US Ryder Cup revolution a compliment to Europe (and McGinley)
Davis Love III

Davis Love III

When it comes to the Ryder Cup these days, Love is clearly not all you need, especially if you're American.

Europe's recent dominance of the competition has forced a massive re-think in the way the United States picks its skipper and its team. 

In what is designed to give continuity to the new spirit of player collobaration forced by the Mickelson Mutinty that's been insitituted to correct years of PGA of America insularity, a new committee has been set up featuring three PGA blazers (the President, Vice-President and the CEO), the current captain and veterans Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods 

If reappointing Love wasn't bad enough for the diehard, hole-more-putts brigade, the formation of this new committee is bound to cause outrage. In truth, it's the nearsest thing the Americans have to Europe's new selection process that features the three immediate past captains, the CEO and a representative of the tournament players.

Mickelson's crafty throwing-under-the bus of Tom Watson at Gleneagles has resulted in action and there's lttle doubt that the formation of a "Task Force" and the re-appointment the man at the helm when the SS USA hit the rocks at Medinah in 2010, has given the Americans some of the continuity and ownership of the process they have clearly lacked for years.

It took Mickelson's post Ryder Cup complaints about Watson to get some action from the PGA of America who suffered an eighth loss in 10 editions when Paul McGinley's Europe ran out 16½-11½ winners in Scotland last September.

“The two greatest frustrations I’ve had is having zero input in the process and having zero continuity from year to year,” said Mickelson, dressed in the kind of leather bomber jacket you usually see on the US Commander-in-Chief in some far-flung aircraft hangar. “We have solved both of those things. Now, everybody is being listened to, from Raymond Floyd to Rickie Fowler.”

Love and Mickelson were part of an 11-strong task-force formed after Gleneagles and they were at PGA of America HQ in Palm Beach Gardens, just a few hundred yards from the site of this week's Honda Classic, for last night's announcement.

Fowler and Tom Lehman, the 2006 US Ryder Cup captain who will be one of Love's assistants at Hazeltine in 2016, were also present at the Love announcement.

"It's probably one much my biggest honours as a professional golfer, just to be a part of this task force," Fowler said, "really feeling like we had an impact and that voice moving forward."

Love joins Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus as the only Americans to play in the Ryder Cup at least six times and captain the team at least twice. But he's also the first since Jack Burke Jr, who lost in 1957 and won in 1973, to get a second chance,

“I’m here with the same goal as I had in 2012, but not as the same captain,” said Love. “It’s a new team-building model that comes from being given an opportunity by the PGA of America to come together and use all of our veteran experience to build a new team culture and consistent plan for the future."

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson

If the much-ridiculed "Task Force" is a new broom, the changes have had to be sweeping.

The Changes

  • Vice-Captains: Team USA will feature four Vice-Captains, composed of two former U.S. Ryder Cup Captains and two additional individuals with extensive Ryder Cup experience.

  • Points System: All U.S. players will earn points based upon the following criteria starting in 2015 and concluding Aug. 28, 2016.

  • 2015 major championships (one point per $1,000 earned): The Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship, PGA Championship

  • 2015 World Golf Championships events and THE PLAYERS Championship (one point per $2,000 earned): WGC Cadillac Championship, WGC Cadillac Match Play Championship, THE PLAYERS Championship, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, WGC-HSBC Champions

  • 2016 Regular PGA TOUR events (1 point per $1,000 earned): Beginning Jan. 1, 2016, through and including The Barclays on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

  • 2016 Opposite Field PGA TOUR Events will not receive any points

  • 2016 Major Championships (2 points per $1,000 earned)

  • The Top Eight: Eight of the 12 members of the U.S. Team will be named on points earned following the conclusion of The Barclays, which is scheduled to conclude Sunday Aug. 28, 2016. This new timetable gives two additional weeks for players to earn Ryder Cup qualifying points.

  • Captain’s Picks: Three of the four Captain’s Picks will be announced after the conclusion of the BMW Championship, which is scheduled to conclude on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. The final Captain’s pick will take place Sunday evening after THE TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, Sept. 25, 2016. This new timetable also is pushed back two weeks.

"It's a new business model, a new team building model that comes from being given an opportunity by the PGA of America to come together and use all of our veteran experience to build a new team culture and consistent plan for the future," Love said. 

"Why the shift now, and not after 2010 or 2012? Simply, we want to win. What we created is a new process for continuity and teamwork which will prepare us for many years of success."

Many European veterans such as Lee Westwood or Padraig Harrington, potential future captains both, were somewhat surprised that the Americans did not look to the likes of successful Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples or 2008 winner Paul Azinger.

Azinger said he didn't want the job due to business commitments while Couples admission that he is not "a PGA guy" did little to help his cause. 

Even Love was reticent at first, according to Mickelson:

"He felt like he was taking somebody's spot. He felt like it wasn't his place to do that. But when you look at big picture, if you look at like 2016, there are a number of people that could be great captains that could help lead us to hopefully a successful week, whether it's Fred Couples and Paul Azinger, the names that were being thrown out to other players like Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker and a few others that were even discussed.
"But when you look at big picture over the next ten Ryder Cups and trying to build a platform and a blueprint to follow and have continuity from year‑to‑year, you want to have somebody that has experience.
"You want to have somebody that can look back on past things that have been done well and things that could be improved upon, which Davis in 2012 did a lot of great things right; and he did some things that he would like to do differently, and he has something to work off of, rather than bring somebody in for the first time that is starting from an open campus.
"So that made us want to have somebody with past experience, and when you look at the way Davis has always throughout his career been able to, as a policy board member for the PGA TOUR take input from so many different viewpoints, put it all together and create some great decisions from that, he was a perfect fit for what we wanted in that we have input coming from all different areas and he's a great guy to integrate all that information. 
"He's a guy that people love and respect, and he's a guy that already has done a great job and put us in a position to succeed, even though we didn't do it.  And ultimately, the goal is to put players in a position to succeeded as opposed to create obstacles for them to overcome.
"Davis has put us into position to succeed and we are looking forward to not just 2016 and his captaincy but really laying a foundation and a blueprint for the years to follow of continuity and success."

Love's new blueprint for success will include many of the elements that McGinley and other European captains have had in place — the right speakers at the right time whether it's mental coach Dr Bob Rotella or a figure from outside the golfing family.

As Harrington told at the Honda Classic:

"What the PGA of America has done today in announcing Davis is a huge compliment to how Europe have gone about choosing a new European Captain.
“By winning the last three, and also eight of the past 10 Ryder Cups, and that’s what over the past two decades, no it’s three decades, what they’ve done is push the US into really caring about the Ryder Cup.
“No longer is it a holiday atmosphere or a friendly three days when they can throw the balls up in the air and go and play because it is a big series of matches these days where the US have been pushed into a corner where they really do care.
“I’ve seen that behind the scenes and especially last year at Gleneagles as the older guys were devastated to lose again."