Davis Love III is getting a second chance to prove he can lead a U.S. Ryder Cup team to victory following the team’s collapse at Medinah in 2012. But according to ex-PGA of America president Ted Bishop, he wasn’t most players’ top pick.
In an exclusive column for SI Golf+ Digital, Bishop mused about the U.S. team’s future — both under Love and under still-to-be-determined subsequent captains.
It was clear to him that the true task force commander was Phil Mickelson.
“What’s curious is how Love wound up as captain,” Bishop penned. “A majority of the eight men who represented the players and past captains on the task force wanted Fred Couples to take the helm.”
Couples was a likely front runner for the job early on, even though he wasn’t enthused about the idea of the U.S. Ryder Cup Task Force; as was Paul Azinger, whose success and pioneering ‘pod system’ in 2008 gave the U.S. its only win in this century to date.
Enter Mickelson, says Bishop, who, although previously had stomped all over Tom Watson’s leadership by trumpeting Azinger’s, managed to steer the task force away from choosing both of the highly touted choices.
Bishop’s column reads:
“It’s clear that Mickelson controlled the tenor of the task-force meetings. Last week, when a reporter asked Love how he evolved from a task-force member to captain, Phil practically knocked down Davis to grab the microphone. Mickelson was quick to point out that Love had not lobbied for the job. He said Davis sees the big picture, has the experience and is a perfect fit. He also acknowledged that Love had made mistakes at Medinah and that he had learned from those mistakes. Phil capped his remarks by saying, “Davis will put us in a position to succeed rather than create obstacles to overcome.” Phil was clearly taking another shot at Watson.”
The PGA of America did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
Could Couples, who Bishop claims held the popular vote, have walked away with the job had Mickelson not exerted his influence on the task force? When it came to the task force, it appeared to be ‘Mickelson rule,’ not majority.