Davis Love is wasting no time trying to put the disappointment and shock of Ryder Cup defeat behind him – a defeat which he admits has left his heart hurting.
United States captain Love is playing in Las Vegas in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open this week, the first event of the PGA Tour’s Fall Series.
“I wanted to get back to playing golf, no matter what happened on Sunday,” the 48-year-old said. “I had committed that I needed to get back to my own game and it would be good for me either way. My heart hurts for the players because they put so much into it and didn’t get the result they wanted. Sunday was not good and Monday was, I think, hard for a lot of our players. It was emotional saying goodbye to most of the guys. It was a little surreal. Phil and Amy [Mickelson] were the last ones to leave – we sat there for a half an hour and I finally realised they just didn’t want to leave. I think we’re just sad it’s over. Obviously we’re stunned by the loss.”
The United States were odds-on to regain the trophy when they led 10-6 going into the 12 singles but Dustin and Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner were their only winners as Europe staged a record-equalling comeback.
“Unfortunately what we knew was going to happen was, if we got close, they [his team] were going to put too much pressure on themselves,” Love said. “One of the pressures was they didn’t want to let the captain down, like I didn’t want to let Tom Kite down or Ben Crenshaw or Lanny Wadkins.
“We might have played better Sunday tied rather than trying to protect the lead. It was an unfortunate situation for all of them to be in. They fought hard and played great the first two days, then just had kind of an off day.
“My plan was I had Brandt Snedeker and Jim Furyk and guys that putted really, really well. I didn’t plan on the Europeans putting like Brandt. They did it down the stretch and we didn’t. That was the difference.”
Snedeker, Furyk and Steve Stricker were three of Love’s four wildcards and all lost in the singles – Stricker after three defeats alongside Tiger Woods.
“Steve Stricker is the No 10 player in the world. It’s not like we took a chance on a guy,” Love added. “We didn’t really take a chance with FedEx Cup champions [Furyk won it in 2010, Snedeker the week before this year’s match]. Obviously Brandt played good after we picked him but he was playing well before. We just went with what we thought was best. I love Rickie Fowler and Bill Haas and Hunter Mahan and Nick Watney – they are the future of the Ryder Cup and maybe they would have done better – but I love the team I had and they gave it their all.”