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Ryder Cup 2012: Davis Love III Should Take Blame for US Loss

MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30:  USA team captain Davis Love III is seen in a press conference after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 at The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
James MaahsContributor IIIOctober 2, 2012

United States captain Davis Love III walked off the 18th green as humble as any captain could be after watching his team fall apart on Sunday.

The Europeans had just completed one of the most epic comebacks in Ryder Cup history, and to add insult to injury, they did it on U.S. soil.

Stunned was the U.S. crowd as the Europeans celebrated and sang "ole-ole-ole-ole-ole-ole."

But in the midst of this embarrassing collapse, Love carried on and said that he was proud of the way that his guys played (via Wall Street Journal):

I'd have to say that I'm very proud of this team. We had a lot of guys today that played well and just got beat.

Fingers can be pointed at any of the players that failed to collect a point on Sunday afternoon. But toward the end, it was veterans Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker who failed to close out their matches and obtain at least half a point.

Both were captain picks of Davis Love III.

Brandt Snedeker also failed to achieve a point in the afternoon, which makes Love 1-3 in captain picks points on Sunday.

The only captain pick that turned out to be a success was Dustin Johnson, as he went 3-0 for the weekend.

It wouldn't necessarily be fair to put the blame entirely on Love.

Both Furyk and Stricker were picked because of their Ryder Cup experience and steady play, both of which failed to show on Sunday.

Snedeker was chosen before he became the FedEx Cup champion, which made Love look like a genius.

Regardless, it all came down to a mere point that helped Europe retain the Ryder Cup and left the Americans stunned.

In a article written by Love and published online, he says that the blame for the U.S. loss is entirely on him (via Golf.com):

If you need to blame somebody for this loss, blame me. I'm the one who signed off on the Sunday lineup, for the 12 singles matches. Europe won eight of those matches and tied a ninth. The final score was 14 1/2–13 1/2, Europe.

Love said that he liked the way the Sunday lineup was set.

Steve was where he was in the Sunday lineup, in the second-to-last group, because of his exceptional putting. We loved our Sunday lineup. Tiger said, "Put Strick and me at the end. I don't think it will come to us, but if it does, we'll be ready." Tiger has won three times this year. He's the greatest match-play golfer ever. He's the greatest golfer ever. Hearing those words from him was enough for me.

But when it came down to reality, the U.S. team really needed a jump start in the top half of the lineup.

Bubba Watson lost early 2 and 1 to Luke Donald in a hard-fought match. Paul Lawrie dominated Brandt Snedeker 5 and 3 later in the day. The Europeans won the first five matches, sucking up all of the momentum the Americans had from Saturday.

The lineup that Davis Love III drew up simply fell flat and left the door open.

Tiger Woods was a non-factor in the final match against Italian golfer Francesco Molinari. His play would have been better used in the top half of the daily matches rather than in the last match.

Yes, Tiger was having a bad weekend, but logic says that you simply do not bury the No. 2 player in the world in the 12th spot.

Sunday's lineup wasn't the only mistake made by Love; the exclusion of Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson from Saturday's afternoon matches was puzzling.

Love talked about it in the media session after Sunday's loss, but he was interrupted by Mickelson, who said it was his decision to sit out (via New York Daily News):

Keegan and I knew going in that we were not playing in the afternoon, and we said on the first tee, we are going to put everything we have into this one match, because we are not playing the afternoon. And when we got to 10, I went to Davis and I said, "Listen, you're seeing our best; you cannot put us in the afternoon, because we emotionally and mentally are not prepared for it."

Whether or not Mickelson was trying to cover for Love is another story, but the Americans could of used one more win on Saturday afternoon.

Blame the players all you want, but a simple change in the lineup by Love could have been the difference from a Sunday loss to a Sunday win.

 

Follow James Maahs on Twitter for all the latest news on the NHL, MLB and PGA Tour.

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