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|"I still think about the Ryder Cup a little bit every day," Love says.|
This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's Dec. 10 Interview issue. Subscribe today!
On Sept. 30, Love captained the U.S. team that blew a four-point lead for its worst final-day collapse in Ryder Cup play.
I THINK ABOUT the Ryder Cup a little bit every day. Still. You can't help it. Someone brings it up every day. I think about why we didn't win, what went wrong.
This much is clear to me: There wasn't one fatal mistake. Critics like to single out Tiger Woods' 0-3 record in team matches or the fact that we sat our best
I do wonder why we played differently on Sunday. We planned everything -- except we didn't plan on being four points ahead going into that final day. I had been consulting with sports psychologist Bob Rotella leading up to the Ryder Cup. But coach John Calipari had Bob with him throughout Kentucky's title run last season, and looking back, I wish I would've done the same. On Saturday night as I headed back from the media room to address the team, I found myself wondering, So we're four ahead, what do I say when I walk back in there?
All week I told the players to relax and have fun. That's what worked the first two days, but you could see it right away on Sunday: They were tight, nervous. Why would you be nervous when you're four points ahead? Why would you try harder on Sunday than you did on Friday and Saturday? If anything, we put too much effort into those first two days, because historically that's where we've always seemed to fail.
All day Sunday, I still thought we were going to win. We just needed a few guys to finish it off. Somewhere around 5 o'clock I finally realized, Holy cow, they're not finishing it off. That's when it went bad.
I knew going in, the narrative was either going to be the team won or the captain screwed it all up. And ultimately I didn't get them to calm down on Sunday. That's on me; that's coaching.
It was a great week, a great two years leading up to it. Would they ask me to be captain again down the road? I don't know. If asked -- which means the players wanted me back -- I'd do it. But I won't get asked.
Bob Harig interviewed Davis Love III on Nov. 8, 2012. Follow The Mag on Twitter (@ESPNmag) and like us on Facebook.