf Championships, all four of those events, and THE PLAYERS Championship.¬† And players will earn one point for every $2,000 that they earn for those events in 2015.¬† In terms of the 2015 major championships, players will earn one point for every $1,000.
And then as we approach 2016, starting in January of 2016, going through August 28 of 2016, all PGA TOUR stand‑alone sanctioned events, players will earn one point for every $1,000 earned, and then in terms of the major championships in 2016, players will earn two points for every $1,000 earned.¬† We think this is a good change.
And then as I mentioned, we did take a deep dive in terms of the captain's picks, and the ultimate goal is how could we, what could we do, how could we ensure that the very best team is fielded, the players that are on the top of their game as close to The Ryder Cup as possible.
And also bear in mind that 2016 is a different year for golf.¬† Golf is back in the Olympics after a hundred‑year absence.¬† Our very own PGA Championship will end in July, as opposed to Augusta.¬† So we felt changes needed to be made.
So instead of finishing after the PGA Championship, the top eight from The Ryder Cup points list will now qualify following The Barclays on Sunday August 28.¬† That's roughly a two‑week extension from what was the norm.
After the BMW Championship, which is set to conclude on September 12, Davis will make three of his four captain's picks.¬† And then finally, on Sunday evening September 25, upon the conclusion of THE TOUR Championship, Davis will make his final captain's pick.
So we think that's a substantive that change will allow the best team possible to be fielded by our captain, Davis Love.
As Derek mentioned, as Davis mentioned, as Tom mentioned, as well, the task force, the whole process was really open.¬† It was collaborative.¬† It was enthusiastic, but it did its job and we feel it's now time to move off of the task force and create and really develop into what we are calling The PGA of America Ryder Cup Committee.
And the goal is to keep the spirit alive of the task force, that spirit of collaboration, that great input from the great players of our time, that great input from our past captains, to keep us and allow us to continue to build this program.
But also realizing that it's tough to get 11 people together; so we have developed a six‑person PGA Ryder Cup committee and then the first group, that will explore everything from future captains, future vice captains, captain's picks, points system, all elements of The Ryder Cup and be a resource for not only Davis but captains of the future, that will be six people, and the first six people to serve on The Ryder Cup Committee will be, Davis Love, obviously a pretty clear choice.
And then we're fortunate enough that both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have agreed to serve on the PGA Ryder Cup committee.¬† And then from The PGA of America perspective, it will be our president, Derek Sprague, vice president, Paul Levy, and then me in my role as CEO.
So we think again, this will keep the work of the task force alive well into the future.
Thank you, Julius.
JULIUS MASON:¬† Before we go to Q&A, like to get some comments from the task force member about the captain and the new process, so let's begin with Paul Levy.
PAUL LEVY:¬† The word collaborative, I think that is the key word.¬† It's been great working with the members of the task force and as I've spoke to a lot of our PGA members around the country they are excited to see a new day for the PGA, taking the approach we have with The Ryder Cup.
It is obviously one of our most precious assets and we look forward, along with sports fans from around the world, making sure that this new process will keep it the most exciting event in golf and we are really excited about going to Hazeltine in 2016 and supporting the team.
RICKIE FOWLER:¬† It's actually been probably one much my biggest honors as a professional golfer, just to be a part of this task force, be in the room with the whole crew and get to go back and forth on The Ryder Cup, how we can make it better and really come out at the end of the day with Davis being our captain, really feeling like we had an impact and that voice moving forward, and we will have that voice continuing through the next year and a half, and leading into The Ryder Cup.
So it's awesome, looking forward to it.
JULIUS MASON:¬† Tom, any thoughts on the process maybe you didn't share earlier?
TOM LEHMAN:¬† One thing I would say, one word that would probably spell out what I observed being a part of this whole process and task force is commitment.¬† To a person, whether it would be Tiger Woods or Pete or Paul or Derek or Phil or Rickie or even some of the guys that Davis has talked to, Freddie and Azinger and those guys; to a person, the words have been the same:¬† I'll do whatever it takes for this team to be successful.
So I just look at the task force's job and what it did, was it created a process and an availability for guys to buy in.¬† So what I see coming out of this is a desire to do whatever it takes to be successful and I believe in it.
