Different strokes: Davis Love III set for Ryder Cup captaincy

Love gets another crack at Ryder Cup, Rory’s back, quote of the week and what’s in Lydia Ko’s bag?

 

USA put trust in Love for the second time

Whoever is organising the finer things of life for the respective captains at next year’s Ryder Cup in Hazeltine should ensure that Hoyo de Monterrey Double Coronas are on the bucket list, for, following Darren Clarke’s confirmation as Europe’s captain for the match, another cigar-lover in Davis Love III is set to be confirmed as his American equivalent.

Almost a week on from Clarke’s appointment, there is a general acceptance that he is the right man for the job. The leak of Love’s appointment – confirmation is due today, even if the cat was let out of the bag a week ago when the rumour mill spun out of control – hasn’t, in marked contrast, seen such acceptance stateside where the overlooking of Fred Couples is being construed as a missed opportunity.

For sure, despite their best efforts to tick all the boxes, it would seem that the PGA of America – and the task force it established, which included Love among its constituents – can do little right.

Maybe Love, who captained the USA at Medinah in 2012 when his team carried a four-point lead into the final day’s singles only to capitulate to Jose Maria Olazabal’s inspired team, will actually prove to be the right man for the job at hand. It’s just that the process of the USA captain’s selection is providing more grist for the mill to those, and there are many, who believe the Americans have lost the template that served them so well for years.

Pádraig Harrington’s tongue-in-cheek observations to Sky Sports about what happens “when you let the inmates run the asylum”, his take on the task force opting for one of their own for the gig, hit the nail on the head – at least to those of us looking in from the outside!

The very reason for establishing a task force in the first place was for the Americans to bring about change, the need for which was highlighted by Phil Mickelson’s post-match comments about Tom Watson’s captaincy.

The rights or the wrongs of Mickelson’s take on Watson’s style of captaincy is a debate which almost five months on should have run its course. But it hasn’t, with Lee Trevino recently rowing in with his tuppence worth on the subject.

For sure, Mickelson’s ears must be red wherever he goes these days; but at least he had the guts to man up and actually take his place on the 11-man task force which, we are led to believe, has come up with the “novel” idea of returning to a past captain in Love to inspire.

It seems that someone who has experienced defeat been on the defeated side

side of things is thought to be more likely to have the answers second time around and less likely to repeat mistakes. Hence, Love’s return.

There are those, of course, who firmly believe the role of the captain is overplayed. After all, it is the 12 players on each team who must go out and win matches. Still and all, as smooth as the European captaincy selection proved to be, the likely coronation of Love as a captain for a second stint means that the USA has managed to put pressure on itself before a club is swung in anger.

Quote of the week

I think he’s struggling more between his ears than he is any place else”

- Jack Nicklaus on the problems being experienced by Tiger Woods, who is on an extended “sabbatical” from tournament golf. Although he lives in the Jupiter area of Florida, Woods has not entered this week’s Honda Classic and doesn’t qualify for next week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship in Doral. He is next expected to appear in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

By the numbers: €62,491

Peter Lawrie has won more prizemoney on tour this season – playing on sponsors’ invites - than he did in all of last year. The Dubliner has so far won €62,491 in the six events he has played on the European Tour’s 2015 schedule, compared to a total of €56,040 won in 30 tournaments in 2014 when he lost his tour card.

Rory back in action

He’s back! Rory McIlroy, who had legal matters to attend to in the aftermath of his win in the Dubai Desert Classic followed some downtime in Florida, resumes tournament play in the Honda Classic.

Twitter talk

It marks his first appearance of the season on the PGA Tour and former world number one David Duval doesn’t believe McIlroy’s time away from competition will lessen his sharpness in any way.

“Firing on all cylinders, you think, how is anybody going to beat him?” wondered Duval.

McIlroy’s appearance in the Honda – an event he won in 2012 and lost in a play-off to Russell Henley last year – marks the serious start of his build-up to the US Masters. He plans a three-week stint of action, starting with the Honda and also taking in the WGC-Cadillac and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Graeme McDowell and Pádraig Harrington, playing for a fifth straight week, are also in the field. On the European Tour, four Irish players, Darren Clarke Peter Lawrie, Kevin Phelan and Gareth Maybin are competing in the Joburg Open in South Africa.

IMG add new stars

Far from allowing any grass to grow under its feet in its new life, IMG – which was acquired by WME in a $2.2 billion deal at the tail-end of 2013 – continues to move with the times and has strengthened its position as the leading sports agency by acquiring US-company Icon, who number Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson among its clients.

Guy Kinnings, the global head of golf at IMG, announced the acquisition of a company he described as “a premier agency with the respect of everybody in the golf industry . . . (the) announcement further signals the growth that our golf division has enjoyed recently and we are excited to carry this momentum through 2015 and beyond.”

In its new guise, IMG has been proactive in adding a string of players to its client list: Patrick Reed, the American Ryder Cup player, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and the up-and-coming Italian Renato Paratore have all recently signed with IMG as has women’s world number one Lydia Ko.

Know the rules

Q: A and B were partners in a foursome stroke play competition. At the conclusion of the round, A recorded on the score card that his handicap was eight strokes, but mistakenly and without B’s knowledge, recorded B’s handicap as 10 strokes, whereas B knew that his handicap was nine. The mistake affected the number of strokes received by the side, but was not discovered until later.

A: The side should be disqualified for returning a score card on which B’s recorded handicap was higher than that to which he was entitled and this affected the number of strokes received (Rule 6-2b). Since B knew that his handicap was nine, the fact that the competition had closed makes no difference.

In the bag

Lydia Ko

(Australian Women’s Open winner)

Driver:

Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 Double Black Diamond (9 degrees)

3-wood:

Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 (14 degrees)

4-wood:

Callaway Big Bertha (18 degrees)

20-degree hybrid:

Callaway X2 Hot Pro

23-degree hybrid:

Callaway X2 Hot Pro

25-degree hybrid:

Callaway X2 Hot Pro

6-9 Irons: Callaway Apex Pro

Pitching wedge:

Callaway Apex Pro (48 degrees)

Sand wedge:

Callaway Mack Daddy 2 Tour Grind (54 degrees)

Lob wedge:

Callaway Mack Daddy 2 Tour Grind (60 degrees)

Putter:

Odyssey Tank Cruiser 330

Ball:

Callaway Speed Regime 3

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