CHASKA, Minn. — Davis Love III said he was only trying to illustrate why his U.S. team should play with more swagger in the Ryder Cup. His comments wound up providing plenty of fodder for the Europeans, and perhaps a little extra motivation they didn’t even need.

The catch phrase for this Ryder Cup: “Best golf team maybe ever assembled.”

That’s what Love said in a radio interview last week. Rory McIlroy seized on it last weekend, joking that the Americans at least had the best Ryder Cup Task Force ever assembled. He couldn’t help but mention it again Tuesday before the first practice session at Hazeltine.

“Whenever we are going up against one of the greatest teams ever assembled, that’s motivation enough,” McIlroy said.

Adding to the bulletin-board material was NBC Sports analyst Johnny Miller saying Europe had the worst team he had seen in years, particularly with six rookies.

The record shows otherwise.


Europe has won eight of the last 10 times in the Ryder Cup dating to 1995, and while there are six players who have never experienced the emotions and pressure of the Ryder Cup, only four Europeans on the team know the feeling of losing.

“At the end of the day, you don’t win the Ryder Cups with your mouth,” Sergio Garcia said. “You win them out there on the golf course. So that’s what we’ll see, which team is the best.”

Love said the conversation on SiriusXM Radio last Friday was “misconstrued.” He said a Canadian caller had said the Americans needed to play with more swagger, and Love agreed with him. He said the host asked what he would tell his team.

“And I said: ‘I would tell my team they’re the best team ever assembled. Let’s go out and show off and play and have fun,'” Love said.

It didn’t quite come out that way.

Love said on the radio show that Americans have been guilty of playing not to lose, and that they need to smash the tee shot, walk quickly to the ball and “let the other team know that we are going to dominate you.” He talked about having confidence and how the Americans didn’t need to do anything “super human.”

“This is a great team,” he said. “This is the best golf team maybe ever assembled.”

European captain Darren Clarke said he didn’t need to post anything on the walls of the team room. His players heard the comment, some of them laughed about it, none appear to have forgotten. Clarke seemed more defensive about Miller’s comments.

“We have the Masters champion (Danny Willet), we have The Open champion (Henrik Stenson), we have the Olympic champion (Justin Rose) and we have the FedEx champion (McIlroy). You combine that with all the experience and with all of the rest of the team and the way those guys played, I don’t really need to respond to that,” Clarke said. “I think I’ve got full confidence in our team.” Based on the how Europe practiced on Tuesday, it appears that Clarke is blending experience with rookies. He had Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood with rookies Rafa Cabrera Bello and Willett; Stenson and Rose with rookies Matt Fitzpatrick and Thomas Pieters; and McIlroy and Garcia with rookies Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan.

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