Davis Love III, a two-time U.S. Ryder Cup captain, 21-time PGA Tour winner and upcoming inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame, spoke to SI’s Michael Bamberger about his thoughts on President Trump’s remarks.
Any athlete can protest. Whether it’s Lebron James or Colin Kaepernick or me or anybody else, that’s an American right. But sometimes you have to put personal statements and desires aside in the name of team unity and trying to reach a common goal.
I’m an assistant captain for the U.S. team at this week’s President Cup. Next year, I have the same position on our Ryder Cup team. If I talked about President Trump’s tweets and comments about the NFL and the Steph Curry and all that, I’d be putting myself ahead of the team. And I can’t do that. I have to put team first.
Part of being a Tour player is showing restraint. When you get on the PGA Tour, they tell you: you’re representing yourself, the game, the Tour, our sponsors–all of it. You don’t just say or do as you please. When you’re representing your country, like in the Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup, that becomes even more true.
That’s true for presidents, too. I’ve spent a good amount of time with both President Bush 41 and 43. They’d say that to be presidential you always put the presidency and the needs of the country ahead of yourself. Listening to them, I got the idea that being president is like being the head coach of the biggest team in the world. You have to say and do what’s best for the team.
They both liked watching baseball. But you didn’t hear them making public comments criticizing an umpire’s call in the ninth. They had other things to worry about, like our safety, our economy, our standing in the world. There was no Twitter when they were president, but can you imagine their tweets? “Happy birthday, America. 200+ years and going strong!”
One thing I picked up from both of them is this: presidents should bring people together. That should always be the goal.