DORAL, Fla. (AP) — Davis Love III told U.S. captain Jay Haas last year that he would be in South Korea for the Presidents Cup one way or another, which at the time meant that if the 50-year-old Love didn’t qualify for the team then he would go as an assistant captain.
Love just didn’t imagine being Ryder Cup captain while serving as an assistant captain in the Presidents Cup this October.
And if that’s not enough, Love recently was appointed chairman of the Players Advisory Council.
“I asked him does he still want to even do it. There’s a lot on his plate,” Haas said Wednesday. “He’s a busy man, so I could understand it if he didn’t want to do it. But no, he loves the team concept, I think. He was excited about it when I asked him to do it.
“This is not something that I sprung on him or anything like that in the last few weeks,” Haas said. “Again, I gave him the opportunity to say, ‘Enough is enough, I need to step aside for a while.’ But I think this can only help him going forward.”
Haas is captain for the first time after having served under Fred Couples, who also returns as an assistant at the Presidents Cup.
The matches will be played Oct. 8-11 in South Korea. The United States has only lost one time to the International team, and that was in 1998. The Americans won, 18 1/2-15 1/2, last time at rainy Muirfield Village.
Nick Price returns as International captain, and he has three assistants — Tony Johnstone and Mark McNulty return, and K.J. Choi was announced earlier.
“Their insight at Muirfield was incredible,” Price said.
Both decisions, remarkably, were reached without putting together a task force.
“I’m the only task force on our team,” Price said with a laugh.
Price proposed to PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem after the last Presidents Cup that the points be reduced to 16 team matches and 12 singles matches, similar to the Ryder Cup. Now, there are 20 team matches.
The outlook for change appears bleak. Price said Finchem was “apprehensive” to change.
“They haven’t mentioned changing the points structure, which to me obviously means that’s a wonderful recipe they have there, which that’s debatable,” Price said. “But I think it will be nice if we could get similar to that.”
RORY’S TITLE: Rory McIlroy has his name on the claret jug and twice on the Wanamaker Trophy. He has a U.S. Open trophy. And now he has another honor, and this one pleases him greatly. McIlroy won the Seminole Pro-Member with a 63 on Monday.
His name now is featured on a mahogany board in the locker room of past winners, a list that includes Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson.
“It’s nice to have my name up on the board,” he said. “I would play Seminole quite a lot when I’m at home, probably once a week. So to walk into that locker room all the time and have your name up there on the board, the Pro-Member board, it’s a pretty cool board to look at. You have all the greats of the game that are basically up there.”
REED RETURNS: Patrick Reed drew attention last year not only for winning at Doral, but for saying he felt he was one of the top five players in the world.
He went No. 20 with that victory, and that was as high as he got all year.
Reed won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the start of this year to get to No. 14, and he has gone no higher. He defends his title at the Cadillac Championship at No. 15 in the world, so he’s making progress.
Reed isn’t worried about numbers, or how people still talk about his comment. He doesn’t get bothered by much.
“Big thing to me was improving on consistency, and I knew that needed to happen for me to get to the goal of being a top-five player in the world,” he said.
A bad finish at the Honda Classic ended a streak that spoke to that consistency. Reed opened the year with five straight rounds in the 60s, and his closing 73 at PGA National was his first round over par all year.
MICKELSON’S CUPS: No one knows when Tiger Woods is going to play again, so his appearance in the Presidents Cup at the end of the year is hard to measure.
The same goes for Phil Mickelson.
Lefty had only one top 10 last year — a runner-up finish in the PGA Championship — and he is No. 51 in the Presidents Cup standings. U.S. captain Jay Haas wouldn’t go so far as to tell Mickelson he can bank on being in South Korea, though he found it hard to imagine a team competition without him.
“I think he knows how I feel and what I think of his contributions to the team outside of just the play,” Haas said. “I think he’s an unbelievable leader in the locker room. The teams that I’ve been around, he’s amazing.”
Haas was on the team in South Africa where Mickelson went 0-5 for the week “and he never blinked, he never changed, he never moped.”
“He was as funny as he was if he was 5-0, and that really has stuck with me over the years,” Haas said. “Just to know that it wasn’t just all about him; he’s really into the team and he loves the team atmosphere. I’m sad that he’s down the list right now but I fully expect somebody like Phil to be right there.”
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