|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
September 28, 2016
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
JOHN DEVER: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome back to the 41st Ryder Cup. Pleased to be joined by U.S. captain Davis Love III.
Davis, maybe you could tell us a little bit about what you had in store this morning and where you might be headed after we finish up here.
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, we came out early. I think Bubba and I came out earliest of the captains to get guys to media early. They got that knocked out, and then got all three groups out playing.
We mixed up our tee times a little bit. I know we confused the fans, but we figured they would find us eventually. Got everybody teed off and they are out there getting some work done. And I get to go see the Junior Ryder Cup Team here after this, and then practice my speech down on the big stage, which I'll be glad when that's over with, both the practice and the real thing.
But we're having a good day. Everybody seems to be hitting the ball well and playing well and having fun. Getting a lot of work done. This is kind of the big day before there's a lot going on tomorrow. Tomorrow is kind of a jammed up day with the Opening Ceremonies, still got some media obligations. So guys are really focused today on getting a full day's work in, finishing off testing balls and working on learning the golf course and all those kind of things. So busy day for us and a hard work day.
Q. J.B. looked like he was getting work done on his shoulder on the range; is he okay?
DAVIS LOVE III: I didn't see it, but I saw about four or five drives and they looked okay to me (laughing).
Yeah, we've got a great team around us. We've got a bunch of physios and doctors and trainers, and so they are keeping guys going. But no, nobody mentioned it.
I was organizing stuff in the locker room and then got out there on 10, when they were all teeing off, and he hit one in the rough off of 10 and then bombed one kind of down the bottom of the hill. And we were all just standing there going, how do you drive it there. And same thing on the next hole.
He's always fun to watch. He didn't look hurt. He was chirping, too. So looked like physically and mentally, he was ready to go.
You know, we're always messing with something. Zach was in there stretching and everybody's got different ways to warm up. So I'm sure he's trying to get loose.
It's cold; that's the biggest thing. I talked to some of the European guys and our guys, you get down there by that lake, it's cold, and cold on the range getting going. I'm sure we're looking forward to this forecast we've got for Friday, Saturday, Sunday, maybe a little sunshine and maybe a little warmer.
Q. I wonder if you can give us an insight into how it works in your team room. You've obviously assembled a strong group of vice captains, and you've got an equally strong team leader in Phil, but obviously the ultimate decision maker is you. I just wonder, at what point you remove yourself from that process and you give yourself time to make the ultimate decisions?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, that's why I was hanging out in the locker room a little bit this morning. We're defining our roles, you know, as what we're going to do out on the golf course. For example, I saw Tiger on, I don't know, 12, 13, I said, "How's it going?"
He goes, "Perfect." I don't have to worry about Tiger and his group.
Tom Lehman texted me, "My group's playing great, having fun, no problems."
So I'm in charge and I've given them their charge. Tiger was giving me a hard time a couple weeks ago. He said, "You're giving me way too much to do."
And that's what this thing is all about is we're dividing responsibilities. I can't be the offensive coordinator and the defensive coordinator. So I've given them all different roles.
Bubba stepped in, Bubba and I rode out yesterday and we talked a lot this morning about what can -- if we have four guys watching matches, what can Bubba and I do to complement each other and to support.
So we're asking questions of the caddies and of the players; what do you want us to do. Probably don't need to mess with Jordan Spieth; he's got a game plan. But maybe some of the rookies, who is going to go walk with a rookie if something goes right or goes wrong.
We're all dividing our responsibilities and having fun, and just supporting the team. That's what it's all about. We're here to support the team and if that means we run back and get a sweater, I'll go get a sweater. My son and I just delivered turkey sandwiches to the group ahead and Roger Maltbie was laughing at us. I said, "Very important here. If we don't get the turkey sandwiches to these guys, they're not going to be happy." All six of us are doing whatever we can to help out.
Q. How does Phil fit in?
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, you know, when I got up and spoke last night, Phil, you could see Phil inching forward in his seat, and he said, "Can I add something to that, Captain?"
