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September 28, 2012

Davis Love III


KELLY ELBIN:  Joining us is the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain, Davis Love III.
Davis, your team leads 5‑3 at the end of the first day, a lot of excitement, a lot of noise out there.  Comments about what looked to be a most entertaining first day here at Medinah.
DAVIS LOVE III:  It was very entertaining.  There was a lot of noise this afternoon.  It was kind of quiet this morning.
I think both teams came out in the cold, a little windier than we thought, and it seems like both teams were a little scratchy right off the bat.  But our team hung in there really well.  They came back from being‑‑ I know I saw the board a couple times where we were three 1‑downs and an even, and that doesn't look good starting off.
And I think it stunned the fans a little bit.  They weren't really‑‑ after the first tee, they weren't really into it.  It took a little bit of run going on the back nine in the morning session, and then it took Bubba and Webb to get them going right out of the gate in the afternoon.  That really started the ball rolling.
And you know, frankly that's what we were looking for this morning was somebody to get it going early in the first couple groups, get us excited, get the fans excited, and thankfully Bubba and Webb did that, and we were off and running in the afternoon.
KELLY ELBIN:  Could you also talk about Keegan Bradley's performance today with Phil, please.
DAVIS LOVE III:  Keegan played great.  Phil is a smart guy; he picks good partners.
Keegan was fired up.  Hit the ball‑‑ I mean, I played with him here the Monday, I guess, after Barclays, or the‑‑ anyway, a couple weeks ago, and he just pounded it around this course and it looked like it was built for him.  He hit the ball extremely long today.  I think he drove it in the green‑side bunker on 3 this afternoon.  I don't know how or where the angle is for that.
Phil was really impressed with the way he drove it, and Phil said he had wedge into a lot of holes and was shocked.  And Bubba drove it great.  All the rookies, despite their‑‑ whatever their records are, and I don't even know, breaking it down, how they did, but they all played very, very well, and I was really impressed.
We played as a team today, and I think that's all we wanted.  We got off to a great start.

Q.  Can you talk about sitting down Tiger Woods tomorrow, and what went into that thought process?
DAVIS LOVE III:  Well, I've been talking to Fred for well over a year about this, and then talking to Scott and Jeff a lot in the last couple months; we just felt like we didn't want anybody to have to play five matches on this golf course.  It's a big, long golf course.  It's tough.  And exactly what we said was going to happen happened to one of our best teams.  They played very well this afternoon, and just happened to get beat on the last hole by ‑‑ and I don't know the numbers, eight birdies and an eagle or whatever he made.  I only watched from 12‑‑ on and off 12 and 13, but really from 14 in, and the stories that everybody was telling me about how well he played was impressive.
We just don't want guys to be worn out.  We need Tiger and Steve in the afternoon.  We need Tiger and Steve on Sunday.  There was a reason we sat Webb and Bubba out this morning; was so they would be ready for the afternoon.  I didn't know they were going to be that ready, but we sat them out because, really, there's so much that goes into this week, and we as players see it‑‑ I saw it Monday night and Tuesday night.  Our guys were out of the team room and in bed.  They knew what was coming and they needed to be rested.
The first thing when they asked me when we get done playing or practicing is, when can we go home; they wanted to know as soon as they got finished today, when can we go rest, because it's going to be a long day tomorrow.
I think Tiger needs a rest; Steve needs a rest; I need a rest; and you know, it's a team effort, and Tiger and Steve are very supportive friends of mine.  They told me they would do whatever I asked them to do, and I can guarantee you, neither one of them are very happy about it.  Not because they are sitting out; because they have to wait till tomorrow afternoon to come back from‑‑ you know, they didn't play great this morning, but they were in it for a while.
This afternoon, I told them, they would have beat anybody on the golf course probably except for Bubba and Webb, and they just ran up against the wrong group.

Q.  That being said, Keegan and Phil played maybe the best of the American Team for the whole day today, and they are playing tomorrow morning.  Does that mean that your anticipation is to sit them in the afternoon?
DAVIS LOVE III:  Well, it depends how many holes they play.  Like Bubba and Webb didn't play a lot today.  Depends how many they play and how it goes.
They are playing alternate‑shot.  But the plan is that we want everybody rested, and if I go to a guy and he says, look, this hasn't affected me at all, whether it's Phil or whether it's Bubba or whatever, I'll take that into consideration.
We were sitting up there on the porch, Scott and Mike and my brother and Jeff Sluman, sitting up there on the porch, and they said, what are you thinking about tomorrow afternoon.
I said, I'm not, I'm thinking about tomorrow morning.  Let's play tomorrow's segment, like I said on one of the interviews on the 18th green‑‑ I hear Chipper Jones say all the time, let's win each series, let's don't get ahead of ourselves.  Let's just win tomorrow morning's segment and then we'll worry about tomorrow afternoon's segment.
Now, obviously I have to turn my pairings in, and I said that a couple times today; they called me on the radio, what do you want to do about the pairings?  I said, let's watch them play nine holes.  Let's see how it's going.  We have a plan; let's not start changing it because it's fun to talk about.
It's fun to work on your golf swing when you're supposed to be trying to go out and play and it's fun to think about pairings for Sunday when we are supposed to be playing Saturday morning.  So we are just sticking with Saturday morning right now, and see if these four, see how they do starting off.

Q.  Your decision to play Tiger this afternoon was vindicated by his performance, but how close did you come to pulling him out of the four‑balls?
DAVIS LOVE III:  Well, they did not get the result they wanted this morning.  I talked to a couple people that watched him play this morning, and Steve.  You know, they are a two‑man team.  So we are concerned about each guy on the team and how they are going to play.  And you know, I was told that if you let them play their own ball this afternoon, they are going to play a lot better.
And both of them played very well.  I don't even‑‑ I honestly, unless Scott Verplank had told me what Colsaerts, how many birdies and eagles he made, I don't know how many Tiger and Strick made, but I just know they were on the last hole against a group that had a whole bunch of birdies and an eagle and they both played very well.
I've watched him hit a lot of golf balls this week, and he's hitting the ball very well.  He hit a few bad drives this morning, but as I said, it was cold; it was windier than we expected.  It was an uncomfortable morning, and an uncomfortable format on an uncomfortable day led to both teams‑‑ you know, we ended up 2‑2.  We were both uncomfortable.  Some good golf, some bad golf.  Ian putted very well.
Again, I didn't get to watch as much this morning as I did I this afternoon, but it looked like Rory had a hot streak; Ian had a hot streak; we had a couple guys with a couple shot streaks, but other than that, it was a bunch of flat golf this morning and good golf this afternoon.

Q.  In addition to Fred, did you talk at all to MJ about the dynamics of sitting Tiger out?  He was benched once or twice in his career; what was Tiger's reaction?  When did you tell him?
DAVIS LOVE III:  We talked when they‑‑ I didn't talk to Michael.
We talked in the locker room right when he and Joe got in there.  I talked to Tiger and Joe.  Then I talked to Steve a little bit and then went and sat with the assistant captains.  Then I let Tiger know that‑‑ of the decision, and Steve; and I still‑‑ I've got the same issue with the other guys I sit out.  The guys I sat out this morning, it's tough for any of them.  It's a tough conversation.
I've got to go back and find Dustin and Kuch who just won a match and tell them, hey, we are going to sit you out a again.
I keep saying it over and over again, there are a lot of guys on our team playing very, very well and it's hard to sit them out.  Tiger again has told me, he'll do whatever I want him to do.  He made some suggestions on how to go with it tomorrow morning, and he and Jim and Steve have been a big part, and Phil; Phil and I talked about it coming down 17.  He gave me his input.
I think everybody's happy with where we're going, because we had a very good day today.  We want to have a very good day tomorrow.  It's not about Tiger, Steve, you know, or Bubba or Webb.  It's about this team trying to win and I think we are all excited about the day we had today, and rest up and go try to have another one tomorrow.

Q.  With regard to Keegan, going into these matches, did you have a feeling that this format was made for him and his personality, and what are the dynamics about him that make him so good for this?
DAVIS LOVE III:  Well, one, he's a great player and he's been playing well.  But he's got that intense look in his eye that the great players have.
I was telling Phil, you know, how are you going to handle Keegan?  Are you going to help him with his putts or not help him?
Phil goes, as long as he gives them that little sideways look, you've got to let him do what he wants to do.  My son and I were sitting on the side of one green, and Keegan turned his head like that, and I said, you know he's going to make this one, and right in it went.
He's a competitor and he's confident in his game and he loves to be there.  He loves walking out on that first tee.  I love seeing that from Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker and Kuch.  Kuch wasn't very nervous walking out on that stage with Justin Timberlake.  He was having a lot of fun.  I was nervous‑‑ Kuch was jumping up and down up there and doing his Diamond Cutter and having fun.  Guys like that make it easy for me because I don't worry about them.  If you say, we're going to putt Webb and Bubba off first, doesn't bother me.  They are perfect for that role.  Get them out ahead and let them run.
Got a lot of guys like that on the team, and Keegan, I certainly have a lot of confidence in him, putting him out there in any situation.
KELLY ELBIN:  Davis Love III, thank you very much.

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