McGinley brushes off Love's 'best team' quip

CARY (North Carolina) • Victorious 2014 European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley wonders whether Davis Love's comment that the current United States side "is the best golf team maybe ever assembled" might come back to haunt the American captain.

Love, speaking ahead of this week's event against Europe at Hazeltine in Minnesota, made the comments during an interview on the FairwaysOfLife radio show last Friday.

"We're a great golf team," he said. "This is the best golf team maybe ever assembled. If we just go play our game, ignore the noise, work hard, do your job, everything else will take care of itself."

Never mind that his comments are not supported by the facts.

McGinley thinks they hardly help the American cause as the hosts seek to avoid losing for the ninth time in the past 11 meetings.

"It's going to have a big galvanising effect on the European team," the Irishman said on Golf Channel. "I find it strange positioning. There's always a jockeying going on as to who's favourite and who's the underdog. Davis has taken that off the table now.

"It puts a lot of pressure and does corner his team to a large extent but maybe that's his plan... But if it doesn't work out, there'll be a lot of questions about that comment."

American Brandel Chamblee, a former PGA Tour winner, had an even stronger reaction.

"I can't imagine how this one is going to work out," the Golf Channel commentator said. "This looks like a colossal mistake.

"There have been so many mistakes over the years of American arrogance that have backfired and this is another one of them."

Chamblee pointed out that this year's US team paled beside the 1981 side who won a combined 49 Major championships.

That team, a veritable who's who of golf, included Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Raymond Floyd, Hale Irwin, Larry Nelson and Johnny Miller. The current one have won a combined 11 Majors, headed by Phil Mickelson with five.

"Statistically, it doesn't add up," McGinley said of Love's comment. "And also, the form of the players is not particularly good, outside of Dustin (Johnson). Form or world ranking doesn't suggest this is the best team ever assembled.

"I know what Davis is trying to do. He's trying to show confidence in his team, and there's no doubt that's an important facet... but there are ways of saying it, and respecting your opponent is very important."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2016, with the headline 'McGinley brushes off Love's 'best team' quip'. Print Edition | Subscribe