Ryder Cup - Love made US Ryder Cup captain

Thu, 20 Jan 16:05:00 2011

Former US PGA Championship winner Davis Love III has been appointed United States captain for the 2012 Ryder Cup.

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The 46-year-old American, a veteran of six Ryder Cups as a player, will lead the US team at the 39th edition of the biennial competition, to be held at Medinah Country Club in Medinah near Chicago.

Love, who won his only Major title in the 1997 PGA Championship at Winged Foot, has long expressed his desire to captain his country against Europe.

"I am thrilled and honoured," an emotional Love said during his unveiling at Medinah Country Club. "It (the 2012 Ryder Cup) is a long, long way away but we (Love and his wife Robin) have been talking about this for a long time."

Asked to describe his leadership style, Love replied: "I'm a players' captain, if you can term it that way.

"I'm going to try to give them what they need to be successful. I'm not going to tell the best players in the world how to play golf. I'm not going to read their putts.

"I'm going to stay out of their way and let them show their talents. I think a good leader knows he's got a great team and just gets them prepared, let's them go play."

Love was one of four vice-captains to Corey Pavin in October when Europe won back the Ryder Cup by a single point at Celtic Manor in Wales and he is held in high esteem by his peers on the PGA Tour.

"To make one Ryder Cup team would make your career," Love said. "To make a few of them is a blessing. And to get to be an assistant captain was one of the highlights of my career, to be a part of the team from the inside and watch the players play.

"It is going to be an even bigger thrill for us to lead a team, to watch our team, the United States team, try to win the Ryder Cup back here in Medinah."

Love choked back tears when discussing what his captaincy would have meant to his father, a highly respected golf coach and PGA professional who died in a plane crash in 1988.

"To be named Ryder Cup captain is a thrill that I never thought I would have," he said, his eyes watering. "I would love to share that with my father. I know that somehow I am."

Love, who last competed at the Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills in 2004, did not rule out combining the captaincy with a playing role in 2012.

"What I ultimately want is the 12 best players," he said.

"And if I'm one of the best eight come the PGA Championship in 2012, then I'm going to want to play, because I don't want to leave a guy off the team that might help us win.

"And if that's me, great. I would love to make the team.

We'll cross that bridge if we get to it."

Love made his Ryder Cup debut at The Belfry in 1993 when he and Tom Kite beat Spanish heavyweights Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal 2&1 in the opening foursomes.

He ended that week by beating Italy's Costantino Rocca in the concluding singles to secure the decisive point for the Americans.

Love went on to represent his country against Europe in 1995, 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2004 while appearing on two winning teams - at The Belfry in 1993 and at Brookline in 1999.

In six Cup appearances, he earned 11 and-a-half points in 26 matches, compiling a win-loss-half record of 9-12-5.

Known for his long hitting, Love has won 20 times on the PGA Tour, most recently at the 2008 Disney Classic where he ended a title drought of more than two years.

The biggest victory of his career, however, came in the 1997 PGA Championship at Winged Foot where he coasted home by a commanding five shots.

Earlier this week, Olazabal was appointed European captain for the 2012 Ryder Cup, succeeding Scot Colin Montgomerie.

Eurosport / Reuters

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