Davis Love III brings Ryder Cup buzz to RSM Classic
There was a special guest accompanying Davis Love III to his RSM Classic press conference on Wednesday -- the Ryder Cup.
The cup has been a constant companion since Love received it from American team member Jimmy Walker a few days ago. It's been a hit from everyone in attendance at the Classic's Pro-Am draw party at Love's house Tuesday to Love's granddaughter, who found a new home for the Cup in her tent at Love's house.
"I didn't take it out on the course with me but I've had it with me pretty much everywhere else," Love said. "We've enjoyed having it around, and it's been great to let Zach (Johnson) see it and (Matt Kuchar) and (Brandt Snedeker) to share in that experience. It's fun to have it around this week."
Snedeker and Isles pros Kuchar and Johnson played for the U.S. as Love captained the Americans to their first victory over the European squad since 2008. All four players will tee it up this week at the RSM.
The cup was prominently featured on Walker's Instagram account while it was in his possession. Walker took the cup out on the town, including dinner, and there are several of the Ryder Cup trophy cozied next to the Wannamaker Trophy, which Walker took home when he won the PGA Championship in August.
"I'm going to have to step it up," Love said. "It's been in the back of my pickup truck, around all of the island. But I think the strangest place is my grandbaby ran off with it into her little tent in our house."
The cup was also the hit of the Pro-Am party, even more so than its illustrious host.
"Hundreds of people there and they all wanted their photo with the cup," Love said. "They've all had their picture with me, but they wanted their picture with the cup. I cannot put it down. I actually put it down for a few minutes last night on a podium in the front (of the house) and I turned around and came back and people had it and were taking pictures with it. So it's been neat to have it."
Even though it's been almost two months since the win, Love said he still gets emotional whenever he talks about it.
"I could be talking to you guys or friends or watching it on TV and I still get emotional," Love said. I think if I sat down and watched the whole thing it would really all come out. I've only watched the very end, but I can't tell a Bubba Watson story or a Ryan Moore story without the emotion coming out."
It was Love's second time as captain. The first time, in 2012, the U.S. had a 10 to 6 lead heading into the singles matches on Sunday.
But the Europeans stormed back to win 14-1/2 to 13-1/2.
The Americans also came up short across the Atlantic, losing 14-1/2 to 13-1/2 in 2010 and 16-1/2 to 11-1/2 in 2014.
"It was a long six years for us as Ryder Cuppers," Love said. "It was tough to take losing time after time. It was tough because I wanted so badly to help Corey in Wales (in 2010). Every year it seemed to pile more and more on the players."
The U.S. got off to a strong start, winning all four of Friday's morning foursomes. The Europeans rallied to cut the lead to 5-3 after the afternoon fourball matches. The American lead was down to one after Saturday's morning foursomes, but the Americans rallied in afternoon fourball matches and took a 91/2 to 61/2 lead into Sunday's singles matches.
The Americans closed strong this time, winning seven of the 12 singles matches to win the cup back. Love said the changes the U.S. made from the Ryder Cup Task Force formed after the 2014 loss showed up on Sunday, and he gave credit to his vice captains -- Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Tom Lehman, Jim Furyk and Watson.
"We had an incredible group," Love said. "That was the challenge they gave me -- 'We would like you to be Ryder Cup captain' and I said the only way I'm going to do it is if you guys help me more. We all pitched in and pulled together for a year and a half and I think we gave the team a little bit more of a sense that we were organized, prepared and supportive of what they needed."
The task force looked back at what past winning captains like Tom Kite, Lanny Wadkins and Paul Azinger had done. Love said they took what worked and built on that for 2016.
"In years past, there was a captain that did his own thing," Love said. "Then you would play the matches and get another captain, and he would do his own thing.
"Paul Azinger really started something of kind of a system of getting his players ready, and we really didn't grab a hold of that and use it year and year."
The key, according to Love, was something that can doom the greatest of sports endeavors -- communication. He used a story about Woods calling up Johnson and talking with the Isles pro for nearly an hour about strategy to amplify his point. It was the first time Johnson could remember getting a call from Woods.
"That's the difference -- Tiger's calling Zach to talk about the Ryder Cup (and) get organized and get a game plan going," Love said. "When the team communicates and is all on the same page, you can be more prepared and successful."
The mantle to defend the title will fall to the next captain, and Love said whoever is chosen will be working from a success blueprint.
And with his Ryder Cup duties in the rearview, Love can turn his attention back to playing golf.
"It's been a fun year. It's been nice to be a part of so many successful things," he said.
This article was written by Buddy Hughes from The Brunswick News, Ga. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.