Davis Love III described the painful process that was waiting until the eve of festivities at Hazeltine National Golf Club to select Ryan Moore.
Davis Love III described the painful process that was waiting until the eve of festivities at Hazeltine National Golf Club to select the 12th member of his team, Ryan Moore, for the Ryder Cup.
It turned out Love indeed had not made up his mind until the final putt dropped at Sunday's Tour Championship, where Moore's second-place finish clinched the bid.
"We had a lot of guys who were really close," Love told a news conference on Monday.
"I had 11 guys and probably another 11 who were possible picks for a long time. It was a tough decision and we waited until the last minute to catch a hot play.
"Week after week after week, Ryan was the hot player. He's been right there at the forefront with us. Frankly I didn't think it was going to come down to the last day of the Tour Championship. It was a tough situation for us to wait, to watch, and then to have to go through a play-off. In the end we got the hottest player and that's what the whole system was set up for."
Indeed, few on the PGA Tour have sizzled like Moore in recent weeks with four top-10s in his last six starts — including the 12-under showing at East Lake that ended in a four-hole play-off loss to Rory McIlroy.
Moore, making his first Ryder Cup team at 33, was regarded as a safe pick with a sparkling resume in match-play as an amateur.
He edged out Bubba Watson, Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger.
"I said, 'Where are you?'" Love said of his conversation with Moore. "He said, 'I'm headed to Vegas.' I said, 'Well, can you stop in Minnesota?' And I don't think he knew what to say. He just said, 'Really?' and asked if he could drop his family off first. He and I have had a couple emotional, frank conversations over the last few weeks. It was exciting to give him the news, because he's been on the other side of those a few times."
Watson, ranked seventh in the world, had been a surprise omission in preliminary picks and when Love expanded the roster to 11.
In delivering the news he had opted for Moore, Love instead offered Watson a consolation spot on the team as a vice-captain.
Love, a first-time Ryder Cup captain himself, said Watson "adds a lot of fun, a different personality" to the assistant ranks that already included big names such as Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk.