With Ryder Cup looming, captain Davis Love III will be watching at PGA Championship
KIAWAH ISLAND — Davis Love III was playing a practice round with Tiger Woods today on the Ocean Course when the enormity of his task as Ryder Cup captain hit home.
“It’s a lot of responsibility and it’s a humbling experience,” he said. “I’m out there playing with Tiger, and I’m the captain of the Ryder Cup team and he’s our No. 1 guy. It used to be we are just out here playing golf.”
Woods is the only player to have already locked up one of the 12 spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Seven more will qualify for the team on points, and Love will make four captain’s picks Sept. 4.
The U.S. will take on the European Ryder Cup squad Sept. 25-30 at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club.
The PGA Championship, set to start Thursday, is the final chance for American players to earn points toward making the Ryder Cup team, and Love will be watching closely.
“I know there are several guys who are working really hard to try to make the team,” Love said. “Hopefully, they will relax and just play the PGA this week and work their way in.”
One of the intriguing choices Love could face is the case of Phil Mickelson, who currently stands eighth in Ryder Cup point standings. Depending on how he fares in the PGA this week, Mickelson could fall out of the top eight by Sunday afternoon.
Mickelson, 42, has played in eight Ryder Cups. But this season, he has broken par just once in his last 13 rounds on the PGA Tour, and speculation about his health has mounted. He has been fighting psoriatic arthritis.
“My game has not been what I would like it to be the past two months,” Mickelson told reporters this week. “Fortunately, it’s not health related.”
If Mickelson’s struggles continue, Love will be faced with a tough decision.
“I’ve talked to Phil several times this week and watched him play a little bit,” Love said. “I know Phil wants to make the team; he doesn’t want to (have to) get picked ... It would be hard to play without him. He’s been such a big part of a lot of Ryder Cups in a row.”
U.S. Ryder Cup standings
(Top 8 qualify automatically)
1. Tiger Woods
2. Jason Dufner
3. Bubba Watson
4. Keegan Bradley
5. Webb Simpson
6. Zach Johnson
7. Matt Kuchar
8. Phil Mickelson
9. Hunter Mahan
10. Steve Stricker
11. Jim Furyk
12. Rickie Fowler
13. Brandt Snedeker
14. Dustin Johnson
15. Bo Van Pelt