Q&A: Polo ambassador Davis Love III talks fashion, Ryder Cup, Tiger

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Q&A: Polo ambassador Davis Love III talks fashion, Ryder Cup, Tiger


Q&A: Polo ambassador Davis Love III talks fashion, Ryder Cup, Tiger

ORLANDO – Davis Love III – World Golf Hall of Famer, former Ryder Cup captain and longtime Polo/Ralph Lauren golf ambassador – recently sat down with Golfweek‘s Brentley Romine at the PGA Merchandise Show and discussed a variety of topics, from his relationship with Polo, to Polo’s involvement with Team USA and the Ryder Cup, to Tiger Woods:

BR: You’ve been with Polo/Ralph Lauren it seems like forever, more than 20 years. What is it about this company that makes you love being partnered with them?

DL3: “It’s something I love, first of all, the clothes. I thought I fit their brand pretty well and it’s what I wanted to wear. So it just worked out great that they did get into golf in a big way. It was a good time for me because I was playing well and one of the top players (on Tour). … Just been a great partnership. I helped them, but they helped me, with my style and my brand.”

BR: You look at the Ryder Cup uniforms for 2018 and from two years ago, and you look at someone like Justin Thomas having success in the brand, what goes through your head when you see all the success that this brand has had?

DL3: “It’s amazing to me to see where they’ve come from, just a few things that were in the line that they could take to golf, to golf as it’s own brand. They’ve learned – going all the way back to Tom Watson, Jeff Sluman, Jonathan Byrd, myself – things that work.

“Going through all the Ryder Cups has really helped them, because instead of a few guys, you have 12 guys who are part of that design process. And sitting down with captain (Tom) Lehman or captain Watson or myself, and us saying this is what we need to feel comfortable and to perform well, they really learned. So their technology, the outer wear – I mean I have guys from the Ryder Cup telling me that this is the best rain suit they’ve ever worn. Patrick Reed still wears the pants with the USA on them. The camo pullover that we had is still everybody’s favorite.

“It’s just great to see it come from really its infancy all the way to them dressing the Olympic team and the Ryder Cup team; it’s pretty incredible.”

BR: Describe the involvement the captain has in what these Ryder Cup uniforms are going to look like?

DL3: “We had a lot of influence in what works for the players. My wife and Maureen (Whitaker) had more influence on colors and matching, deciding what polo was going to go with what pant on which day. I was more like, ‘You know, Tiger has a different fit than Davis.’ I know the players and I know what they like, so on sleeve length or outerwear, you know, we have to have a vest, or we have to have a long-sleeved pullover and a short-sleeved pullover; things, as players, to keep 12 guys happy. They don’t like the same kind of hats – Tiger has a lot smaller head and I have a lot bigger head. We have to design for them. People don’t realize the hardest thing for a player getting ready (for a Ryder Cup) is we’ve taken everything away from him except for his club and his ball. You’re changing his bag, you’re changing his clothes, you’re changing his schedule; you know, he can’t wear his suit to dinner, he has to wear a new suit to dinner. That’s the hard thing.

“As a player, playing on the teams and being given all the clothes, it helped me to say, ‘All right, team, let’s make sure of these things.’ And then having three or four tailors there to make sure because, hey, we fit this guy at Memorial, we’re playing in September, somebody might have lost weight or gained weight since then, or they come out half an inch wrong. … A guy goes on a new workout program and loses weight in his waist but he gains in his shoulders, or like me, he gets hooked on Southern Soul BBQ too much. There’s a lot more that goes into it, but they’ve learned.

“This time around with Jim Furyk (as captain), they’re like, ‘This is great.’ You know, he (Furyk) did it for Lehman, he did it for Watson, he did it for me twice; he’s got it. Plus, obviously the Olympics helps them (Polo) because they do opening and closing ceremony outfits for a lot of people. Obviously, it has to be red, white and blue. … It’s very innovative and high-tech fabrics. They are taking the RLX outerwear’s high performance and putting it into stylish golf clothes.”

BR: Now they just need a high-tech fabric to help Team USA win overseas. Why is it so hard to win over there?

DL3: “I think it’s the home-game part of it, traveling, long year, all those things. But until 2016, we hadn’t won on either side of the pond for a while. We had a slump going, for sure, whether it was trying too hard or lack of confidence. But we know that they have a great team and are going to be hard to beat, so we’re going to have to be on our game.

“Phil Mickelson was talking about it on the 18th green at Hazeltine: ‘We have to be ready for Paris. This is going to be a lot of harder than it is over here. It’s going to be a different ballgame, and you guys need to be on it.’

“I think we need to plan a little better, work a little harder. (Patriots coach) Bill Belichick told me, ‘We really don’t have a secret, we just work harder than everybody else and trust each other.’ I think we just need to really talk about it, what is it going to be like when we get to Paris? We’re not going to go over there four times and play practice rounds, you know, we’re going to have to have a game plan on how to learn the course and how to just block out the fact that we haven’t won over there, that there’s going to be 50,000 fans and 90 percent are going to be for them.

“We’re looking at it, starting after 2014, as it’s a whole new ballgame. What happened in the past is in the past. We’re 3-0 now because we’ve won the Presidents Cup twice also. We won it in Korea, we played very well at Hazeltine, and we took those things to Liberty National with (Steve) Stricker, who was there in 2014. … We sat down after 2016 and said, ‘Where did we screw up and what can we do better?’ And after New York, we had a debriefing and we talked about who was going to be the next Presidents Cup captain.

“We’re really working hard on continuity and consistency, so the next thing is now we have our core group, they’re bought in to this, but who’s going to be the new guy that’s going to play on this team that we have to prepare to get into our system?”

BR: Patton Kizzire?

DL3: “We’ll have an easy time with Patton because we’ve got him nailed down in Sea Island (Ga.). Now, he’s No. 1 in FedEx Cup. My job – because I know Patton very well – my job is to bring him into the group and say, ‘All right, Patton, you need to play some practice rounds with Jordan (Spieth), Rickie (Fowler).’ They need to talk Ryder Cup because they can’t just leave it to Jim Furyk to talk to Patton Kizzire. Everybody on that team needs to be comfortable with Patton because, for example, Phil Mickelson doesn’t really know Patton that well. So if Phil’s going to play, Phil needs to get to know Patton.

“We did it with Justin Thomas at Hazeltine. We did it with Daniel Berger in New York, so when Berger played the Presidents Cup last year, he was already in the loop, he had already seen what it looks like and was saying ‘I want to be on these teams.’ … We need to do that with the next group of guys. Patton will be top of the list. Austin (Cook) as well, but whoever those guys are we have to get them into the system and have them be totally bought in. So who’s Patton going to play with? We can start figuring that out now – we don’t have to wait until two weeks before. Those guys want to know and be prepared.

“It’s going to be fun. After 2014, what the PGA of America did, they gave us a voice, they gave us a sense of ownership and we’re all on the same team now. You know, Tiger (Woods) has just taken this and run with it; he’s so excited he can’t stand it. It’s really gone from casual conversation to now it’s all we’re talking about. … It’s what Europe had that we were lacking in, a group of guys working together. … It took us a while to catch on, but we’ve caught on.”

BR: Does the golf world explode when Tiger makes the 2018 Ryder Cup team as a player?

DL3: “That’s what we’re hoping for and he’s gunning for. If he was sitting here right now, he’d tell you, ‘Yeah, I want to be a playing captain.’ If we have him on the team playing, it makes us a better team. Who wouldn’t want to play with him as a partner? Putting Patton or Rickie or one of the young guys with him, (a player) that he could inspire and coach, it would be unbelievable. Look at Rickie and Phil at Hazeltine. … They played great.

“So yeah, it’s exciting the more you think about Paris and the 50,000 people that are going to be there.”


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