JULIUS MASON:¬† Phil, some thoughts, please.
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† Well, this has been such a fun experience for all of us because we're all so passionate about The Ryder Cup.¬† And for the many years that we have all competed, we really haven't had the opportunity to voice our opinion and have it be heard.
It was very interesting for me to hear such great insight from so many players, like past players like Ray Floyd, hear their thoughts, as well as young players like Rickie Fowler what they saw on how they view The Ryder Cup.¬† To get everybody together, to have an opportunity to have a voice and be heard and to actually make an impact and have a difference; it's exciting for everybody here.
It's really a positive step and as we look long‑term over the next ten Ryder Cups, over the next two decades, I think it's exciting, what we are trying to lay down here this upcoming Ryder Cup and the input that is being taken in by Davis by all different parties, and implemented as kind of a blueprint or foundation for the upcoming multiple Ryder Cups, not just this next one, is exciting for the generations to follow.
Q.¬† For Davis, Rickie, Phil or Tom.¬† How do you go from being in a room and discussing who should be the next captain to saying, well, the next captain is in this room with us.
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† I'll take that Davis.¬† It was not Davis's idea at all to be captain (laughter).
He felt like he was taking somebody's spot.¬† He felt like it wasn't his place to do that.¬† But, Karen, when you look at big picture, if you look at like 2016, there are a number of people that could be great captains that could help lead us to hopefully a successful week, whether it's Fred Couples and Paul Azinger, the names that were being thrown out to other players like Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker and a few others that were even discussed.
But when you look at big picture over the next ten Ryder Cups and trying to build a platform and a blueprint to follow and have continuity from year‑to‑year, you want to have somebody that has experience.¬† You want to have somebody that can look back on past things that have been done well and things that could be improved upon, which Davis in 2012 did a lot of great things right; and he did some things that he would like to do differently, and he has something to work off of, rather than bring somebody in for the first time that is starting from an open campus.
So that made us want to have somebody with past experience, and when you look at the way Davis has always throughout his career been able to, as a policy board member for the PGA TOUR take input from so many different viewpoints, put it all together and create some great decisions from that, he was a perfect fit for what we wanted in that we have input coming from all different areas and he's a great guy to integrate all that information.
He's a guy that people love and respect, and he's a guy that already has done a great job and put us in a position to succeed, even though we didn't do it.¬† And ultimately, the goal is to put players in a position to succeeded as opposed to create obstacles for them to overcome.
Davis has put us into position to succeed and we are looking forward to not just 2016 and his captaincy but really laying a foundation and a blueprint for the years to follow of continuity and success.
Q.¬† Phil and Davis both, a couple times you mentioned about the importance of having a voice, which would make clear you didn't really have one before.¬† How big would you say was the disconnect getting between players and organization?
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† I don't think that we have to make massive changes.¬† We have to make some small changes that add up to half a point here or half a point there.
But we do need‑‑ I said family earlier.¬† We need to include as many people as we can that have Ryder Cup experience.¬† I think one of the mistakes I made, and as I said earlier, I talked to almost all my former captains, a lot of other captains, and I stressed to them that I was going to lean on them more this time because I made a mistake.
I did not sit down with Tom Kite and have him tell me everything he knew about The Ryder Cup.¬† I think that's the biggest thing.¬† Like Phil said, we are trying to build a future here and using past captains experience I think is going to be‑‑ and past players experience, is going to be a big part of this new culture we are going to have.
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† It doesn't really matter what's in the past.¬† Now we are moving forward and we're all working together with interesting and different insights and really working together as a unit and laying the foundation for hopefully a successful run of ten Ryder Cups, as opposed to just looking at the very next one or the one after that in a very small picture.
I think that it's exciting for all of us, because we are getting different input from different generations.
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† I think small changes that we can make, our practice time preparation, I think that's one thing we all as a group realize that maybe sometimes we're not quite as prepared on Friday morning as we would be at The Honda Classic or at the PGA Championship.¬† We don't control the week.