And so Phil and Amy got up and gave a gift and spoke. Phil is, I think, kind of the backbone of the team. Twenty-two times in a row he's been on a team and nobody has seen more team golf on our team than him.
And again, I just mentioned it the other night. Phil and Tiger sitting in a room talking, and the quiet guys are sitting in the back just listening. We're just soaking it in. When Phil gets up to speak, he obviously has a purpose when he says something. He's not winging it. He's been a team leader, gosh, I'd say the last six or eight teams I've been around, he's been the leader on the golf course or in the locker room or in the team room.
Q. Are the guys giving you any feedback on how the course is playing, and are all the weekend pin placements pre-determined?
DAVIS LOVE III: No, Kerry Haigh is doing the pins. I think we agreed in the last few captains agreements that we were going to get out of the business of the home team setting the pins and the other team not knowing.
Kerry has got a track record here of PGA Championships. I have a feeling we can use those old pin sheets and they will be pretty close. There are some holes where it's just obvious that all four pins are going to be up here and they are not going to be on the slope in the front.
I would say, Kerry has seen my setup and Paul Azinger's setup, and he knows we would probably not prefer it to be as difficult as a Sunday of the PGA Championship. We'd like the fans to see some birdies.
But once last Sunday hit, I was not allowed really to comment on the rough anymore or where the tees were going. So I think it's been a more fair way to handle it. Darren and I have agreed on a lot of things and that was one of them. I'm not going to pull -- all of a sudden go a hundred yards up on a team; if we are behind, play the course longer. All that stuff's pretty much done with.
Q. Why do you think the U.S. has struggled with foursomes in particular in recent years, and what do you think they need to do to get better results there this time?
DAVIS LOVE III: I think I answered that in the last couple press conferences. I think we're good at it. It's a format we like.
I keep saying, this team's never played together before. This is 12 guys that are looking to the future and we like our foursomes team, we like our fourball teams, and we're excited to get started.
Q. Davis, it's obviously been a tough run for the U.S. at recent Ryder Cups. How confident are you that hasn't created any sort of psychological barrier as far as your players are concerned going into this?
DAVIS LOVE III: I think I answered that in the last question. This team has never played together before. It's 12 strong guys, and we're looking to the future. You've heard it over and over again from us; we're really proud of this team. We're excited about it.
And yes, we would dearly love to win and we'd love to win some in the future and that's why we've prepared so well. We've put so much effort into it, and we're looking forward to getting started playing on Friday, because we feel like we're -- as Phil said this morning, we put ourselves in a position to succeed. We don't know what the result is going to be, but we're excited about the prospects this year and in the future, just because we've kind of got a new beginning over the last couple years.
Q. When you think back to your 2012 captaincy and you compare it to the 2016 version, how would you feel you've evolved or are evolving as a captain?
DAVIS LOVE III: Body's worn out a little bit more. Can't keep up with these guys in practice rounds. But you know, again, I'm going to get boring here; same thing. We're looking to the future.
We have a lot of great memories of 2012. I had Webb Simpson calling me the other day to tell me what a special week it was for him; how he was pulling for this team and he wanted to see this team do well.
But I also had Ben Crenshaw last night and Curtis Strange and Lanny Wadkins and Hal Sutton and Corey Pavin in our team room supporting us. I think this team really feels like we got the whole Ryder Cup family behind us and are excited to move forward.
I keep saying, it was an honor for me to be the captain in 2012. This time, I was picked by a different group, a group of my peers, so I'm humbled this time and excited. But it's a great group of guys we have working together.
Yes, Tiger keeps saying, you make the decision, but I've got a lot more support this time and that's what makes it more special.
Q. As the task force sort of analyzed what's gone wrong for the Americans over the years, how much specific analysis was there of maybe what Europe does right or does better? And if you did, what were your conclusions?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I think Phil said it well this morning: We did not have any consistency and continuity to our team. We had a lot of great decisive captains. We had a lot of great game plans. But we did not have a -- and now we have a Ryder Cup Committee similar to Europe that's made up of PGA of America and the players, and we have a game plan now for this Ryder Cup, for the next Ryder Cup and into the future.
