Saturday 1 October 2016

Team USA target Ryder domination

Published 13/09/2016 | 02:30

Davis Love yesterday named three of his four wild-card selections Photo: Hannah Foslien / Getty Images
Davis Love yesterday named three of his four wild-card selections Photo: Hannah Foslien / Getty Images

USA Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III wants to see America dominate the Ryder Cup for the next ten years, starting at Hazeltine this month.

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Love, speaking after the announcement that Rickie Fowler, JB Holmes and Matt Kuchar had gained selection as captain's picks, highlighted the USA's long-term plans for the biennial event which Europe has dominated in the last two decades.

Eight times the Americans have fallen to Europe in 10 Ryder Cup matches dating back to 1995, and they have hit rock bottom after three successive defeats in Celtic Manor (2010), Medinah (2012) and Gleneagles (2014).

Love was the losing skipper four years ago when Jose Maria Olazabal's Europe pulled off 'the miracle at Medinah' and he sees a big difference between 2012 and preparations for Hazeltine.

Designing

"The difference is we have a team, from the PGA of America through the Ryder Cup Committee and the veteran players, in designing a plan that's going to put us in the best position to win the Ryder Cup, not only this year, but beyond," he said.

"Phil (Mickelson) kept saying 'we want to try and win the next 10 Ryder Cups'.

"That's probably unrealistic but let's put ourselves in the best position to win as many of them as possible, and if we win seven out of 10 that's pretty good odds.

"We've had a lot of great input, starting from Rickie Fowler all the way back to Raymond Floyd back in 2014.

"What do we need to do? What's the plan? It's not Davis Love's plan, it's not Phil Mickelson's plan, it's Team USA's plan and it's been a lot of fun helping to formulate that, and helping putting it in motion."

The USA skipper dodged a direct answer about how Bubba Watson, the world No 7, reacted to being omitted from yesterday's three wildcard selections.

His last hope is to be the fourth pick, which Love will announce on Monday week after the Tour Championship, the final event in the FedEx Cup series.

Watson may not be universally popular with his peers, but at least he has won three matches in three Ryder Cup appearances, compared with Fowler who has yet to win a match in two Ryder Cups.

When asked about Watson, Love replied: "We've still got that other pick hanging out there. I get to make three fun phone calls yesterday, and one more fun phone call.

"The rest of them aren't going to be any fun so, we're prepared for that. We're going to make four guys happy and eight or ten unhappy."

Tiger Woods, who hopes to return to playing action next month, has proved an enthusiastic vice-captain alongside Jim Furyk, Tom Lehman and Steve Stricker in the captain's backroom team.

"Tiger's been amazingly involved. He's been very thoughtful the way he's handled the 'Tiger Woods factor' of being an influence but also a distraction," said Love.

"He's just been willing to do anything we asked, just like Jim, and Tom, and Steve.

"But his role has been more on strategy, more on helping us to pick out pairings, pick our game-plans for actually playing the matches and playing the golf course."

Capturing

Furyk has not given up hope of capturing that fourth pick and playing in his 10th Ryder Cup, despite his acceptance of a vice-captain's role up to now.

Love refused to rule Furyk out, although most outside observers reckon there's no chance of him playing, despite the historic 58 he shot at The Travelers Championship.

Said Love: "Yes, there's been some awkward conversations with him, but we told him not to put his clubs away for the off-season yet."

Irish Independent

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