I think every week we go out to play, we make every decision.¬† We control our own schedule.¬† Phil knows when he's going to play a practice round with Rickie and who they are going to play against and where he wants to go to dinner. ¬†I think giving the players a little bit more time to prepare from Monday to Friday is a big part of it.
Just little things add up.¬† I think one of the comments that we came out of the first meeting with is, we are going to leave no stone unturned.¬† We are going to look at every aspect of The Ryder Cup.¬† That process is still going to continue with this committee with, Tom and I as the leaders of this bid for 2016 starting off.¬† We are going to look at every little thing and try to make each little piece of it better.
Tom Kite told me some great things yesterday.¬† Tom Watson told me some great things last night.¬† Every little bit that we can add up together and make just a little change here or there, now we have a voice.¬† Pete and Derek and Paul have given us the opportunity to gather information and then implement it.
I was shocked at the whole process, really.¬† When we went into that first meeting, the level of openness and commitment and willingness to listen and change, there was an agenda that Julius wrote down but there was not an agenda that they wanted to accomplish.¬† They wanted to win The Ryder Cup and have our input, and as Phil said, it was an incredible process‑‑ Rickie; I was just honored to be in the room with these guys, much less have the outcome that we had.
Q.¬† How much do you look at the European model in your dealings on the task force and I know you want to stamp your own fingerprint, but how much do you look at what Paul McGinley did at Gleneagles and how impressed were you with the way Paul went about things?
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† We are certainly going to look at winning teams, in any sport.¬† I think what it boils down to, the short answer is, just like what I just gave, the players had input.
The players are helping their organization make decisions, and The PGA of America realized that they had a wealth of information out there, not only from current players, like Tiger and Phil and Stricker and Rickie, the future, but also past captains that they were not taking advantage of. ¬†Now they have given us that voice.
As I said, I sat on golf carts with Darren Clarke and Thomas Bj√∂rn and watched them operate, and we learn from that.¬† Paul was a great leader, a great captain and he had a great team behind him.
I think that's what we've organized now is Derek and Pete have given us that opportunity to all have a voice.¬† When you listen to Phil Mickelson talk tore Tiger Woods or Steve Stricker, they have input and they have passion and they have commitment; it's going to get nothing but better.
We just want that to pass down to our players and we want players who want to make this team because it is going to be a few beginning, and they are going to have a voice but they are also going to have better leadership when they get to Hazeltine.
Q.¬† How does the change in the selection, the points, how does that change the dynamic of how those eight automatic berths are going to be decided?¬† What was the reason behind changing from just straight money to correlating them with points and how do you see that perhaps changing the dynamic of who gets selected?
PETE BEVACQUA:¬† I would say in terms of the conversations, and the task force spent a lot of time on that.¬† It was what were the strongest, deepest fields year‑in, year‑out and combining that with the most current field and weighing the points in a way where contemporary and I current factors into it heavily.
So adding in the World Golf Championships, THE PLAYERS Championship and the year prior, obviously retaining the major championships, and then in 2016, making some adjustments; quite frankly, to make sure of that strong field events are heavily weighted towards making The Ryder Cup Team.¬† And then coupling that with the captain's picks.¬† Obviously, certainly putting Davis in a position where he can take the time he needs to make sure that the best team in his upon fielded is a possibility.
Q.¬† Why the switch from just strict money that Azinger had installed to counting them as points?
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† I'll take that.¬† Because it was very confusing when the TOUR, after having players play major championships, the PGA, the World Golf Championships and the FedExCup, who then played nine out of 11 weeks, let's say, then stopped, the Tour's next season starts a week later.
If you count money for those last three or four months, you're giving the bottom half of the TOUR a three‑month head start over ultimately the top guys.
So you wanted to start that money in 2015 but the Money List on the PGA TOUR list starts in September or October.¬† So it was getting confusing.¬† That's why we ended up with the points system of points per $1,000 or $2,000 made.
Q.¬† One other thing about the committee you formed with Phil and Tiger and so forth.¬† Will that committee be part of the process through The Ryder Cup next year or up to The Ryder Cup?
