Ryder Cup captain Love to focus on friendship first

The United States captain is busy laying the groundwork for selecting his team.

Davis Love III wants players to know each other well before taking to the course.
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Davis Love III is prepared for the lobbying and politics that come with being America's Ryder Cup captain.

And to ensure he makes the best choices, he wants to be sure he knows the potential selections as well as possible.

"I want to get know these guys," Love said.

Love, who has played on six Ryder Cup teams including winning US squads in 1993 and 1999, said it helps if the players have a sense of togetherness and familiarity.

"I want Phil [Mickelson] to spend a little time with Kyle Stanley so when you go to the Ryder Cup, they know each other," Love said. "So if you have to put them together, they're not feeling each other out."

As captain, Love must select four golfers to fill out the 12-man US team that will compete against the European team at Medinah Country Club near Chicago from September 28 to 30.

The top eight Americans qualify on a points standing that concludes after the US PGA Championship. Love will make his selections a few weeks later in September. That is when the fun begins.

Tom Lehman, the US captain in 2006, remembered getting calls and texts from friends, agents and players for the Ryder Cup.

"You're aware of all that," Lehman said. "At the end of the day, guys really want to play and be on the team for all the right reasons."

Love has spoken with Lehman and other past captains such as Corey Pavin about their criteria and process.

Love remembers that Lehman put together several barbecues and gatherings during tournament weeks for months before any selections were made.

"We were bonding already," he said. "Tom was getting to know those guys."

He is looking to set up some gatherings this spring at places like the Colonial and Memorial tournaments that typically draw the top Americans.

Love's list of final candidates for those picks will take shape after the British Open, he said.

"Right now is laying the groundwork," Love said.

Love thinks his spring and summer gatherings will help break the ice. He said there are already plenty of players with similar interests who have forged bonds that will be helpful at Medinah.

"We've got a lot of camaraderie," he said.

* Associated Press

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