x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Davis Love III wants everyone to be friends

The US Captain does not want bad blood between the teams, while Martin Kaymer has said he has "woken up again".

USA's captain Davis Love III, right, and European team captain Jose Maria Olazaba.
USA's captain Davis Love III, right, and European team captain Jose Maria Olazaba.

Davis Love III, the United States captain, expects this week's Ryder Cup contest at Medinah to be a friendly one - and stresses it is certainly not a war.

Military metaphors have often been used to refer to the action in the biennial contest between the US and Europe in the past, with some of Love's predecessors keen to embrace them.

The 1991 clash at Kiawah Island became known as the 'War by the Shore' while the 'Battle of Brookline' in 1999 led to bad blood between the opposing players.

There were more combat references when the US last won at Valhalla four years ago, a match preceded by an air force jet flyover, but Love this time wants to emphasise the game's underlying sense of fun.

Love said: "The flyovers are cool, just because it's loud. I think we'll probably see one again.

"But that's from football games and other things, that's just kind of cool.

"I never liked the 'War by the Shore' title and you've been hearing me say it over and over again - I've been so impressed with Jose Maria [Olazabal, Europe captain].

"Obviously he exudes class in the game, and we have had an easy relationship so far. It's been fun.

"This is not a war.

"It's a golf match, it's a friendly golf match that's grown a little bit since they started it, and it continues to be a friendly golf match."

Love, 48, has played in six previous Ryder Cups and worked as a vice captain to Corey Pavin at Celtic Manor two years ago.

He enjoys a good relationship with the Europeans and wants that to continue through the competition that begins on Friday.

He said: "Thomas Bjorn [Europe vice captain] can walk over into my room and ask me a question, like he's done today, and bring me my package that he got in his room, and it's friendly.

"There's no problem with it. This is not a war, and it won't be that."

*****

There might be no better news for Europe's Ryder Cup team this week than Martin Kaymer saying he has "woken up again".

Just a month ago the former world number one was the biggest worry for captain Jose Maria Olazabal.

Kaymer had not had a top-10 finish since April and was clinging onto the last automatic spot on the side amid rumours that he might even pull out of the match.

You never would have guessed it from his mood after yesterday's opening practice session in Chicago.

Although the 27-year-old German, playing with debutant Nicolas Colsaerts, lost to Peter Hanson and Francesco Molinari, he said: "All of a sudden on the Friday of Holland (three weeks ago) I made a little click in my swing again.

"I'm very, very happy that it came along just in time for the Ryder Cup - it was a big relief."

*****

Attending a Ryder Cup but not playing has been the catalyst for three members of Europe's team who will seek to defend the trophy this week in Chicago.

For Graeme McDowell it was doing radio commentary at the 2006 Ryder Cup at the K Club which ignited his desire to be a part of the fiercely contested biennial team event.

For Sergio Garcia it was being an assistant to Colin Montgomerie for the victory at Celtic Manor in 2010, after failing to qualify, which kickstarted the revival of his career.

And for Scotland's Paul Lawrie, it was also being in Wales to do TV commentary as McDowell sealed a dramatic one-point win in the first Monday finish in tournament history that turned his life around.

"About Celtic Manor time I wasn't putting the time in that I should have been putting in," Lawrie said after he and Garcia were coincidentally "whipped" by McDowell and Rory McIlroy in the first practice round at Medinah on Tuesday.

"I had let my game and myself kind of go a little bit. I was thinking about winding down a wee bit, playing a bit less. And I think the Ryder Cup was the biggest sort of....I was sitting there talking about guys hitting shots in a tournament that I wanted to play in again."

Wanting to play against, and still be able to beat, his two sons Craig and Michael - who are both good players - was further motivation, but Lawrie added: "But I think commentating there was the biggest factor. You realise how big a tournament this is. You realise how huge it is.

"So you knuckle down and you do the work that's needed to be done. I got a bit of confidence from winning in Malaga at the start of last year and things have kind of gone on.

"I also want to be involved at Gleneagles (for the 2014 contest), so if I want to do that I think I had to get in this team to make it easier to get in the next one. So getting in this one has been pretty big for me."

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