‘Tiger Woods will be a great US Ryder Cup captain,’ Davis Love III

Published 5:11 AM EST, Thu December 15, 2016
US Captain Davis Love III takes questions during the captain
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US Captain Davis Love III takes questions during the captain's press conference ahead of the 2016 Ryder Cup matches at Hazeltine National Golf Course in Chaska, Minnesota, September 26, 2016. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
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Story highlights

Davis Love III backs Tiger Woods as a future US Ryder Cup captain

Love led the US to triumph in 2016, with Woods as a vice captain

(CNN) —  

He led the US to Ryder Cup victory earlier this year and now Davis Love III is tipping Tiger Woods as a future American captain.

Former world No. 1 Woods recently returned to the course after an injury-plagued sixteen months, having also served as one of Love’s vice captains at Hazeltine during the US’s first triumph over its European counterparts since 2008.

And Love is convinced the 14-time major winner has what it takes to skipper the Americans in future Ryder Cup matches.

“Tiger will make a great Ryder Cup captain down the road,” Love told CNN.

READ: Tiger Woods going “back to where it all started”

“He was incredible. If you have Tiger Woods sitting in your team room and he doesn’t have any clubs you know he’s committed.”

It’s been quite a few weeks for the 52-year-old Love, who learned he’d been inducted into the sport’s Hall of Fame shortly before hosting his very own PGA Tour event.

A fine way to top off a year which will be remembered for a 17-11 success over team Europe.

As he reflected on the America’s 17-11 success over team Europe at the ecent RSM Classic tournament, Love was quick to point out the groundwork for success at Hazeltine began two years ago, after a third straight defeat in golf’s biggest grudge match.

“We were all very honest,” he revealed. “We sat down in a room and then we pointed fingers and we pointed out mistakes and we made a game-plan that we felt would work and we committed to it.”

READ: 20 years of Tiger Woods

That game plan worked a treat as Europe were prevented from making it a record fourth straight victory.

It was especially sweet for Love, the man who captained his country through an infamous final-day meltdown at the 2012 competition at Medinah.

The build up to Hazeltine was overshadowed by the death of the legendary Arnold Palmer at the age of 87. Love III played under Palmer at the 1996 Presidents Cup.

“Arnold had time for everyone no matter what it was, the guy mowing the greens or the guy that owned the course,” Love said of the seven-time major winner.

“He treated them all equally and he was just a great man and a great leader for us.”

Quite fitting, then, that the Americans showed the kind of the unity that hadn’t been witnessed since Valhalla in 2008.

That unity was epitomized by two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson who, despite missing out on selection, volunteered his services as a vice captain alongside Woods.

Victory was ultimately sealed by one of Love’s own captain’s picks, Ryan Moore. It was something he himself had done as a player 23 years earlier.

On that occasion he’d failed to retrieve his ball amid the victory celebrations. He wasn’t about to let Moore make the same mistake.

But it turned out Moore had other ideas.

“He came back about an hour later and he said I want you to have it,” said Love. “He knew what it would mean to me, what it meant to him.”

He may be a victorious Ryder Cup captain but Love’s playing career is still going strong.

Last year, at the age of 52, he became the third oldest winner on the PGA Tour. And he also has high hopes for his college-age son Dru or, if you prefer, Davis Love IV.

“Everyone says does he want to follow in your footsteps? I say no, he wants to follow in Rory McIlroy’s footsteps!” he says of his son.

“He wants to win a lot of major championships and be the number one player in the world.”

In fact Love feels overall the future of the sport is very bright indeed.

“We thought we’d have to have Tiger for anyone to watch golf. Well, no, they like watching Jordan Spieth. They’re thrilled with Jordan. And the great thing is that Rickie Fowler, Jordan, Jason Day and Rory … they’re great ambassadors of the game.

“We’re so lucky our top players are such great young men as well. So I think golf’s in a great place right now.”

Love has pretty much seen it all over the years, including the historical links between golf and US Presidents.

A tradition which will surely continue with President elect Donald Trump.

“He may play more than any past President,” said Love. “But I’ve been around President-Elect Trump a little bit. He’s very ambitious and he’s very motivated … he wants his courses to be the best.”

It seems golf is alive and well in the Oval Office.