Davis Love III feels like he could have picked any one of about eight golfers as his captain’s picks for the upcoming Ryder Cup, and that’s why he believes the United States has fielded one of its strongest teams ever. In the end, Love III picked Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Steve Stricker and Brandt Snedeker to join the eight automatic qualifiers.
Notably left off that team are Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler. Love III based his picks off of strong putters and experienced Ryder Cup players. The pick he seems to be taking the most heat for is Furyk, as the two are close friends and Furyk’s Ryder Cup record isn’t exactly fantastic. The competition takes place at the end of this month at Medinah Country Club outside Chicago. Davis Love III joined WEEI in Boston with Dennis and Callahan to discuss his captain’s picks, the toughest player to leave off the team, picking Jim Furyk, the toughest part of his job now and whether Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker will continue playing together.
What factors led to you selecting Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Steve Stricker and Brandt Snedeker?:
“We know we needed some good putters. It looks like, to me, playing in six Ryder Cups and being a co-captain for Corey last time, it just comes down to which team gets hot with the putter during the Ryder Cup. We just haven’t done that in the past. In that group, I picked three guys that are excellent putters, a lot of experience. And then, Medinah’s such a big golf course, Dustin Johnson’s playing so well and you’ve got a bomber in there, too. And he’s been putting really good since he came back.”
Who was the toughest guy to leave off the team?:
“It was really tough. There were six or eight guys that were all playing well, guys that are right there at the top of the FedEx Cup. And one of them might win the FedEx, you never know, like Billy Haas last year just came out of nowhere and won it. There’s a bunch of guys we could’ve taken and that’s the luxury we had this year. There’s so many American players playing so well. Our top eight was great and then the next eight after that were great.”
Furyk’s Ryder Cup record isn’t that great. Would you have picked him if he wasn’t a friend of yours?:
“Oh yeah. Jim Furyk, while last year at the President’s Cup he was 5-0 for Fred Couples. He is a veteran player and we really needed some steady influence on the team. He almost won the U.S. Open. … He was two swings away, really, from putting himself up in the top five in points. You need guys that understand the Ryder Cup, that putt under pressure. I thought with Tiger and Phil and Jim and Steve, we had a good core of veteran players and then a bunch of youth after that. I love this team. It’s the strongest team that we’ve ever put together.”
Now that you’ve made your picks, what’s the hardest part of your job going forward?:
“The problem is going to be sitting four guys out Friday morning. … Pairings will be pretty easy, I think. You’ve just got to get everybody in there on Friday and Saturday so when they get to Sunday, they’re ready to go in the singles matches. You don’t want to sit a Tiger Woods or a Phil Mickelson out of the match and you’ve just got to go down the list and see who’s going to sit out. … Now the fun starts; that’s the fun part. Leaving guys off the team, that was tough.”
Stricker and Woods have usually played together and play well. Is that a pairing that continues organically?:
“I think we’ve already talked about it and they do want to play together. It’s just a matter of do they want to play alternate shot, do they want to play best ball, do they want to play right out of the gate Friday morning and just keep going if they keep winning? But everyone needs one or two partners that they know they can play with so they can go practice.”