By Larry Fine
CHASKA, Minnesota (Reuters) – U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, tired of losing and seeking new ways to motivate, invoked the rah-rah style of American soccer coaches on Tuesday on how he would rally his team past Europe.
The United States, who once dominated the biennial match play competition, have lost three times in a row and eight of the last 10 and are desperate to end Europe’s run at Hazeltine National starting on Friday.
Love drew criticism for resorting to hyperbole over the weekend in saying on the radio, “We’re a great team. This is the best golf team maybe ever assembled.”
European veteran Sergio Garcia told reporters that his team mates had taken notice and were using it for their motivation.
Love said on Tuesday his comment was misconstrued and that it was made in reply to a question about what he was going to tell his players to get them psyched up.
“That’s what Nick Saban would tell his team when they’re getting ready to go play Ole Miss,” Love said about how the hugely successful University of Alabama coach would operate.
“He’s going to say, ‘you guys have worked hard, you’re the best team I’ve ever seen, let’s go crush these guys.'”
Love, who also captained the 2012 U.S. team that lost a big lead heading into Sunday singles at Medinah to fall again to Europe, said his message was that this is a fresh start for everyone, and not to look at the past.
Love said he also was stressing that no one need feel the need to do something extraordinary.
“I think we get in our own way doing that sometimes,” he said, referencing New England Patriots four-times Super Bowl winning coach Bill Belichick.
“Like Coach Belichick says, ‘Do your job, stay in your lane and the other guy next to you can be more aggressive.’ That’s pretty simple, if you take care of your partner and take care of your team mates, the results will take care of themselves.”
Love brought on another outside influence at Monday’s team dinner in all-time Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Michael Phelps, an avid golfer himself.
“Michael talked to us a lot about the Olympic experience and Team USA and how much fun it was for him to have the four American golfers down there,” Love said about the Rio Games.
(Editing by Andrew Both)