Virginia Golfer May / June 2015 - Page 36

The Virginia Golfer Conversation Love is admittedly looking forward to representing his home country at the forefront of the 2016 Ryder Cup Matches. know the guys and talk to them out there. My son is the same age as Jordan Spieth, so I know that whole category from the 20-year-olds all the way up to guys who can make the team at an older age. VG: Players know what to expect from D avis Love III currently ranks in the top 10 on the PGA Tour in total driving, which is pretty good for a 51-year-old who has required neck and foot surgeries on his aging body. Next season will be his 30th as a fulltime member on the regular tour. He has collected 20 victories, including the 1997 PGA Championship, two Players Championships and registered 30 runner-up finishes. Though his last victory came in 2008, Love still believes that he’s capable of getting that 21st career victory before eventually “retiring” to play full time amongst his peers on the Champions T our. More importantly to Love, however, is that he will complete that 30th season by captaining the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 2016 for the second time as the chosen leader by the PGA of America’s Task Force. The group is determined to turn around America’s flailing fortunes in the biennial matches against Europe. Love talks about that second chance as well as his future and legacy in connection with the game. VIRGINIA GOLFER: How’s your health and recovery from foot surgery going? 34 V I R G I N I A G O L F E R | M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 5 34_VSGA_MayJune15.indd 34 DAVIS LOVE III: I’m encouraged most days with how much progress I’m making. I had all kinds of bad stuff going on so I finally had to just suck it up and get it fixed. My first week back might actually be in Des Moines (Champions T event June 5-7). If I wasn’t our hitting the ball well, was losing distance or felt like I couldn’t compete ball striking wise, I’d probably already be out playing the Champions T our. But the few events that I’ve played I’ve realized that if I putt well enough to win on the Champions T our, I can win on the regular tour. Hopefully with short game practice coming up I can get that a little bit better and be able to compete. I am definitely not going to be making a farewell tour or just hang out. When I say, ‘I have no chance,’ then I’ll completely make a switch over. VG: Is part of you remaining a PGA Tour regular have to do with being able to assess firsthand your potential Ryder Cup players? LOVE: A little bit of the thinking is that I’m still connected. I’d been Ryder Cup captain, was (Presidents Cup) assistant at Muirfield and was going to be an assistant again for Jay Haas this year. I’m playing out (on the PGA T our), VG: Talk about the Ryder Cup Task Force. LOVE: My ultimate goal going into the Task Force was to have somebody let me come to the Ryder Cups and help out—drive a cart, give input, handle the wet rainsuits. Somebody behind the scenes. It went from me offering whatever I could do to help all the way to me being captain. It was the same thing Tiger said, along with Furyk, Phil and Steve Stricker. We told the PGA of America, ‘We will do whatever it takes to win.’ They opened a door and we charged through it. Their mindset was, ‘You just tell us what we can do.’ They said, ‘You guys can do pretty much whatever you want if you think it’s going to work.’ VG: You and other tour players, past and present, have been closely engaged every step of the way. LOVE: As a group from Raymond Floyd to Rickie Fowler, we came up with a philosophy that entails the thought, ‘This is what we all think will work if we just do it year after year after year.’ Phil likes to come up with odds and he said, ‘Look, we’re not going to win 10 in a row. I guarantee that. But let’s do this, run a system, get everybody engaged and try to win seven out of 10.’ If we do the same things over and over, we can have some success. If we keep changing every two years and doing something different, we’re just spinning our wheels. I looked to Tiger and Phil and said, ‘If you guys w w w. v s g a . o r g 5/8/15 11:49 AM MICHAEL COHEN/USGA PHOTO ARCHIVES Tour veteran Davis Love III, the future leader of the American Ryder Cup team, is already showing why the U.S. can trus