PETE BEVACQUA:¬† We really feel that the concept of The Ryder Cup Committee should exist going forward, period.¬† This isn't something that you can figure out just from a task force and then you have the magic formula because it constantly has to change.¬† We should be looking at things every time that committee meets.¬† We should be looking at the calendar.¬† We should be looking at what we can do to improve.
It's not a once‑and‑done format.¬† The real purpose of that committee, as I mentioned, is to take the energy of the task force, and quite frankly, that spirit of collaboration and make sure that continues.¬† This wasn't just from a The PGA of America's perspective, inviting the players and the past captains in on a couple of occasions and then ending it.
We wanted to make sure, and I know everybody on the task force agrees that that has to continue, because it's an evolution.¬† It's not something that you get once right and then you kind of have the secret formula.¬† That continues.¬† It will change from 2016 to 2018, 2018 to 2020.¬† You always need to revise.¬† You always need to be on top of it.¬† You always need to be ready to call audibles, so you are as prepared as possible.
Q.¬† For Phil, when you made your comments on Sunday night at Gleneagles, is this ultimately, this outcome here today here what you were hoping for?
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† I wasn't thinking that at the time but I'm excited about where we are now and I'm excited about where we are headed, the direction we are headed, not just into 2016 but really for the next ten or 20 years.
I'm excited about the next generation of players, Rickie and Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed and guys that are going to be on the upcoming teams that will have input in who their captain; how it's captained, who the vice captains are and the entire process I think will be a very positive experience for all the players and very exciting opportunity over the next ten Ryder Cups to hopefully improve on the record that we have been limping home with.
Q.¬† The NCAA has been using match‑play now for a few years in the National Championships and you're starting to get those young players out here.¬† Do you think that's going to translate into more success in match‑play format in The Ryder Cup?
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† I certainly hope so.¬† We don't play a lot of match play.¬† We don't play nearly enough of it.¬† I think both teams play an equal amount.¬† I certainly think back a long time ago in the Walker Cup and The Ryder Cup, you could make a case that they played more of it, but I think it's pretty equal now.
One thing Phil is good at is organizing matches, so we are trying to play a lot more matches (laughter) and have hopefully some competitions up at Hazeltine.¬† Yeah, we need to get better at it.¬† That's one of the ten or 20 nuggets I've gathered from past captains in the last few days is you guys need practice playing match play, playing alternate‑shot, before you get there.¬† Don't try to do it all in the last couple days.¬† So that was very good advice.
Q.¬† What's the biggest lesson you took from Medinah?
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† The biggest lesson, and again, I expressed that to five of the six of my former captains in the last few days, Corey Pavin and some other captains, that I didn't take advantage of them.¬† I didn't take advantage of their wealth of knowledge.
I think that's the first thing I realized about halfway through our first Ryder Cup Task Force commission is, we were not sharing enough information.¬† We were not passing down a playbook to the next captain, whether it's structure or organization or whether it's ideas about playing more match play, little things.
Little things add up, and I did make a few mistakes.¬† I learned a lot from Medinah.¬† I'm looking forward to taking what I learned, what Phil and Tiger, all these guys on this commission have points out to all of us, to Pete and to Derek, and compiling that into‑‑ I can be a good leader as long as I have these guys behind me.¬† And I looked at every one of them. ¬†I said, if you guys have my back on this, I'm willing to do it again.¬† I can't go in and do it on my own.
So the excitement level we've been trying to portray today is‑‑ we have a new excitement about this and we are all working together to take all that information and make it, as I said, we just need a half a point here, half a point there.
Q.¬† The past captains have gotten one chance and they have had to live with that, if it's a loss, they have had to live with the result.¬† What does it mean to you to get a second chance at this?
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† I was honored to be the captain in 2012.¬† I'm doubly honored this time, like Rickie said.¬† Just to be able to sit in that room and listen to all the advice, the support that I was getting.
As I said in my opening comments, I'm here with the same goals but a different captain.¬† I've got a lot more people behind me.¬† I've got people in my corner (teary‑eyed).¬† I tell you what, Lanny Wadkins said today, when I was talking to him, he goes, "You made my day calling me."¬† That says it all about The Ryder Cup.
