(Reuters) - Getting back to competition on the PGA Tour has been a liberating distraction in Las Vegas this week for defeated United States Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, the American said on Friday.
Love’s 12-man team was stunningly beaten by a resurgent Europe after being outplayed in the concluding singles matches at Medinah Country Club outside Chicago on Sunday.
“It’s good to get back to playing,” Love told reporters after firing a four-under-par 67 in Friday’s second round of the Las Vegas Open, the first of four events in the PGA Tour’s Fall Series.
“It distracts me for four, five hours a day from thinking about last week,” added the American, a veteran of six Ryder Cups as a player, who mixed six birdies with two bogeys to end the second round at seven-under, seven strokes off the lead.
“I’ve got a lot of great memories from last week, and when I get by myself I start second-guessing and start wishing that we would done something a little different and could’ve gotten those guys a win.”
Love became the first U.S. Ryder Cup captain to rest all of his 12 players at least once before the concluding singles matches and his team built a commanding 10-6 lead heading into the third and final day at Medinah.
However, Europe matched the biggest ever comeback in the biennial competition, winning eight-and-a-half points of the 12 on offer on Sunday to break American hearts with an astonishing victory by 14-1/2 points to 13-1/2.
”I don’t think it’ll ever go away,“ Love said of his painful memories of Medinah. ”It was a great (U.S.) team. They played great.
“They had some bad breaks on Sunday and some guys holed some putts on them and turned it over. You can’t take away from a great week, but winning is what it’s all about and we didn’t win it.”
Earlier this week, Love was asked if he had regretted his four captain’s picks - Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker and Dustin Johnson - who went a combined 5-8-0.
”We could have picked Nick (Watney) and Bill (Haas) and Hunter (Mahan) and Rickie (Fowler),“ Love replied. ”We could have picked a whole different four.
”But we had months and months of a plan that we talked to everybody on the team. Everybody was involved. We made some pairings really, really early.
“I‘m happy with the decision. I love the team I had. They gave it their all. Most importantly, they represented their country on and off the golf course.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Ian Ransom