Love to follow Azinger's lead with captain's Cup picks

Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:02pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

(Reuters) - United States Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III says he will take a leaf out of 2008 skipper Paul Azinger's book before he announces his four wildcard picks for this year's competition against holders Europe.

Azinger, the most recent U.S. captain to achieve success against Europe, wanted his players to have "a vested interest" in their team at Valhalla eight years ago and he relied on the input of the automatic qualifiers for his wildcard selections.

Love, who will choose three of his captain's picks after the BMW Championship on Sept. 11 and his final selection two weeks later after the Tour Championship, plans to follow suit for the three-day event at Hazeltine, Minnesota that starts on Sept. 30.

"Paul (Azinger) has been a great help," Love said on a conference call on Monday. "He was successful (in 2008). There's guys that played for him, like Phil Mickelson, that knows what went on.

"That's what I did in 2012 is I went down the list with everybody that made it (as automatic qualifiers) on points and I said, 'What do you think, who do you like, who do you think you would pair well with?'

"I can't say it enough: It's their team. Golf is different than other sports. Mental side of it is huge."

This will be the second time Love, 52, has led the team in the biennial event as he guided the U.S. to a 10-6 lead heading into the final day in 2012 but lost by 14-1/2 points to 13-1/2 in what is known to European fans as the "Miracle at Medinah."

"If they (the U.S. players) go in there believing in what we are telling them, that they have the best team, and that they are ready to go, then they are going to play well," said Love.   Continued...

Apr 10, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Davis Love III hits out of a bunker on the 2nd hole during the final round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports