US Ryder Cup skipper Love defends Woods
25 Sep 2012 - 23:49:03
Davis Love defended Tiger Woods on Tuesday saying the 14-time major winner has been a key factor over the years and doesn't deserve a bad rap for having a losing record in the Ryder Cup.
The US team skipper says there is fine line between winning and losing a Ryder Cup match, including being partnered with someone you may or may not be compatible with or with someone who is having an off day.
"I know I messed up Tiger a couple of times so I am part of his problem," said Love, who played in a half dozen Ryder Cups between 1993-2004.
The 36-year-old Woods is considered one of the greatest golfers in history but you couldn't tell from his Ryder Cup resume. Woods has 14 losses, two halves and 13 wins in 29 career matches.
"It is tough to win, first of all," Love said Tuesday at the Medinah Country Club. "Tiger can play great and his partner not play well or the other team play extremely well.
"There's probably a lot of times in a lot of match-play tournaments where it is just a matter of who you are up against."
US veterans Phil Mickelson (P34-W11-H6-L17) and Jim Furyk (P27-W8-H4-L15) don't have stellar Ryder Cup records either. Love said for this year's Ryder Cup a player like Woods brings much more than a winning record to the table.
"I kind of throw the Jim Furyk or the Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods' record of wins and losses out," Love said. "You just ask them what do you like better, alternate-shot or best-ball, or who do you want to play with.
"There is a reason why these guys keep making teams. I don't look a whole lot at the record.
"Look at -- I mean Raymond Floyd, or you look at a lot of our great players, they don't have great Ryder Cup records. If you are .500 in Ryder Cup, you are pretty darn good."
He believes the key to Woods' success will be pairing him with the right partner.
Love still has some mixing and matching to do before deciding on his final pairings but he said Tuesday he is seriously considering partnering Woods with Steve Stricker. They were a formidable duo in Presidents Cups and went 2-1-0 in the last Ryder Cup in Wales.
"Somebody has to play in Tiger's bubble, and I think that's the challenge," Love said.
"Steve Stricker has found his way into that pairing because he can handle everything that's going on around Tiger.
"Everybody wants to be Tiger's partner; everybody wants to be Dustin's (Johnson) partner.
"They hit it a long way and they make a lot of birdies. It's easier to play with Dustin or it's easier to play with Jim Furyk than it is to pair a guy with Tiger, because you get the extra attention.
"If there's five people watching inside the ropes from the media watching me play, there's 50 watching Tiger.
"You have to have a special guy to be able to handle that. So Tiger's pretty easy. I'll just ask him if he wants to play three or four or five matches and there's a lot of guys that want to play with him.
"It is no secret Tiger likes to play with Stricker."
Love, 48, said a bigger problem is trying to decide who to leave out in the two days of team match play followed by Sunday's singles contests.
"We have a big issue, and that's who has to sit out, because they are all playing well," he said. "Every time we look at pairings, we go, 'how do you sit somebody out?' They are all playing great.
"How do you sit out the guy that just won the FedEx or the guy that just won two weeks before or the guys that are playing so well.
"That's going to be my challenge, getting everybody enough starts."
There has been some bad blood between the two sides over the years but Love says he hopes that once the final ball is struck on Sunday they can all get together and share some champagne.
"This is not a war. It's a golf match," Love said. "It is a friendly golf match that's grown a little bit since they started it and and it continues to be a friendly golf match.
"It is definitely not a war or a battle. It won't be that."