I just think we reorganized, we restructured. We had a franchise that was losing all its games, so we changed the front office and started over, and it's a fresh beginning. We're excited to look into the future. I think, you know, the task force is over. The Ryder Cup Committee has been formed.
We saw that Europe was a little bit more organized than us and a little bit more thinking long term, and we decided to change our game plan.
Q. How much do you talk to the team about some of the gamesmanship that goes into a head-to-head match, some of the mind games between competitors; do you guys literally talk about that or do you just let that happen?
DAVIS LOVE III: We talk about not doing it. You know, I think Darren and I, you've heard it for a year; we have a lot of respect for each other. We're not going to try to pull anything either in social media or on the golf course.
Now, there's things that are different in match play. Like I was saying yesterday, Tom Kite told me, "Out-drive them and walk faster than them. Act like you're going to beat them."
There will be some things -- there's not going to be any popping of gloves and making noise or coughing in backswings, those kind of things. Letting a guy put out a couple times, things like that, that's part of match play and it's fun. And a lot of it is done with a wink and a jab.
But you've got to remember, there's 12 guys on our side and 12 guys on their side. We play golf together all the time. We're friends and we compete against each other, whether it's in practice rounds in PGA TOUR or European Tour events. We're used to competing against each other. It will be hard-fought but fairly fought.
You know, Phil may throw in a comment here or there, or Westwood might throw in a comment here or there in a match, but it's all in good fun and it's all in good spirit of competition.
Q. Can you provide insight into your philosophy for pairings for foursomes; do you prefer light games and personalities and how much does the golf ball come into the equation?
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, you've got to have guys in -- when you're hitting a tee shot for a guy, you'd better know what the golf ball's going to do when you get it out there, and you'd better be comfortable with each other in any situation.
I think that's why Fred Couples and I played so well together, is because we just ignored everything else that was going on and we trusted -- I trusted Fred, he trusted me. There was no discussion of reading putts. We just went out and played golf.
I think if you get two guys like that, that get along, trust each other, and they are not worried if you hit it under a tree or if you miss a putt -- there's no apologizing. I think if you get two guys that are in sync like that, that makes a good alternate-shot team.
Get guys that are wondering what's going on, and I don't understand that ball; it's a tough format, especially when things start going wrong.
You'll see friends out there playing together in our pairings. You'll see guys that have done it before, and I think comfortable and confident and trusting is the way to make those pairings, especially -- you know, you're playing your own ball, it's a little bit different. You still have to have that same feeling, but it will be a different animal Friday morning than it will Friday afternoon.
Q. You talk about looking forward, but Phil went 12 years back today to kind of be very critical of Hal Sutton. The time and the place to do that, do you think?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, unfortunately, some analysts just keep bringing it up over and over and over again, things that have happened in the past; that sometimes you have to set the record straight, that we put a lot of effort into this. We take ownership in our losses but we move forward from it.
You know, Hal was an incredible captain. I thought he was brilliant sending his two best teams out Friday morning. His two best teams got beat and I think it demoralized the whole team. If Davis Love would have played a little bit better, maybe Chad Campbell would have played a little bit better.
I think Phil's looking forward to what's happened over the last year and we've learned a lot from all of our past captains on how we need to do this together. Hal Sutton was in there last night, like I said, all the past captains that were on site were in our team room. It was an inspiration to see him.
I'm a past captain that lost. We've all learned from our mistakes and moving forward as a group now.
Q. This is kind of in relation to what difference a home crowd can make. And you may or may not have seen it, but Danny Willett's brother wrote, penned some article for a website over in Europe that excoriated and ridiculed the American fans, which I can't imagine Darren might be too happy about, just in terms of maybe inciting them here. Did you see that, for starters; and how much can the home crowd be and might you expect them to be a little more lit up given this development?
