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Ryder Cup captain Love: 'We need to go somewhere away from golf'

Might some of the world's best golfers soon be testing their fishing skills in one of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes?

Davis Love III met with the media Wednesday afternoon in California, where he's making his 29th career start Thursday in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. But much of the 30-minute session centered on the Ryder Cup, which comes to Hazeltine National in Chaska this fall.

That's been a common tenor in the time since he's been named captain for an American squad that has only won twice since 1999.

"I hear it every day from the fans [when] I’m out on Tour or in an airport, 'bring back the Cup ... we want you guys to win. You’re due for a win,'" Love said. "We view it as an opportunity. [Jason] Dufner said it to me last year: ‘I want to play on a winning Ryder Cup team. That’s a goal of mine.’ That’s the case for a lot of these guys. They don’t care what’s happened in the past. These guys are fresh."

Love said it's possible half of the 12-member American team will be Ryder Cup rookies. And that means a good dose of team building is ahead in the eight months before the festivities begin in Chaska.

"Dinner, golf, fishing," Love said. "Focus [on players] at the top and work my way through. I don't want to wait until we have a clothes fitting at the Memorial [in June]."

Pressed for details, Love noted it's still too early to get to Minnesota for any kind of preparation.

"Hopefully in March the snow will start melting at Hazeltine and we can get back up there," he said. "We can go to a hockey game up there next week but I don’t think we can go to the golf course quite yet."

But as the weather gets warmer, Love plans several visits. And don't be surprised if he brings guests.

Along with Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker, Minnesotan Tom Lehman is one of Love's vice captains. The two talked in Hawaii last month about pre-Ryder Cup plans.

"We sat down and ironed some things out," Love said. "We don’t want to put pressure on these guys, we want to take pressure off. Figure out a way to make them more comfortable next 33 weeks.

"Tom and I are thinking about what our plans will be for the summer. We’re working on dinners. The technical, behind-the-scenes things we’re going to continue to work on. Tiger and some of the guys were thinking maybe we need to go somewhere away from golf; fishing, whatever. Just hang out. And talk about team building, just like any good company or team does. Maybe take the caddies. Fun, friendly and relaxed. Get all the business out of the way. The guys know how to prepare for golf. So just go have fun, and get to know each other a little better before August and September."

Kevin McHale opens up about his firing in Houston: 'I went 'Oof.' '

Kevin McHale appeared as a guest analyst on Inside the NBA Tuesday night in his first appearance since being fired as coach of the Houston Rockets in November. 

The former Rockets coach and longtime vice president of basketball operations for the Timberwolves joked that he would have rather been on the sideline for the Rockets-Golden State game Tuesday night before opening up about his shock of being fired just 11 games into the season. 

"I was (stunned)," McHale told host Ernie Johnson and analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal. "I told our guys at the end of training camp ... 'We're a month, six weeks away from our team kind of gelling and playing well.' so we got off to a tough start and I came in and I sat down and they said 'You're fired.' ... I went 'Oof.' I was like 'Wow.' It really, really surprised me. I did not think that was the case."

McHale, the former Gophers star from 1976-1980, started his career with the Wolves as a TV analyst and special assistant in 1994. He also coached the Wolves briefly in 2004-2005 and again in 2008-2009.

On Tuesday night, McHale said "I've never had a team that I've been with coaching that I have not been able to get motivated and get going and winning. ... But it was so short: 11 games."

McHale coached the Rockets to 56 wins, a Southwest Division championship and a trip to the Western Conference Finals last season.

"I thought that might have bought me a little bit more time, but I guess not," McHale said. "If you're name is not Gregg Popovich, I'll tell you what, rent, don't buy. Because [coach firings are] happening fast."

Watch the full interview:

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