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Davis Love named American Ryder Cup captain


Davis Love III

Davis Love III

Davis Love III

Davis Love will captain the United States Ryder Cup team at Hazeltine in 2016, the PGA of America has announced.

Love was the skipper in 2012 when the USA threw away a 10-4 lead on Saturday afternoon to lose 14.5-13.5 to Europe in what became known as the 'Miracle at Medinah'.

And he has now been handed a second chance at the job as the Americans attempt to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat following their 16.5-11.5 loss at Gleneagles in September.

Love's first act as captain at a press conference in Florida was to appoint Tom Lehman as one of his four vice-captains.

Lehman, the 1996 Open champion, captained the United States in 2006 as Europe claimed an 18.5-9.5 win at the K Club.

"I am thrilled to be the Team USA Captain and represent our country as we work to win back the Ryder Cup," said Love.

"It is a great honour to be in the position to help build the team, but our mission doesn't end there. What we accomplish in 2016 at Hazeltine must serve as the foundation for future USA Ryder Cup teams.

"As the son of a PGA Professional and representing all PGA members, I am very proud to accept this responsibility and eager to get started."

He added: "I am very pleased that Tom Lehman has accepted to serve as a vice-captain, bringing his outstanding experience and the respect of all players to our next Team," said Love.

"Tom has been a trusted friend who I can call upon to provide valuable advice as we go about preparing Team USA."

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Love was part of an 11-man task force charged to look into all aspects of the United States' approach to the Ryder Cup after they suffered an eighth defeat in the last 10 contests in Scotland.

The founding of the task force was sparked by Phil Mickelson's public criticism of 2014 captain Tom Watson immediately after the defeat in Scotland

Mickelson, who was left out of a full day's play for the first time in his Ryder Cup career on the Saturday, said: "Unfortunately we have strayed from a winning formula for the last three Ryder Cups, and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best."

That seemed to point to a second spell as captain for successful 2008 skipper Paul Azinger, with three-time Presidents Cup-winning captain Fred Couples also a strong contender.

Love was not being talked about in the same terms initially but now becomes the eighth man to captain the United States on multiple occasions, joining Walter Hagen, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Burke, Jack Nicklaus and Watson.

The 1997 US PGA champion was a popular captain in 2012 despite the defeat in Chicago which saw the home team seemingly cruising to victory after a day and a half.

But Ian Poulter's inspired run of five consecutive birdies on Saturday evening helped the Europeans take the final two points of the day and eight and a half points from the 12 singles matches on Sunday gave Jose Maria Olazabal's men a remarkable victory.

Love will go head-to-head with Darren Clarke, who was announced as Europe's captain last week ahead of Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thomas Bjorn.

Reports emerged before Clarke's appointment that Love was due to be handed a second chance at the captaincy and, speaking before the American decision was confirmed, Clarke expressed his delight at the prospect of facing his friend.

"If so that would be wonderful," he said. "We've played many practice rounds together and are very good friends. He is a gentleman and there isn't a nicer man in our sport."

Love is a 20-time winner on the PGA Tour and played on six consecutive Ryder Cup teams from 1993 to 2002, holing the winning putt at the Belfry on his debut and also tasting victory at Brookline in 1999.

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