Love returned to Ryder captaincy despite Medinah crash

Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:49pm EST
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - The naming of Davis Love III as captain of the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup team was well received by his peers but it may be a tougher sell to fans who still have nightmares over the epic collapse he oversaw at Medinah in 2012.

Despite other candidates without a blemish the size of Love's on their resumes, the man who captained the worst U.S. finishing-day flop in Ryder Cup history was given a chance to atone for the devastating defeat.

Besides bringing back bad memories for U.S. fans, Love's hiring even raised the eyebrow of world number one Rory McIlroy, a member of the winning European side at Medinah.

"It came as a big shock when they announced yesterday Davis was going to be the next U.S. captain," McIlroy said on Wednesday.

Others championed to lead the Americans at Hazeltine outside Minneapolis included Paul Azinger, who in 2008 was the last U.S. captain to win the Cup, and three-time Presidents Cup-winning captain Fred Couples.

In 2012, it was the "Miracle at Medinah" or "Meltdown at Medinah" depending on one's perspective of the 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 comeback win by Europe, winners of eight of the last 10.

Love created a strong team atmosphere in the event outside Chicago and had his men poised to win entering Sunday's singles with a massive 10-6 lead. But he watched helplessly as Europe took a shocking 8 1/2 points from the 12 singles matches.

Critics pointed to two Love miscues in the competition.   Continued...

PGA golfer Davis Love III tees off with an iron during practice for the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports