The U.S. Ryder Cup team should need no added motivation to fuel its effort to avenge its heartbreaking 2010 defeat. Not after the way that tournament ended and not with the talented 12-player squad Davis Love III selected for the tournament later this month at Medinah Country Club outside Chicago.
But just in case, the Americans will have one of the most competitive athletes ever — and a local hero to boot — in their corner.
Michael Jordan will serve as an advisor and motivator to the team, Love announced during Tuesday’s Ryder Cup press conference, via The Guardian.
“I’ve talked to him. Michael’s going to be hanging around with Fred probably a lot and be an influence,” Love said. “I told Michael this a couple weeks ago. One of the neatest things I ever saw in the Ryder Cup was Michael riding in the golf cart with Tom Kite. He came out to watch Freddie and I play and I thought that was one of the coolest things in the world.
“So I want my team, like Fred [Couples] and I did, to get to see Michael. Rather than him sneaking around in the gallery, I want him to be seen and I want him to be in our team room, be hanging around and be a great influence.”
The five-time MVP was an assistant captain for the 2009 Presidents Cup team and is an avid golfer.
Jordan’s track record as a motivator is a bit better than his work as an owner. As an upcoming ESPN The Magazine story points out:
This is the new reality for Michael Jordan -- in which a man who as a player is still regarded as the GOAT is forced to hear whispers that he's a goat as an NBA executive; in which the likes of the underachieving Kwame Browns and Adam Morrisons now threaten to obscure the images of the vanquished Craig Ehlos and Bryon Russells. As a player, Jordan orchestrated the greatest season in NBA history. As an executive, he now owns the worst.
If you’re walking the course and looking for Jordan, just keep your nostrils open and follow the cigar smoke.
The U.S. roster includes Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickleson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker. Rory McIlroy leads a European team that includes Justin Rose, Paul Lawrie, 2010 hero Graeme McDowell, Francesco Molinari, Peter Hanson, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts.