After a serious U.S. Ryder Cup thrashing in 2014 and a colossal collapse in 2012, a meeting of the U.S. golfing minds was more than justified to remedy American Ryder Cup woes. While I happen to agree with European Team veterans Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy that calling it a “task force” may be a bit excessive, a good long hard look at the U.S. Ryder Cup selection processes, for both captains and players, was overwhelmingly needed. But even with the most prudent changes adopted by the task force, such as saving the last captain’s pick until after the Tour Championship (the Billy Horschel rule) and vice captains being comprised of former Ryder Cup captains and established Ryder Cup participants, the 2016 Captain selection, whomever was chosen, was going to be highly scrutinized. Enter Davis Love III.
Davis Love III should be an American Ryder Cup Captain hero. He should be known as the Captain who stomped the Euros in 2012. But fate, as always, has Her way.
I watched almost every shot of the 2012 Ryder Cup Friday at work as a club builder at Hurricane Golf with bated breath (thank God I work for a golf company). We etched out an early 5-3 lead, from some tremendous play by Keegan Bradley and Lefty. Yet my optimism was reserved because of European flair for the dramatic comeback.
I was lucky enough to be there at Medinah on Saturday. My buddy Bum happened to have a free ticket through his company (Shout out to Nadler Golf Carts www.nadlergolf.com, best in the business) and we watched what I believed to be the start of a trouncing. The morning pairings came out hot, lead by the play of Bradley and Lefty who decimated Westwood and Donald 7-6, and American hopes started to simmer. We gave the Euro’s a hard body blow in the morning and everyone at Medinah knew it, up 8-4. For the 2nd parings, Bum and I sat on 17th green, the incredibly steep downhill and over water par 3, and we couldn’t have been happier. I didn’t get to see Bubba and Web, because they did their duty as Americans and put Messieurs Rose and Molinari away. But everyone else who came into that green knew the stakes, American and European alike, you could feel the tension. Every shot that hit or missed the green on that hole, everyone knew the consequences.
The European parings of Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter ended up stealing 2 points that day, rather than a halve or an American win in either match. Making the score 10-6, leaving the Europeans in a compromising spot. What happens next is pure tragedy. Watching the first 5 matches on Sunday, could any American truly believe it? Americans losing the first 5 matches of singles play. Inexplicable.
Here is the point where we 2nd guess. Where were Lefty and Keegan on Saturday afternoon when they couldn’t be stopped? Couldn’t they have taken a point or a halve in the 2nd half of team play on Saturday? Why didn’t Davis Love III put them out there?
The truth is Lefty asked that he and Keegan be sat on Saturday afternoon, with the clear assumption that they could be rested and ready to possibly put the Euro’s behind the 8 ball with 2 early wins on Sunday. Davis Love III saw the play as well. It was a gamble. He went all in on his most decorated player’s intuition.
You can’t lose what you don’t you put in the middle, but you can’t win much either (Thanks for the line Rounders).
It’s easy to second guess the calls Davis made in his stint as Captain. But if any American remembered how to play golf that day, we’d view his Captaincy differently. Davis deserves this second chance. He is the man for the job.
Let me know what you think of Davis Love III pick as Captain or anything else regarding the U.S. 2016 Ryder Cup Team. There's plenty to cover and hopefully you're all as optimistic as I am.