Trick of making the abnormal seem normal
As Love put it, “one shot at a time, get into the process, not the result. It sounds easy, but it’s hard to do. Each shot has the same level of importance. Well, we are going to preach that at the Ryder Cup. How are we actually going to do it?
“That’s the trick. When you walk out on the first tee and there’s 30,000 to 40,000 people and they’re all chanting, all the Bob Rotella stuff goes out the window really quick when you get really nervous and you start thinking about winning or losing. The secret is going to be: how do you turn that off?”
And, that, is the captain’s conundrum and will be the challenge that faces both Olazabal and Love.
“It’s the responsibility of the captain to make a very abnormal situation as normal as possible. Everything is so structured, (with) very little free time. It is up to the captain to prepare the players to get the best out of their games . . . then, you hope they do their jobs,” said former US captain Curtis Strange.
The legacy of Olazabal and Love will, however, be determined by the outcome.
As Torrance put it when asked when made a great Ryder Cup captain, he replied: “Winning!”
AROUND THE CAPTAINS' TABLES: SUPPORT TEAMS
Captain: Jose Maria Olazabal.
Vice-captains: Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thomas Bjorn.
What they bring to the table: One big plus is that all four vice-captains are still currently playing on tour. Clarke and McGinley – who are favoured to fight it out for the captain’s role at Gleneagles in 2014 – and Bjorn were all part of the backroom team to Colin Montgomerie at Celtic Manor two years ago.
Jimenez was on the team in 2012, but actually featured as a vice-captain to Seve Ballesteros at Valderrama back in 1997 before using that experience to go on and make a debut appearance as a player in 1999, his first of four appearances.
As a collective, there is a good balance with loads of experience. McGinley, who has captained two BI teams in the Seve Trophy, has played on three winning Ryder Cup teams and showed his input recently when sidetracking “rookie” Nicolas Colsaerts at the recent Dutch Open to advise him on what to expect: from what to do if he wakes up at 2am hungry to how to cater for ticket requests from family and friends.
Captain: Davis Love III.
Vice-captains: Fred Couples, Mike Hulbert, Jeff Sluman and Scott Verplank.
What they bring to the table: Couples – seen as the man in waiting for the job at Gleneagles – was entirely expected, but it is perhaps an indication of Love’s conservatism that old-timers Hulbert and Sluman, both 54, also form part of a grey generation backroom team.
At 48, Verplank is the youngest of the vice-captains and you have got to wonder if there will be some sort of generation gap in the team-room.
Against that, there is a growing and formidable back-up to the backroom team with basketball legend Michael Jordan officially drafted in.
“Rather than him (Jordan) sneaking around in the gallery, I want him to be seen and I want him to be in our team room and be hanging around and be a great influence,” said Love, while singer-actor Justin Timberlake and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps are also set to be on hand.