The PGA Championship puts Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III in an odd spot. In his head, he's eyeing the play of Ryder Cup hopefuls; on the course, he's beating most of them.
Love shot an even-par 72 in his opening round Thursday. And then, according to Randall Mell of GolfChannel.com, Love went straight from the course to Kiawah Island's Sanctuary hotel, where he had dinner with the top 20 players in the American Ryder Cup standings.
If that was weird for Love, it was probably worse for Kyle Stanley: Good luck making your case to the coach after he just beat you by eight!
Of course, if Thursday was tough on Kyle, it was equally unsettling for Phil Mickelson. Lefty, who has slipped to eighth in the standings — the last automatic spot — played with Love and lost by a shot. The pairing led to some unusual first-tee conversation. As Love said:
“We talked about playing together yesterday, so we would get that out of the way,” Love said. “I told Phil not to grind. Phil and I have been playing a long time. There’s not much awkward left for us.
“He is trying to make the team, because he doesn’t want to have to be picked. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to make the cut, or to win, that’s thinking about results. I told him just to go play this tournament and not worry about things.”
The pair also played with Irishman Padraig Harrington. No word if they were rattling any coins in his backswing. Never too early to start: The Ryder Cup is less than 50 days away.