August 24, 2015 / 3:02 AM / 4 years ago

U.S. captain Love keen to play 2016 Ryder Cup

GREENSBORO, North Carolina (Reuters) - United States Ryder Cup captain Davis Love will play in the 2016 event if he claims a top-three qualifying spot, he said after he stormed to victory in the Wyndham Championship on Sunday and became the oldest living winner on the PGA Tour.

Aug 13, 2015; Sheboygan, WI, USA; Davis Love III hits his tee shot on the 16th hole during the first round of the 2015 PGA Championship golf tournament at Whistling Straits. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

“I would play (in the Ryder Cup) if I was in the top two or three (qualifiers),” the 51-year-old told a small group of reporters after he showed that he can still match it with the young guys when his putting is on song.

He said the new U.S. Ryder Cup regime, appointed in the wake of a review that studied the reasons for last year’s loss, made the role of the captain less important.

“We’ve got it covered. (Tom Lehman), he’s not just an assistant captain.”

Love previously captained the American team that was beaten in 2012 when Europe pulled off an unlikely final-day comeback.

The 21-times PGA Tour winner also has played on six teams, with a record of nine wins, 12 losses and five halves.

Love, who is healthy again after foot and spinal fusion surgery, said he was not so sure if he would play if he only scraped into the team as one of the final qualifiers.

“If I was scraping in, I don’t know. I think Tiger (Woods) will be real honest (about the merits of playing or otherwise).”

One thing Love will try to clarify with the PGA of America is whether he will receive an extra captain’s pick if he qualifies but decides to not play, or whether the ninth-ranked player would automatically take his spot.

The U.S. team will be comprised of eight players taken off a points list that will largely be decided by results on the PGA Tour next year, with the captain selecting four others.

The Ryder Cup next year will be held at Hazeltine in Minnesota from Sept. 30-Oct 2.

Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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