5 Things – The Ryder Cup gloves are off as Love makes outrageous claimSeptember 26, 2016 News & Tour
Captain Love sings his team's praises, Westwood questions Woods' input, Poulter on the wind up and Mickelson finds new driver
1) Love – ‘This is the best golf team, maybe, ever assembled’… Err, OK
The silly talk has already started ahead of the Ryder Cup with Davis Love claiming that his American side might be the best EVER.
Get that. Despite having just one rookie and therefore a collection of players who have made up the majority of the last three successive losing teams Captain Love is pretty full of his side’s chances.
“We don’t have to do anything superhuman, we’re a great golf team,” Love said on ‘Fairways of Life’. “This is the best golf team, maybe, ever assembled. “You need to stand up there, smash it down the middle and take off walking and let the other team know we are going to dominate you.”
Rory McIlroy was asked what he thought of Love’s bold claim and with more than a smattering of sarcasm he said: “Definitely assembled the best task force ever, that’s for sure. Look, it’s a great team. They have a lot of very talented players in there. They’re obviously quite confident. So you know what, it’s up to us to go there and try to upset the odds.”
Johnny Miller, who was part of the ‘81 side which might be the best ever, added: “No. But it is a really good team. It’s like a boxing match and [Love] is just throwing it out there. Normally you don’t say that. Somebody must have said, ‘I’ll bet you $100 you won’t say that.’”
No pressure there then lads! https://t.co/vNA9FyGDMB
— Lee Westwood (@WestwoodLee) September 23, 2016
2) Westwood questions merits of vice-captain Woods
Tiger being a Ryder Cup vice-captain is going to be very odd, a bit like Sergio Garcia doing the same job at Celtic Manor but then magnified about a hundred times.
Davis Love has been busy singing Tiger’s praises over his attention to detail but Lee Westwood has questioned the decision to include the 14-time Major winner.
“I don’t know what impact there will be from having Tiger around. They have always struggled to find a partner for Tiger that’s been successful,” he told ESPN. “He could have an adverse effect in the team room. People have always seemed to try to do too much when they have partnered him. It might be different if he’s one of the vice captains – you don’t know.”
Westwood also had a few words to say about Love’s captaincy last time around at Medinah as well as the thinking behind Bubba’s omission.
“His captaincy at Chicago was great for a couple of days,” added Westwood. “I don’t know if something went wrong on Sunday, or the team didn’t play very well for some reason, but that will be in the back of their minds.
“There seem to have been issues about team spirit and chemistry. Love has not picked Bubba Watson and I don’t know what that does for team spirit – he was first outside the points qualification and is No. 7 in the world.”
3) Poulter turns quizmaster/wind-up merchant
Ian Poulter might not be playing at Hazeltine (he is an assistant) but it hasn’t stopped him winding up the Americans with a Twitter quiz a week ahead of the matches.
‘The Postman’ posted a picture of a Ford Crown Victoria, asking what the significance of the car was, followed by emojis of, among other things, a trophy and party hats.
— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) September 22, 2016
The car was in fact the car that was used to ferry Rory McIlroy to the Ryder Cup on the Sunday at Medinah. And McIlroy’s excuse for being so late? The boy wonder claimed a confusion over Eastern and Central time zones, nearly a week into the event.
The car was auctioned in 2013 and there is a thought that Poulter, a fan of buying cars, might be the new owner.
— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) September 22, 2016
4) Phil solves driver conundrum
Phil Mickelson will head to Hazeltine with a new(ish) driver after a recce of the Ryder Cup course rang a few alarm bells.
The left-hander had been using a driver shaft that was 1.5 inches shorter than normal in the hope of finding more fairways but, after seeing the length required in Minnesota, he reverted to a longer shaft albeit a slightly different one than previously used.
“When I got to Hazeltine and saw how long it was, I knew I needed to add some distance,” he said.
Mickelson was experimenting with three different shafts, the first one resulted in hitting only one of 14 fairways at East Lake but then he settled on one he liked. And his scores reflected the improvement – 74 72 69 66 – ad he claims he had found an extra 20 yards.
“I hit cuts like I did in 2004 when I drove it well and they were soft cuts I was able to swing it to the target and the ball went there. It was great.
“That’s why playing a practice round is so critical. You realise what the course set-up is, and what your bag make-up and club make needs to be. You work on the shots you’ll be hitting. You have time to prepare for those. Had I not gone and seen it, I’d be showing up there Monday or Tuesday with a short driver panicking that I need that extra 20 yards. So it was a good thing.”
5) No need to change the putter
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) September 23, 2016