By Davis Love III U.S. Ryder Cup Captain
MEDINAH, Ill. -- Giving the speech at the Opening Ceremony today was nerve-wracking. When you know the scope of this event after dealing with it for two years - I mean how many people are out there watching - it's kind of intimidating. But I'm glad to have it over with. Jose Maria and I worked each other up over it - every time we've talked the subject of our speeches came up.
Now that the speeches and all the pomp and circumstance are over, it tells us that we can actually go and play now. Turning in those pairings was thrilling. Hearing them announced was incredible.
I've been trying to stress the message that these are friendly matches. I think that's real important for everyone here to understand. My speech was not to thank my mom, thank Jack Lumpkin (Love's instructor) and thank Mike Scully (PGA Head Professional at Medinah) and Curtis Tyrrell (Director of Golf Course Operations at Medinah).
My speech was to set the tone for these fans and to impress upon these players what it means to play on the team. I think that was really my goal. That was important to me and I can thank everybody I need to thank down the road. While you're honoring sports traditions and trying to get the fans to pull for us, it was important to be fair to the other team. That was more what I wanted to do.
Another speech I get to make to my players is going to be that I don't want them going out there trying to win the Ryder Cup for me. At some point tonight, I'm going to have to say, "Listen, this isn't about anybody other than you 12 players."
They're the ones that are going to go win the Ryder Cup. I don't want them doing exactly what I did in 1997, trying to win the Ryder Cup for our captain, Tom Kite. Justin Leonard and I couldn't have wanted to win for anyone - any captain - more than we wanted to win for Tom Kite.
That really hurt the way we played. I don't want Brandt Snedeker going out there tomorrow trying to win the Ryder Cup, or win a match because I'm his captain and I've watched him come through professional golf and because I picked him.
Brandt has said that a couple of times. He says, "I'm going to prove Davis right."
Well, I'm going to tell him, "Whatever you've been doing the last few weeks - you just keep doing that. Don't even think about me."
I just want him and all the other players to enjoy playing the Ryder Cup and trying to win it. I shouldn't have anything to do with that. It's easy for me to say. I'm sure Ben Crenshaw or Tom Kite would have told me the same thing, but as long as I say it and they try to relax, I just have to make sure I watch them and make sure they're not trying too hard. That's important to me.
This is their team. They should know that by now. They've had a lot of input. This is their team.
- Ryder Cup