We have to get these guys involved, have a family together that's all pulling the same direction, and I think that's my thrill now, it's never been about me.¬† I tried to express that to my players in 2012.¬† It's not about me.¬† It's not about‑‑ I played really bad for Tom Kite because I wanted to win for Tom Kite.
I don't want that to happen this time.¬† I think these guys around us all know that this group is about a team winning.¬† We're building a team of captains.¬† We're building a family that's going to pull together.¬† We're like a football team, like a basketball team, like Dean Smith's teams that always brought back the players in the summer and taught the younger players how to play.¬† A lot of respect and a lot of love, and with that, that passion that will come out, and we'll have a lot more fun.¬† We'll give ourselves a better chance to succeed if we do all those things.
Q.¬† Are you open to the idea of vice captains being players on the team and possibly related to that, how would you characterize Phil's chances for 2020 (sic) (2024) in Bethpage?
PETE BEVACQUA:¬† Well, I would say that what we learned in these task force meetings is that nothing is off the table.¬† Can you be a playing vice captain; can you be a playing captain; I don't think there's any reason to say no, and there's certainly no reason to say that's not a good idea if it never happened in the future.
I think all of that is very open and ultimately that will be the type of topics that The Ryder Cup Committee discusses.¬† Obviously with Davis's leadership, and I think if you look at a player like Phil Mickelson, will Phil Mickelson be a Ryder Cup Captain down the road.¬† I think The PGA of America's answer is, we sure hope so.
Q.¬† What about the media training for Phil?
PETE BEVACQUA:¬† (Laughter) I'll let Phil answer that.
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† Thanks, Michael.
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† I can give him advice on that that's really helpful.¬† (Laughter).
Q.¬† It seems like the most significant change in terms of the lineup is the way you're doing the captain's picks and having some built‑in delays in making those picks.¬† How much of that is a reaction to this year specifically and do you feel like that's maybe one of the biggest changes that you will implement?
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† I think it's a huge change.¬† Obviously a blank sheet of paper when we went in was what they gave us.¬† Everything was on the table, any changes.¬† But as Pete said, the Olympic year really made us look at everything, when should we‑‑ we can't obviously end the points at The PGA of America that early.
So it gave us flexibility to do it where we thought was best.¬† We had a lot of great discussions about the FedExCup, when is the right time to end the points, when is the right time to end the picks.¬† But yes, Tom and I have been through the selection process.¬† It's tough.¬† You would like to wait till the last minute, take the guy who made the last putt who is really hot and ready to go.¬†
I got down to it with Brandt Snedeker and he ended up the next few weeks, he played well, but we had to take a guess.¬† We had to project the future a little bit.
So, yes, is the answer to your question.¬† We like waiting as long as we can to take the players who are ready to go.
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† In regards to the captain and the vice captain's picks, when we all got together in the first 20 minutes of the very first meeting, everybody on the task force for the most part said that one of the two things that really needed‑‑ that we really needed to change was the continuity from year‑to‑year because we were getting captains every two years with their own ideas and a totally different game plan which was challenging for the players to try to identify each personality, each game plan and we didn't have continuity from Ryder Cup to Ryder Cup.
So that was the first thing that we discussed is how do we create that continuity and just like you said, having past captains as future vice captains, having potential captains be current vice captains, was a huge part of this‑‑ was one of the biggest things that was decided on as we try to create continuity from year‑to‑year from Cup to Cup.
Q.¬† You addressed it a little before, but I wonder if you can talk about how much that 2012 losses aided you, knowing how competitive you are, and if you ever thought at that time or hoped at that time that maybe you would get another chance.
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† No, is the answer to that.¬† I thoroughly enjoyed my experience.¬† My players played their hearts out.¬† They finished with style and class.¬† They have been nothing but great representatives of the U.S. Team.
So, no, I never thought I would have another chance.¬† I've been honored with this whole process.¬† It's been amazing, and I didn't go into the task force thinking that I needed to throw my hat in the ring.¬† I went in to try to help.
I did offer that I would be the full‑time cart guy and towel boy for The Ryder Cup because I just enjoy it.¬† I love being there.¬† I love being a part of it.¬† I had so much fun with Tom and the guys helping Corey in Wales.¬† That was one of the great experiences of my golf career to be an assistant captain and to watch the guys from behind the scenes.
