I’m going to have a difficult time maintaining the required objectivity as part of Team Star Tribune when the 2016 Ryder Cup is held at Hazeltine National.
First, the Europeans always seem to have a more effervescent group of personalities in this competition, and that surely will be case in 2016 with Rory McIlroy leading the way.
The United States does have a chance to improve in that area, with Rickie Fowler coming out of his cliché-spewing shell last season, and this Jordan Spieth lad has an edge to him that I enjoy.
Overall, as a reporter, it’s always been easier to enjoy the Europeans – never more so than when covering the 1997 event at Valderrama in Spain, and watching the relentless Seve Ballesteros dash about to offer instructions as captain.
The Euros upset the first U.S. team to have Tiger Woods, 14 ½-13 ½, and one of the big wins was when Ryder Cup rookie Darren Clarke and perennial star Colin Montgomerie defeated the pairing of Fred Couples and Davis Love III.
Four Ryder Cups later, at the K Club in Ireland in 2006, Clarke went 3-0 in Europe’s victory. This came six weeks after Clarke’s first wife Heather had died. If you don’t remember the red eyes and wonderful celebration of Clarke and the Euros after that one, you’re not much of a Ryder Cup follower.
As for Love III, I covered 20-some Masters starting in 1982, nine U.S. Opens, a handful of PGAs, one British Open and three Ryder Cups, and Davis played in most of them.
Love’s father was a popular instructor at Sea Island, Ga. (and elsewhere) before dying in a plane crash in 1988. That always gave Love III favorite son status among Georgians when he played at the Masters.
There was a lot of “Go Davis’’ in 1995 as he was making a push for a Masters title a few days before his 31st birthday. Trouble was, there was an even more emotional drama taking place:
Ben Crenshaw’s mentor Harvey Penick died and Ben flew to Texas to give the eulogy right before the tournament. Crenshaw wound up winning by a stroke over Love.
Two decades later, it remains the most-miraculous victory in golf that I’ve seen. Crenshaw had been playing lousy for some time before that Masters, and he has played worse than that (including on the Champions Tour) ever since.
To me, Love always has come across as being put upon by having other human beings on the planet – not the affable-grump type, but as the woe-is-me type.
I don’t know. He gets to me. When he was in contention down the stretch of golf tournaments that I was watching on television, I found myself rooting against Love in the same manner that all we righteous Americans root against Duke in NCAA tournament basketball games.
Davis acts like a guy who wants all the bounces. Duke’s coach gets most of the calls, and acts like a guy who thinks he deserves them all.
And now the Ryder Cup captains have been determined for Hazeltine:
Darren Clarke, the most-affable of Irishmen, has been announced as the leader of Europe. Davis Love III, who was in charge for the United States’ great choke at Medinah in 2012, will soon be announced as the U.S. captain.
How can the PGA of America put Minnesotans in this position, of rabidly rooting for an outcome that is the equivalent of rooting for Duke to win the NCAA title?
I protest. If the PGA wanted to give someone a chance for redemption as a Ryder Cup captain, why not Tom Lehman? Then, we could be in this together.