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Love thinks Ryder Cup has too many people involved

Created: 11/19/2014 12:23 AM KAALtv.com
By: DOUG FERGUSON

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) — One of the messages Davis Love III wants to bring to the 11-member Ryder Cup Task Force is that it has gotten too big.

He said the amount of scheduled time at the Ryder Cup is about double what the Americans spend at the Presidents Cup, which is understandable because the Ryder Cup gets about double the interest.

What really concerns him is the size of the team party.

Love, the captain in 2012 at Medinah, said the U.S. team has expanded so much over the years that it is losing its intimacy. He thought back to his first Ryder Cup team in 1993, when Tom Watson was the captain and had a friend as his assistant. The players and their wives were in the team room and "all we did was hang out."

"Now it's all the PGA officers, all their wives, all the caddies, all their wives, all the 'strap hangers' in this big room," Love said last month at the McGladrey Classic. "The intimacy of the team has changed. ... They do a lot for us to give us the Ryder Cup. But do they need to be in the room? It's like a traveling circus. When you go to dinner, it's not the team that goes to dinner. It's 30 more people."

Love said when he was an assistant captain in Wales, he planned to drive his own cart around Celtic Manor. Instead, a PGA officer was assigned as his cart driver. It actually worked out well because of the rain, but it was another example of the U.S. team becoming the U.S. entourage.

"It's grown to where instead of being 12, 13 guys and sometimes the wives ... to this huge mass of people," Love said. "A lot of things have changed. It's not bad. It's just we need to get back to what the players want to make it feel like a team."

Love said the first meeting of the task force was to be held either the first or second week in December. The PGA of America has its annual meeting the weekend before Thanksgiving. He said a second meeting is expected the first week of February, around the time of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

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NOT A 'WEE' AUTOGRAPH: Martin Kaymer was so exhausted from his wire-to-wire victory in the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 that golf was the last thing he wanted to watch, even a U.S. Women's Open held the following week at the same venue.

But he knows who won — Michelle Wie — not from any highlights, but because of an autograph.

To mark the historic occasion of the men's and women's Open being held at the same golf course, the USGA asked both champions to sign a U.S. Open flag that had the joint logo.

Wie went first, and then the flag was sent to Germany for Kaymer's autograph.

"They had one flag for the women and men. And here was this massive signature," Kaymer said with a playful grin. "It was so big. 'Michelle Wie.' You would think it would not be very much, but she was all over the flag. There was not very much (room) for me."

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MASTERS INVITATIONS: Brandt Snedeker had to withdraw from the Bridgestone Open in Japan because of a stomach ailment, and he went home to Tennessee to get it checked out, which caused him to miss the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. He returned to Shanghai for the HSBC Champions and tied for 10th.

Missing those two events in Asia could be costly. Snedeker is projected to fall out of the top 50 in the world ranking by the end of the year, which is important because he is not yet eligible for the Masters. Snedeker will have three months at the start of next year to get back into the top 50 or win a tournament to become eligible.

Ian Poulter was flirting with a fall from the top 50 for the first time in eight years until a runner-up finish in Turkey and a top 10 in Shanghai. He is No. 26 going into Dubai this week and now entrenched in the top 50.

Steve Stricker, in semi-retirement, is now at No. 36 (he started the year at No. 8), but is not in any danger of falling out. He has the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

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IRISH EYES: Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler first played against each other at Royal County Down in the 2007 Walker Cup, when Fowler and Billy Horschel defeated McIlroy and Jonathan Caldwell in a foursomes match.

McIlroy and Fowler return next year as part of the field at the Irish Open.

The Rory Foundation is the host of the Irish Open, and McIlroy figured his good friend would be the perfect addition to the field.

"I know the Irish crowds will really take to him and enjoy seeing him in action next May," McIlroy said Tuesday in Dubai. "We have become good friends since we played at Royal County Down in the Walker Cup in 2007, so it will be special for us both to go back there. It would also be great if we could both be in contention toward the end, just like in the majors this year."

McIlroy won the last two majors of the year. Fowler was runner-up at the British Open and tied for third in the PGA Championship.

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FOX TALENT: Hall of Famer Juli Inkster will be involved in TV again next year, but for a different network.

Inkster was among four people hired by Fox Sports for when it begins broadcasting the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open and other USGA events next year. Inkster will be an analyst for the U.S. Women's Open, a major she won twice. She will be on the course for the U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open and select amateur championships.

Fox also has hired former U.S. Open and Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin, former PGA Tour player Steve Flesch and Shane O'Donaghue, an Irish journalist who previously worked for CNN and RTE in Ireland.

Fox already has Joe Buck as the host and Greg Norman as the lead analyst, along with Brad Faxon and former USGA executive director David Fay.

Inkster, the U.S. captain for the Solheim Cup in 2015, previously did limited work for Golf Channel this year.

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DIVOTS: Nick Faldo is the latest golfer to get his own radio show on SiriusXM PGA Tour radio. "Nick Faldo Radio" will debut in January and be a monthly show. ... Jordan Spieth and Hideki Matsuyama, paired together in the U.S. Open and British Open this year, are playing together again, this time on Matsuyama's home turf. They are in the same group at the Dunlop Phoenix on the Japan Golf Tour. ... Annika Sorenstam is among those playing this week in the Callaway Pebble Beach Invitational. The tournament is held at Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Del Monte.

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STAT OF THE WEEK: The top 10 players on the LPGA Tour money list are from seven countries.

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FINAL WORD: "I just think it's weird for me to watch myself on TV." — Michelle Wie, on why she hasn't watched highlights of her U.S. Women's Open victory.

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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