So I'm excited about a new opportunity, a fresh start, and it's never been about me.¬† It's been about this team and hopefully we can instill that in the players; that this is 12 guys's opportunity to go win a Ryder Cup and it really doesn't have anything to do with 12 or eight or Davis Love or the assistant captains.¬† It's all about this team pulling together to try to get a win.
Q.¬† Just wondering if you could draw upon what memories you have of competing in majors at Hazeltine and how do you think it will set up for match play, the course?
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† Well, it's obviously a great golf course.¬† I played a few majors there.¬† It's a lot like any major championship course.¬† It's big, it's long, it's tough.¬† I think we are going to have a long‑hitting team, as usual, and it will suit our game.
But it's a great place.¬† So much passion and one of the‑‑ why we're reasons why we're lucky to have Tom Lehman or our team to give us some insight on the golf course, if you will.¬† We will have great support in Minnesota and it's a great place for any major championship, but especially a Ryder Cup.¬† We are thrilled and Tom and I are excited to get up this summer and start taking a look at the golf course.
Q.¬† It's been mentioned throughout this press conference today that everything was left on the table; any suggestions that could possibly help get this done.¬† This might be a concern because we are in the West Coast but David Feherty mentioned awhile back that he thought if the Americans wanted to win, their best chance would be for it to be like at TPC Scottsdale and the 16th hole‑‑ how many points that would be worth.¬† Do you think that's a possibility?
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† I'll defer that question to Pete but it would be exciting.
PETE BEVACQUA:¬† Derek, interested on your perspective, too.
No, our staff, led by Kerry Haigh, really does an excellent job in selecting the best Ryder Cup sites in this country.
When you look to where we are going in terms of Hazeltine, and Whistling Straits in 2020, where we are having this year's PGA Championship, and in 2024 at Bethpage State Park, we are excited about those three venues and we are starting to think about where to go in 2028.
DEREK SPRAGUE:¬† I'd like to create that venue on many holes in Minnesota.¬† There's a lot of great Minnesota fans up there and we need more than one hole of American fans cheering their team on, Davis.
No, I think it will be a great venue for this Ryder Cup.
Q.¬† Your thoughts on Hazeltine as a Ryder Cup venue, what are your thoughts on that being a Ryder Cup venue?
TOM LEHMAN:¬† Well, it's a tough golf course.¬† Davis mentioned, it's a big course.¬† It's a great driving course.¬† It pays to hit it long and it pays to hit it straight.¬† It's a real man's golf course, and so I think it's a great venue.
There's also a combination of holes that are great match play holes and tricky holes.¬† That 16th hole is great hole.¬† 17 is a great little hole.
So there's a nice combination of length and bigness and then intimacy, it's small and tricky.¬† It's a great match‑play event.
I think more than anything, we have a great host group of the Hazeltine club.¬† The members are just great folks and the fans in Minnesota are going to be complete homers and we're going to have a great, great home‑field advantage with those fans up there.¬† So I think our team is set up nicely for that event.
Q.¬† How was this news for the second go‑around received at home by the family?¬† And the fact that you have done this before, knowing the administrative and run‑up situation, does this help you a lot with going up to 2016?
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† Well, logistically, yes, it's going to be a lot easier the second time around.¬† There's a great team with Kerry Haigh, Julius Mason, Susan Martin and their whole staff, they do a great job with The Ryder Cup.¬† My wife, Robin, for the last few weeks has been asking when she can call Susan Martin and form her task force.¬† So she's ready to go.
We are thrilled to get another shot at this year and a half, it's a lot of fun‑‑ it's a lot of work but it's a lot of fun.¬† It was received very well by my house.¬† My kids were mad until last Monday.¬† They did not know.¬† The secret was pretty well kept around our house.¬† So they are all excited.¬† It's a big deal.¬† Dru Love wants to know if he can get a pick, and my daughter wants to know if she can get a cart this time because she's got a baby.¬† We are all very excited at the Love house.
DEREK SPRAGUE:¬† If Dru keeps playing well, he'll be a captain's pick.
