Tiger Woods couldn’t sleep. Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker were depressed. And Michael Jordan -- well, the U.S. Ryder Cup team’s most famous follower totally gets why everyone involved, from captain Davis Love III on down, can’t seem to shake the post-Medinah miasma that still envelops the losing side.
“He felt bad like the rest of us,” Love, speaking about his honorary advisor, told reporters on Wednesday, ahead of this week’s Frys.com Open in which the team leader will ply his trade. “He was as an avid a fan as anybody. And Michael understands: the players care more about it than anybody else.”
Love said that playing in Las Vegas just days after the Ryder Cup ended, as well as in this week’s event, helped him heal from Team Europe shocking his lads with a 14.5-13.5 comeback win 10 days ago. He also dismissed any talk about his players choking in Chicago.
If anything, Love insisted, Woods, Furyk, Stricker, et al, wanted the victory too badly.
“Tiger Woods was up all night Sunday night, didn't sleep,” Love said. “I mean, he's taken the rookies aside Sunday night and telling them he's sorry that he didn't play better ‑- and he actually played very well. But he feels responsible.”
Woods went 0-3-1 in his most recent Ryder Cup competition. His half point was inconsequential, since he earned it after the Euros had clinched the trophy on Sunday.
“Furyk [1-2-0] and Stricker [0-4-0], we're all down in the dumps over it,” Love added. “I think people don't realize how much these guys really care, how hard they try.
“That's part of our problem is we try too hard,” Love explained. “It's like the last nine holes of the Masters -- guy shoots 2‑over and they say, ‘Well, he choked,' or 'he didn't handle the pressure.’
“No,” Love insisted, “He was trying too hard. All of a sudden he started trying to win the Masters.
“I think that's what happened to us in the Ryder Cup,” Love concluded.
As for Jordan, Love acknowledged he had texted the Chicago Bulls legend a few times but had yet to hear back from him.
“We all tried to do our own little part to get the guys to go out and play and have fun and relax,” the captain said. “In the end, the other team made the putts and we didn't.
“Everybody feels bad that we could have done something differently, Michael included.”
Love, who finished T66 at last week’s JT Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, has a 7:50 a.m. PT tee time Thursday with Camilo Villegas and Vijay Singh. The threesome will start on the 10th tee at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, Calif.
While he acknowledged that the pain of the Ryder Cup collapse would “sting for a long time for a lot of us,” Love believed that being among colleagues would help alleviate some of the ache.
“You're out here with your competitive friends, guys who understand the game, and you can talk about it a little bit more,” said Love, who has heard from Woods, in Turkey for this week’s World Golf Final, and his star rookie, Keegan Bradley (3-1-0). “Plus, I need to play.”