In the phoney war of words that rumbles on, the United States captain, Davis Love III, blinked first. His poker face imploded as he fought back tears when talking yesterday about what it means to him to represent the US. Europe's Jose Maria Olazabal, by contrast, has been one cool cat.
Captain Love – as the US team leader is rather creepily referred to – looked tired even before his eyes began to well up. "I haven't been getting to bed until 2.30 thinking about my team," he said. "I've had lots of thought about pairings but haven't put pencil to the paper yet." Pencil? How about pen? Time is running out.
The responsibility is clearly weighing heavy on his laid-back shoulders. "We just went through the Olympics," Love added. "This is getting like the Olympics for our country." He sounded like the expectations of a superpower were dawning on him.
Love has made no attempt to camouflage his game plan. He couldn't anyway, the course is there for everyone to see. There is no rough. "We need to play aggressively. We need to shoot at the pins, gotta make birdies, get the crowd into it," he said.
So why not send out the big-hitting Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, Dustin Johnson, give them a ball each, and tell them to tear a strip out of Medinah? He's chosen the conservative approach, against his aggressive game plan. Advantage, Olazabal and Europe, perhaps. Unless Love is bluffing. Heck, it's too late to grow rough.
With four rookies in the team, finding happy couples is more like speed dating. Only Woods and Steve Stricker are guaranteed to hold hands. Zach Johnson shed some light. "I don't think that it was too shocking that you saw Tiger and Stricker playing together, and Keegan and Phil, and Bubba and Webb," Johnson said. "Are they going to play together [tomorrow]? I mean, I would assume," he said. "But I don't have any idea."
It appears Love hasn't made up his mind, yet, either. He's got one day left to avoid any Hapless Hal Sutton decisions. Remember Phil and Tiger in 2004? Played two, lost two.
Love wants it loud but doesn't want vitriol. "This is not a war, it's a golf match," he said. Someone should tell him Poulter's not listening. "We are all friends," he said. "But, boy, do you want to kill them in the Ryder Cup." He probably didn't mean it literally.