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† He's in the running now I'm sure.
Q.¬† I'm wondering if you think it's possible that you can quantify results that you get from future Ryder Cups and attribute them to the changes that you have announced today versus the fact that regardless of preparation from team members, sometimes one group plays better than another.
PETE BEVACQUA:¬† Yeah, it's a fair question.¬† And really, that's why I think, if that this can't be, from the organization's perspective‑‑ we had these conversations at the task force.
That's why it's not about one Ryder Cup.¬† I think the ultimate arbiter of that will be looking back 20, 30 years from now and saying, okay, did we increase our winning percentage.¬† If we look at the last 20 years, going 2‑8, what will be the next 20 years, the next 30 years and measure it from that type of span.
And more importantly, in the conversations I've had that Derek and I would have and with Paul and our board of directors and Suzy Whaley, the secretary of The PGA of America, it was just as an organization, what can we do to give the players and the captain the best chance of success.¬† What can we learn from them, what can we Tweet; what can we do differently.¬† We don't hit a shot.¬† We don't compete.¬† But how can we surround them to make their job easier and to increase their chances of ultimate success.
And Derek said it well:¬† The European Team is really good.¬† It's always going to be good but hopefully over the course of 20, 30 years, our level of success will be higher and I think, can you pinpoint that and direct it back at, but for the task force, that wouldn't have happened?¬† No.¬† But we'll see.
Q.¬† Generally people believe that the captain has very little to do with what happens on the golf course during a Ryder Cup, and if the team wins, it's the players and if the team loses, it the captain.¬† I think generally you believed before 2012 that the captain has very little to do with The Ryder Cup.¬† But being through it now once, do you believe that now and do you believe that your decisions that will happen in 2016 will have a lot to do with what will happen in the result?
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† I think they do.¬† I think the captain is an integral part.¬† We saw a lot of great captains over the last 20 years that have won and lost.
But, yes, the captain can make a big difference.¬† I think we have all learned as a group, the first agenda item in our first meeting was, let's define what makes a great captain.¬† And once we defined that, now we've got to go and support that captain and make him better.¬† Fill the gaps.
I know there's some things that I need to be better at.¬† Getting up and giving a speech without getting teary‑eyed is one thing I really need to work on.¬† I need to make some passionate speeches to these guys and maybe I can just have Phil and Tom do that.
But we really need to define the role of the captain, the role of the assistant captains going forward.¬† We need to divide the responsibilities a little bit better.¬† We need to know on Sunday morning who is going to go talk to the guys in the first couple groups, if they get nervous, just little things we've learned how to handle it.
But yes, the captain can make a huge difference if he has a game plan and he knows what he's doing.¬† I don't want to talk about second chances, but it's nice to have done it once before.¬† Learn a lot and we're going to take advantage of that.
Q.¬† In relation to Darren Clarke, how different do you think he will be as the European captain compared to Jose Maria Olaz√°bal, and what strengths and qualities do you think Darren will bring to the European Team?
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† Darren and I will have a lot of laughs, we'll have lot of fun, I know that, and they will be well‑dressed.¬† Darren is so well respected in the game, friends with so many players, a friend to all; he's always got a smile on his face.
He'll be a great leader, a great captain, and what I'm so excited about, we get to spend a year and a half doing stuff like this with Darren Clarke.¬† It will grow our friendship and we'll have a lot of fun doing it.¬† He'll be a great leader, and I'm thrilled that that conversation back in 2010 at Wales is going to come through; that I'm going to get to captain with him.
Q.¬† At any time did it come up, maybe making Phil a player captain; and Phil, what would you have thought of that if the suggestion had been made?
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† I don't think‑‑ I don't think I'm there yet, Karen.¬† I want to make the team playing.¬† I know I've got some work to do on my game but I'm not there mentally to grasp that one yet.
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† I think he said something about playing five or six more of them, is what I remember.
Q.¬† The fact that the PGA's 100th anniversary is also in 2016, is there any sort of plans party‑wise, social‑wise, or anything going Ryder Cup, good or bad?