DAVIS LOVE III: I heard about it on the golf course from a friend of mine from NBC, and I took Coach Belichick's advice: Ignored the noise.
If you know me, I don't watch a whole lot of the -- I don't even read my own press clippings when I win much. I don't pay much attention to it. I was even tempted last night to start flipping through it when I was going to bed, and instead I went to the World Surf League site to see if Kelly going to make it to his contest on time next week.
If I read it, I'm just going to get mad. If I read it, I'm just going to get defensive. So I just try to ignore it.
You know, the fans here are -- yesterday I went up with Bill Murray to watch them hit off the first tee, and the fans are going nuts, you know. And then our guys go hit and J.B. hits it off of 10 and they are cheering for him. And we had a chip-in early, we had a holed putt early, and it's four holes into a practice round and they are cheering and screaming. You think, just wait till Friday, you know, when it's for real.
It's just the fans at a home event, both in Europe and over here, the fans just get into it. They are so excited. It's a big part of the home-field advantage is the fans.
Now, we have to keep them going. We have to make birdies. We have to win holes. It got quiet at Medinah on Sunday, didn't it? That was scary. It got quiet at Oak Hill on Lanny on Sunday. If we can keep making birdies -- it's our job.
I saw it in the North Carolina-Georgia game when I had The Ryder Cup trophy. North Carolina was playing really, really good until the Georgia fans got fired up and were yelling and screaming and we blew a couple of plays because we couldn't get them called in time. "We", like I played for North Carolina.
You know, if we play well here, and get the fans behind us, then we've got an advantage. But we have to go do it. We have to go make some birdies. They have been great so far. I mean, I've never -- we saw the South is very gracious and welcoming and friendly. Everybody on our team has said, "These people here are so nice" from the hotel to the golf course to Chandler's staff. They have really welcomed this team.
We've said it all along, they are golf-starved up here, the short season, they love to play and they don't get to see PGA TOUR golf, European Tour golf that much. We really feel it and we're going to try to embrace it and use it to our advantage.
Q. You mentioned at the very start of your interview how much you're looking forward, how anxious you are about your speech tomorrow at the Opening Ceremony. Is that the only thing you're anxious about and nervous about?
DAVIS LOVE III: Not the only thing. Well, Darren got me nervous thinking about, I've got to make a speech tonight at dinner.
Fred Couples, that's the first thing he said to me when I was named Ryder Cup Captain in 2012. He goes, "Don't worry about the pairings and all that stuff. Let me give you something to get nervous about." He said, "Those speeches are awful."
I'm like, "Oh, no." (Laughter).
But I'm getting better at it. Hopefully I can stick to the Teleprompter tonight and not get emotional. But I'm nervous for the guys teeing off Friday morning. I'm nervous about what I'm going to say Friday night. But it's an excited kind of nervous like we're playing, like we just can't wait to get started.
I know my guys are getting -- every day, it's getting closer and closer. But it's an excitement I think, not a nervousness.
Q. As you get closer and closer to Friday morning, do you feel a sort of weight of growing expectations on your own shoulders?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, expectations of what am I going to say to the team, how are we going to get these guys started and what do we say if things go right, if they go wrong, what are we going to do.
You know, ultimately, what's the best way to stay out of their way and let them succeed, not make them nervous. If Tiger and I walk up to a group, are we going to make them nervous or are we going to help them; is Bubba going to go out there -- if the fans see Bubba and get excited with Rickie, is that going to make it tougher on Rickie or is it going to make it better for him. Those kind of things, we're not anxious, worried; we're planning out trying to make sure we did what we can do to help this team succeed.
Phil keeps preaching it -- I said it before. I don't think we need to mess with Jordan that much. Maybe some other guys we can do something for. But again, even if it's just bring the sandwiches and the water and drive them in when they win, whatever it is, we just need to be prepared for it.
JOHN DEVER: Davis Love III, United States Ryder Cup Captain, thank you for your time and we'll see you tomorrow.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports