Wednesday 28 September 2016

Love happy with stars' Ryder drive

Wiliam S Callahan

Published 09/01/2016 | 02:30

Davis Love III watches his drive from the first tee during the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii (Getty)
Davis Love III watches his drive from the first tee during the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii (Getty)

US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III is delighted that the young stars of the PGA Tour are already playing the Hunger Games in anticipation of the match against Europe at Hazeline (Sept 30-Oct 2).

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Love, at 51 the oldest competitor in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii, has been impressed by the attitude of potential rookies on his team which will face Europe, captained by Darren Clarke.

Since 1995, the Europeans have won eight times, including three times in America compared with just two victories for the USA.

Love, the beaten captain in 2012 at Medinah, senses a serious mood for change among US players, even though the first tournament of 2016 has yet to be completed.

Justin Thomas, 22, winner of the CIMB Classic, said he wants to be on a winning Ryder Cup team.

In fact, he went a step further and said he would prefer to win the Ryder Cup than a Major in 2016. That's a new attitude which Love would encourage.

"We want 12 guys that say the same thing that Justin said this week. Guys have said to me over the last six months: 'I want to be on a winning Ryder Cup Team'.

"They don't say, 'I want to make your Ryder Cup team'. I think that's the difference.

"We are going to put 12 guys together that are committed to winning and forget the past.

"I bet with nine holes to go, and a two-shot lead at the Masters, he (Thomas) might not want to trade for a Ryder Cup win.

"But the attitude is right and that is, 'Hey, this is one of the biggest things for me this year is to be on a winning Ryder Cup Team'.

"That's the attitude we want. We want him (Thomas) thinking that at Kapalua, just like I'm thinking that at Kapalua," said Love.

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Ireland's Pádraig Harrington, 44, is the second oldest player in the field this week, and he has also given the Ryder Cup some thought.

"I'm literally going to have to win at least twice or a Major, so as much as I'd like to play - and it's a goal of mine - it's not necessarily on my radar.

"I've got to go out and get a win under my belt, and then I'll start thinking about it," he said.

Meanwhile, Paul Dunne, who had to withdraw from the BMW SA Open earlier in the week due to food poisoning, has received backing from a prestigious sponsor.

Yesterday, The Davy Group, which is Ireland's leading provider of wealth management, announced a two-year sponsorship agreement with Dunne. The golfer, who will play in the Joburg Open next week, commented: " It's great to be associated with a Dublin-based company, and I look forward to working with them in the months ahead."

Brian McKiernan, CEO of The Davy Group, said: "As an Irish-owned business we are delighted to support Paul as he begins his journey to compete with the best golfers in the world."

For the second day, the BMW SA Open at Glendower GC had play abandoned early due to bad weather. A total of 78 competitors, including Branden Grace who shot six birdies in the 11 holes he played, were due for a dawn start today to get the second round completed.

Grace and fellow South African Keith Horne were bracketed together on eight-under par the top of the leaderboard.

Horne had the advantage of completing 36 holes before play stopped.

BMW SA Open, Live, Sky Sports 4, 10.30am

Hyundai T'nament of Champions, Live, Sky Sports 4, 9.00pm

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