DEREK SPRAGUE:¬† We do have a lot of plans in place for that.¬† But right now, the short version of the centennial celebrating our hundred years of our existence is going to happen in the first quarter of 2016.¬† We really want to highlight our 41 PGA sections, our 28,000 men and women members and apprentices in our association and that will occur in several different venues, with our partners from Golf Channel that will be highlighting vignettes of our 41 sections and our PGA members, so we are really excited about that.
Q.¬† Would you talk about what made a good Ryder Cup Captain; could you maybe enumerate some of those things that you guys talked about that makes a great Ryder Cup Captain, and who was the quintessential U.S. captain of the last few decades, if you could pick one guy?
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† It would be hard to pick one guy.¬† I've been picking apart a bunch of guys, taking their best advice.¬† But you know, I think he has to have the trust of his players, first.¬† I think that's one thing that came out of all this is these guys trusted me to listen and to take all their advice and assimilate it and then go out and be a leader.
It was some very honest conversations and some deep conversations and we are all going to get closer friends overall this.¬† But yeah, I think trust is one of the biggest things, especially in this one.¬† They trusted me to listen and to run this new game plan and I'm excited about the opportunity.
Q.¬† The staging at Gleneagles, Tom, was simply spectacular.¬† Can you shed some light on what we may be seeing when we get to Hazeltine in 2016? ¬†The staging was incredible, the tunnel leading to the first tee‑‑ have you received any word what may lie ahead when we get to 2016?
TOM LEHMAN:¬† I'll defer that to Derek.¬† He has more of an idea than I do.
DEREK SPRAGUE:¬† We have a great championships department headed by Kerry Haigh and a great championships team and we are going to work with Patrick Hunt, the General Chair of The Ryder Cup and his team at Hazeltine to really engage the fans for this Ryder Cup.
I mean, we want to have past captains, past Ryder Cup players but more importantly we want American fans, Minnesota fans, to come out in droves to support our team to put them in the best position and best psyche to ramp up their game to play that week.
So we'll be looking at everything.¬† Our championships department will be looking at the staging of the first hole, the amphitheater, like we had the earlier question, can we bring that excitement to every hole to really cheer on our team that week.
Q.¬† I think you were captain in the last archaic selection process of Top‑10 points and two cap tape's picks.¬† Curious what you've seen over the last three or four matches on why things are not working, and relative to how much good this task force did.
TOM LEHMAN:¬† You know what, I think one of the big purposes for this task force was to kind of get together and collectively discuss all that.¬† I think Davis said it best.¬† There's a lot of little things.¬† Just a lot of little things had a maybe we don't do quite as well as we could do.¬† Whether it be letting guys get into their rhythm of practice and preparing the way they feel most comfortable.¬† Whether we talk enough amongst ourselves who should be playing with who, whether we learn enough from past captains.¬† We hit on all of it.
So I look at the effort that we put out.¬† I see great effort, tremendous effort, and I see a lot of individual dedication and commitment to the process.¬† The thing that I'm most excited about is I see more of a collective commitment.¬† I see more of a collective goal seating collective dedication to the process going forward amongst everybody.¬† That's the biggest difference I see is this idea of a collective group, a collective goal setting, a collective way of moving forward towards success.¬† To me that's the process we are talking about.
Every great player, every great team, they go through the process in order to win.¬† Winning is a process.¬† And we have never really had a process.¬† We do now and I think that's the thing that's most exciting.
Q.¬† In terms of assistant captains, will you pick the other ones or will it be done my committee and will Fred Couples be a guy you might consider?
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† We are looking at a long list.¬† Obviously Fred's got a lot of Ryder Cup experience and we're going to look at that with this new committee that's been formed, so Tiger, Phil, myself, Pete and Derek, Paul, and talk about that.¬† But we have laid a little bit of a groundwork that we're going to be looking for guys with experience that have been around and that are going to add to it.
That's one thing that Tom and I are going to be talking about over probably the next six months is who we can add to that team.¬† We've got to watch a bunch of guys play, because the great question earlier, can there be a playing assistant captain who is going to make the team.
So a lot like the selection of the players, we may delay them a little bit, especially the last two.
JULIUS MASON:¬† Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.¬† That concludes the formal part of this news conference.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports