Spieth will never fully get over Masters meltdown: Love

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 13, 2016 7:15 PM

(Reuters) - Jordan Spieth will never get over his shocking Masters meltdown, no matter how many major championships he wins, but will learn from his collapse, United States Ryder Cup captain Davis Love said on Wednesday.

Spieth heads the rankings for the American team to play Europe at Hazeltine in Minnesota this year.

Love does not think Spieth’s Masters experience, where he quadruple-bogeyed the 12th hole in the final round to throw away the green jacket won by Danny Willett, will have any negative long-term impact on his career.

But the 52-year-old knows first-hand that it will still leave mental scars.

Love won one major title, the 1997 PGA Championship, but also had several near-misses, none more traumatic than the 1996 U.S. Open when he bogeyed the final two holes, missing a three-footer at the last that would have put him into a playoff.

“I could have won,” Love recalled wistfully of that experience at Oakland Hills in Michigan.

“You never forget it because maybe you think you’re never going to have another chance.

“At 22, (Spieth is) going to have a lot more chances. I’m sure he’s looking at it differently, but it doesn’t matter if he wins five Masters and five of every other major and breaks Jack’s record, he’s still going to look back and go ‘I could have won that one’.

“You’ll never get over it but he got a lot out of his game last week. He survived without his A game and almost won.

“It’s hard (but) he’s going to learn a lot from it.”

Love, referring to the 18 major championships won by Jack Nicklaus, is still playing a full schedule, but always has one eye on the Ryder Cup standings. Second-placed Dustin Johnson is probably the only American player other than Spieth sure to get into the team.

Eight players will qualify from the points list and Love will make four captain’s picks for the Oct. 31-Sept. 2 event.

He wants his high-ranked players to make a reconnaissance mission to Hazeltine before the Rio Olympics in August.

“It is April so I’m not getting hung up on the points list,” he said.

“We’re going to make sure we get everybody we think is going to play (has) a chance to go up there and get a practice round in.

“Now it’s warming up in Minnesota, we get there and make sure everybody gets done what they need to get done, before the Olympics.”

Love was speaking on the eve of the RBC Heritage tournament at Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.

World number one Jason Day heads a field missing last year's champion Jim Furyk, who remains sidelined with a wrist injury.

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond)