Current US captain Love learns from past leaders

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The Americans were beaten by the Europeans 18 1-2 points to 9 1-2 points at The K Club in Ireland. The Americans, captained by Paul Azinger, won two years later at Vahalla Country Club in Kentucky. Europe regained the cup in 2010, defeating Corey Pavin’s U.S. squad.

There’s been no shortage of interested candidates, Love said. He’s looking to set up some gatherings this spring at places like the Colonial and Memorial tournaments that typically draw the top Americans. Love’s list of final candidates for those picks will take shape after the British Open, he said.

“Right now is laying the groundwork,” Love said.

He’d like a group that meshes well and feeds off each other during the pressure-packed weekend of competition. Love’s seen plenty of hopeful signs like when Americans Ben Crane, Rickie Fowler and others watched Watson’s playoff win at the Masters and hugged their friend with congratulations.

Love thinks his spring and summer gatherings will help break the ice for others “doing their own thing.”

He said there are already plenty of players with similar interests like baseball games and Bible study who have forged bonds that will be helpful at Medinah.

“We’ve got a lot of camaraderie,” he said.

Love hasn’t announced his choices for assistant captains and isn’t sure when that will happen.

“I’m getting more lobbying for that than for guys playing,” he said, smiling.

The hardest part of being captain? Sitting on the sidelines watching matches unfold and knowing you can’t hit a tee-shot or stroke a putt to affect the outcome, Lehman said.

“It’s a mixed bag,” said Lehman, who was on three U.S. teams and was Love’s teammate on the 1999 cup winners. “It’s an honor to be the captain, no question, but it’s somewhat easier to play.”

There are many who’d like that chance come fall. Byrd is 29th in the U.S. points standings and hopes to start a spring and summer push to catch Love’s eye and brings a happy phone call from the captain in September.

“That’s the understatement of the year,” he said.

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