Captain’s Blog: Closing in on Medinah
Leading up to the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club, U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III will periodically check in with PGA.com to talk about the various things going on in his life on the course, off the course and in his Ryder Cup preparations. This is the seventh installment of Love’s, ‘Captain’s Blog,’ as told to PGA.com’s T.J. Auclair.
Since my last blog entry, I’m back from that rib injury and playing well, which I’m really excited about.
Things have been great on the course lately. I had a tie for 16th at the Memorial. The next day, I qualified for the U.S. Open. Later that week, I tied for third in Memphis and on Sunday, I tied for 29th in the U.S. Open with a 1-under 69 in the final round at a very difficult Olympic Club.
I’m happy with the way I’m hitting it right now, but just like any other competitor, I want to win. I really thought I should have won in Memphis and I think I could have won the U.S. Open. Dru, my son, was with me in Memphis. When we left there, we said there were probably 10 guys who thought they could have won. I was one of those guys. The same thing happened at the U.S. Open — one putt drops here or there, one good swing in each round, etc., we could have won. A lot of guys thought that. I think I was 10 over on the first six holes for the week like a lot of guys. If you get off to a better start, you’re right in the middle of it. It’s been a good stretch lately and I feel like I’m on the right track.
The best part of playing well is the confidence you get when others say something about it. I get a lot of confidence when I play practice rounds with great players and they tell me how well I’m swinging it. Last week at the Open, right after I hit a nice drive, I saw Judy Rankin. I went over to say hello and give her a hug and she said, “Gosh, Davis! You’ve still got it!”
One of the younger guys, Brian Harman, asked our manager Mac, “Does Davis always hit it like that?” It makes me feel good. When I was walking Olympic Club last week, I didn’t feel any different. It’s just the mental side of things you need to have under control. What was the difference with Jim Furyk through 64 holes and then through the last ones? It’s how you handle each shot mentally. When I do the same things mentally, I can compete. If I’m healthy, I can hit it well. It’s just a matter of getting the ball in the hole.
You know, I was really impressed with Webb Simpson last week. I was actually really impressed with how a lot of the American guys played on a hard, hard golf course. There were eight Americans that finished in the top 10 at the U.S. Open. That’s great. At that course, you had to be so precise and so patient. Webb had a stretch of four holes on Sunday where he got hot while everyone else was trying to hang around. He’s real patient and real confident. You don’t look at him as a methodical player. He was in control of his emotions, had a real good game plan and stuck with it. I was real impressed and we had a lot of guys get a lot of points again. I know Jim Furyk is disappointed, but he’s playing well. Webb moved up a bunch, Jim a little. I’m looking at it differently than years past. It’s exciting to have our guys playing so well.
The funny thing is our guys have been playing well the last few years. Everyone talked about how the Europeans had the momentum going into the last Ryder Cup because they were winning the majors. Well our guys were playing great too. Look at Steve Stricker. He was winning everything but the majors. Now with Bubba winning the Masters and Webb winning the U.S. Open, I think our guys are getting their due.
We’re having a hell of a year. Bill Haas is playing great, Jason Dufner is playing great. Dustin Johnson is back. I had a question on a Facebook fan chat asking, “Is Tiger going to get his game back?”
Come on! The guy has won twice and has a second this year. He’s playing great. With everyone playing well, it’s such a positive for our team. I heard a great comment about Russell Westbrook. His coach said, “You’re not their point guard, you’re my point guard and I love my point guard.”
Right now, I love my 20-25 guys. I love where it’s going.
Look at Dustin Johnson. I touched on him a little earlier. Even though he beat me in Memphis — just his second start since returning from injury — it was great to see him win. It shows that he cares. It shows that he wasn’t sitting at home chilling out while he had the back injury that kept him out of the Masters and wasn’t healed until Memorial week. He was doing whatever he could to be ready. I talked to him before and after the win. He’s excited to play and I think that was good for him. Golf’s not always easy and it can be taken away from you. He looks like a little kid again. We want him winning and getting points. Plus, he’s talking Ryder Cup.
Speaking of the Ryder Cup, we’re under 100 days until the first tee shot now. The time seems to be going by faster and faster. What happens for me is, I’m getting ready for the British Open, then, “Oh my gosh, PGA Championship — we have eight of our guys — then Captain’s picks!” The year is flying by. I get reminded of it every day. It never leaves me. Some fan, friend, Tour player, media member, every hour, they mention the Ryder Cup. I even have the logo on the case of my iPhone, so it’s literally right in front of my every day. I never lose sight of it. It’s a constant thing. I can’t wait for it. It’s like Christmas. You can’t wait for what the present is going to be. It’s right around the corner. In 27 years on Tour time flies. There’s always a tournament to get ready for, so I know it’ll be here fast.
In terms of news, we’re almost ready to announce two of our assistant captains and we’re still considering Fred Couples — who may have slipped up in an interview a few weeks back. If he can fall in line with the captain’s wishes of keeping secrets then we’ll consider him. We have 4, 5, 6 guys that want to help and be with the team. I think it’s going to be fun the next couple of months, laying out the assistant captains and thinking about captain’s picks.
I’m going to have spies out watching players and reporting back to me. I don’t want to be out there putting extra pressure on anyone. I’m almost to the point where we have a few locks. There are a few guys I’m watching. I’ve got a PGA Tour favorites list on my iPhone now, so I can keep track.
Overall, I can’t wait.