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Ryder Cup: Wait is over for captains Davis Love III, Jose Maria Olazabal

U.S. Ryder Cup captaDavis Love III wants whEuropean captaJose MariOlazabal has — Ryder Cup. | Ross Kinnaird~Getty Images

U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III wants what European captain Jose Maria Olazabal has — the Ryder Cup. | Ross Kinnaird~Getty Images

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Updated: October 26, 2012 2:21PM

Ryder Cup captains Davis Love III and Jose Maria Olazabal walked Monday from the front lawn of ­Medinah Country Club’s clubhouse to the media center, about a Bubba Watson drive away.

Both donning blazers, they freely chatted with one another, although there was one discernible difference.

Olazabal cradled the golden Ryder Cup in his left arm.

The U.S. team has the historical edge, but the Europeans have won four of the last five Cups and nine of the last 13.

“I’ve got a lot of sting; we’ve all got a lot of sting from not winning enough,” Love said of the American players. “They’ve got it. [Olazabal] got off the bus with the Cup. We want to be in that role next time.”

Since Europe edged the United States 14½-13½ at Celtic Manor in Wales two years ago, Love and Olazabal have been on a goodwill tour, promoting golf and connecting with some of their top players. While they’ve made several trips to Chicago, many for the sake of diplomacy, Love and Olazabal are finally here for the competition.

“It’s been a long two-year journey for us, but it really has been a lot of fun,” Love said. “I can’t tell you how many moments I’ve had in the last week or two that it really hit me how much fun it is and how exciting it is and what an honor it is.”

These teams are considered the strongest ever, with all 24 players ranked among the top 36 in the world. But none of the U.S. players has a winning record at the Ryder Cup. Eight of the Europeans do.

Naturally, both captains took a different stance on winning versus losing.

“They ask me, ‘What’s the plan?’ So I think it’s great,” Love said of his players. “Obviously, it’s winning and losing. But they’re focused on, ‘How do we do it?’ ”

Olazabal, meanwhile, downplayed the records and highlighted the obvious talent on both sides.

“This is a new Ryder Cup,” he said. “We are playing here against a very strong team. We are playing away. The crowds are going to be rooting for the home team really strong, so, in that regard, we have to be prepared for that.

“I think both teams are pretty much even and it’s going to be a close match. I don’t see any favorites.”

Players started arriving Monday, and they’ll have interviews and begin practice rounds today at Medinah. The captains will spend the coming days communicating and connecting with their players and preparing their lineup for the matches, which begin Friday.

“It’s not just a three-day golf match,” Love said. “You build relationships in this event that you don’t build anywhere else. Friendships. Respect for your competitors that you don’t gain in a regular tournament.

“These guys are going to have moments out there that will change their careers and that they will remember the rest of their lives.”

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