Davis Love III starts with easy trimming — the rough — for Ryder Cup at Medinah
BY HERB GOULD firstname.lastname@example.org June 18, 2012 8:42PM
Ryder Cup Captains' Press Conference at Medinah Country Club: 2012 Ryder Cup Venue
When: Sept. 25-30.
Where: Medinah Country Club in Medinah.
Format: Play takes place over three days and includes foursomes, four ball and singles match play.
Teams: Team USA vs. Team Europe. Most of the teams qualify via points lists, and the remaining spots are filled at the discretion of the respective team captains. Each team has 12 players — the top eight from the American points list plus four captain’s selections.
Record: Team USA leads the biennial event with a 25-11-2 record.
Updated: July 20, 2012 6:25AM
SAN FRANCISCO — Some things, Davis Love III knows.
One, his popularity among the membership at Medinah, where the Ryder Cup will be played Sept.
25-30, is growing. Because the rough isn’t.
‘‘Curtis Tyrrell [Medinah’s director of golf course operations] has been keeping the rough down for now,’’ Love, captain of the U.S. team, said when I asked him about the course setup. ‘‘Which I hear the members like. At least I’m doing good for them.’’
The rough is being kept short because Love also knows he’ll have a long-hitting team, ‘‘so it would probably be to our benefit not to have really deep rough.’’
The latest Ryder Cup standings, though, show a good mix of long hitters and crafty players.
Coming out of the U.S. Open, the top eight candidates to earn automatic berths are Jason Dufner, Bubba Watson, Open champion Webb Simpson, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Tiger Woods and Zach Johnson.
Other things, Love knows, can’t be known yet. Until at least some of the eight automatic qualifiers solidify, he won’t be able to dial in his four captain’s picks.
Simpson’s dramatic victory at the Olympic Club on Sunday moved him from 25th to third in the standings, demonstrating how quickly the standings can change.
That said, Love, who tied for 29th at the Open, has been getting to know the potential candidates and their games — and how they’re playing.
‘‘Until we get two or three guys locked, it’s hard to really start,’’ Love said. ‘‘But I’ve played four rounds in the last two weeks with David Toms, and I’ve played with a bunch of the young guys. I’m watching a lot of guys play. I think how they’re playing from the British Open through the Deutsche Bank is more important than how they’re playing now.’’
Toms moved up to 24th from 30th, and Jim Furyk, an accomplished Ryder Cup veteran who made a good run at the Open before fading on the back nine Sunday, moved up to 13th from 18th.
For Love, the four captain’s picks will be a balancing act after he has a grasp of the automatic qualifiers.
‘‘Two of them will be clearly obvious,’’ Love said. ‘‘Two of them will be really hard.’’
The general requirements are similar to a baseball team filling out its roster once it knows its core group.
‘‘We’re going to be plugging holes,’’ Love said. ‘‘We’ll probably have to pick an experienced guy or two. A long hitter. A great putter. Experience will play a factor. But Rickie Fowler and others have proved that you don’t have to have done it before to play well.’’
One thing Love is certain of: Chicago golf fans will turn Medinah into a raucous home advantage for Team USA. That’s especially true because the Bears conveniently will be playing at Dallas on Monday night after the Ryder Cup has finished.
In a city with ‘‘five great iconic sports teams, we’re going to have great fans,’’ Love said. ‘‘Knowledgeable fans. Loud fans. When we play in Chicago, Boston, New York, we get the hardcore sports fans. It’s always been fun playing there, whether it’s the U.S. Open, the PGA, the Western Open. They’re always into it.’’
Don’t be surprised if Medinah members, who will be able to play out of the rough this summer, are leading the cheers.