With two months into the Presidents Cup, Davis Love III is back on the PGA Tour – as a contender, yes, but also as a US captain looking to do some scouting.
On his first run since April, Love was on the field this week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Perhaps not coincidentally, he joined one of the featured groups, along with Will Xalatores and Cameron Young, both likely first-timers of Quail Hollow in late September.
“It’s been a good week for me to be out, and I’ve already learned a lot,” Love told reporters Wednesday at the Detroit Golf Club.
Love played a practice run with Zalatoris, and for the first two days will be running alongside previous Wake Forest produce, then plan to dine with the hopefuls each of the next few nights.
Full field scores from Rocket Mortgage Classic
It’s been an unusual few months for the US Captain as the tour continues to deal with the fallout from over two dozen players leaving for the rival LIV Arena. These players were suspended indefinitely from the tour and, as such, were ruled ineligible for the biennial matches.
Taylor Gotsch was in line to choose a potential captain if he had stayed on the tour. Jason Kokrac was 15th in the standings but will make his LIV debut this week at Trump Bedminster. Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed are also the mainstays of Team USA who will miss this year’s competition, scheduled for September 22-25.
The international team, led by Trevor Immelman, was hit even more by defections, with Abi Anser and Louis Oosthuizen among those judged ineligible.
“It’s unfortunate that we look at a list and have to skip it,” Love said. “Obviously it’s been a little bit more difficult for Trevor than it is for me, but I know the guys who are competing for the team right now are very committed to the PGA Tour and are very excited about the Presidents Cup.
“When we get to the Presidents Cup, there will be 12 players ready to go and play. That’s business as usual for our co-captain, stats team and players. It’s business as usual, but it’s a bit of a distraction.”
On the topic of co-captains, Love has already hired Zack Johnson, the 2023 Ryder Cup captain, and Fred Coples as part of his support team. Love said he could name two more VPs as early as next week, and was asked if Tiger Woods – the 2019 victorious captain – would be interested in participating, in some form.
“I think it’s probably like his golf game – he has a desire to play, but can he do it?” Love said. “I had so much fun sitting and watching the Ryder Cup [in 2021] with Justin [Thomas’] Baba. I think he likes this role a bit more, and for anything major that I do on tour, there’s a short list of guys I’d be asking advice from, and he’s definitely one of them.”
The US team will be completed during the FedExCup qualifiers. Six players will automatically qualify, and then Love will wrap up his 12-player roster with six captain’s picks.
Currently, the six auto qualifiers will be Scotty Scheffler, Sam Burns, Xander Shaveli, Patrick Cantlay, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Tony Finau, Colin Morikawa, Max Homa, Zalatores, Billy Horschel and Tom Hogg ranked 7-12 in the standings.