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Jun 05, 2012, 11.39 AM IST | Source: Reuters

Love blown away by scale of Ryder Cup

INTERVIEW-GOLF-LOVE-BLOWN-AWAY-BY-SCALE-OF-R:Love blown away by scale of Ryder Cup

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

DUBLIN, Ohio (Reuters) - Like many of his predecessors, U.S. captain Davis Love III has been blown away by the scale of the Ryder Cup and how much work needs to be done while preparing for the three days of competition.

While Love is excited by the strength and depth of his likely 12-man lineup, he never realised how much of his time would be devoted to Cup-related business, even though this year's showdown with Europe is still three months away.

"I thought I knew what it was going be like and it's much bigger," the 48-year-old Love told Reuters. "It's like the Super Bowl is so much bigger than teams think when they get there.

"Getting on the inside of this tournament, you realise how big it is and how many people care about it and how many people want us to win it.

"I get a comment from somebody about the Ryder Cup every single hole that I play," added Love, who was speaking during last week's Memorial tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club. "Just realising how big it is, that's been a shock to me."

A veteran of six Ryder Cups as a player, Love said the September 28-30 edition of the biennial team competition, to be played at Medinah Country Club outside Chicago, was continually on his mind.

"Mark Wilson and I were talking about it all day when we played together," Love said, referring to his playing partner during the third round of the Memorial tournament.

"There's something every day, whether it's a question or something to get accomplished or my wife's worried about the dress and what's the team hotel going to be like - with all those little things, it's just kind of almost constant."

With so many U.S. players producing good form on the 2012 PGA Tour, Love believes his Ryder Cup team could be one of the most competitive ever for candidates to gain selection.

SPOILT FOR CHOICE

"There are so many guys playing so well," 1997 PGA Championship winner Love smiled. "Like Mark Wilson at the beginning of this year, he looked like he was a shoe-in and now he is grinding because so many guys have started playing well.

"There are a lot of young guys playing well and when you look at our board (standings), experienced guys like Furyk and Woods are playing well too so I think it's going to be really tough to get on there."

Eight players in Love's 12-man lineup will automatically qualify for Medinah after the August 9-12 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. He will then round out his team with four wildcard picks.

As of this week, the leading eight players in the standings were Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Tiger Woods, Zach Johnson and Keegan Bradley.

The next four were Rickie Fowler, Steve Stricker, Bill Haas and Brandt Snedeker, and Love could not be more delighted with the blend of youth and experience, and winning ability.

"I just like guys like Billy Haas making putts in playoffs (to win this year's Northern Trust Open) and Jason Dufner playing great for a long stretch," he said.

"There are just so many guys playing well and it's back and forth. It's not the same guy every week and it's not just two or three guys, it's eight or 10 guys playing really, really well."

Love expects to announce two of his four assistant captains at the June 28-July 1 AT&T National at Congressional, with his good friend and U.S. Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples a likely candidate.

"Freddie is high on that list," Love grinned. "Freddie is on such a roll with the Presidents Cup and he has some inside information that is really helping me so I am sure he will be a big part of it, one way or another."

(Editing by Julian Linden)

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