Hulbert named Ryder Cup assistant

Monday, July 02, 2012

By Steve DiMeglio, USA TODAY

BETHESDA, Md. – U.S.Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III turned to two old friends to start filling out his coaching staff.

Love, playing in the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club, announced Wednesday that Fred Couples, a frequent playing partner in the World Cup, Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup competitions, and Mike Hulbert will be two of his assistant captains when the Americans take on their European counterparts in the biennial match-play tussle in September at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill.

Love said he, Couples and Hulbert will determine the two remaining assistant picks and name them in the next two months. A points system for events from Jan. 1 through Aug. 12 will determine the top eight players. Love, with input from his assistants, will name four captain's picks Sept. 4.

The USA will try to regain the Ryder Cup after losing 14½-13½ in Newport, Wales, in 2010.

"Those two were my natural choices. My next two are going to be harder," Love said. "In Freddie I've got somebody that's in contact with a lot of the players that have played on the team, but he's not out here every week, and Hub knows a lot of guys out here and a lot of guys know him. He's one of those kind of the favorite hang guys, you know, around the Tour."

Couples, who has been the captain of the victorious U.S. team the past two editions of the Presidents Cup, teamed with Love to win the World Cup four times (1992-95). The two also were 6-4-1 in Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup matches.

"We know Fred's passion for team events. Playing matches with him, playing World Cups with him was pretty amazing, actually. People see Freddie, he makes it look so easy and he's got this nice swing and he's always smiling and waving. But what's going on in his head, I think, is completely different," Love said. "He really has a lot of pride in his game. He tries, like all of us, tries too hard sometimes. It doesn't show, but he tries very, very hard.

"There was a reason Michael Jordan was an assistant captain (for Couples). It wasn't because Michael Jordan is really cool and a good basketball player and they were going to go hang out. There was a reason for that and there was a reason for picking guys early, there was a reason for everything he did. When you get him on the phone, which is difficult sometimes, but when you get him going, he really doesn't stop talking about it, talking about the guys on the team and the things that he did."

Love, as an amateur, was paired with Hulbert and Ken Green in his very first PGA Tour event. Hulbert was also an assistant captain for Curtis Strange in the 2002 Ryder Cup.

"One of the first phone calls I got when it was announced that I was going to be the captain was from Curtis, and he said the best assistant captain in the history of the Ryder Cup was Mike Hulbert," Love said. "I've stayed with him hundreds of times in hotel rooms and houses across the Tour, and he's been a close, close friend of mine for a long time."

Love also announced that alternate shot (foursomes) will be used in the first session of play on Friday and Saturday of the Ryder Cup.

More on Hulbert

ETSU golf standout Mike Hulbert played for and led the Bucs from 1977 to 1980. He was given All-American honors in 1979 and 1980. Hulbert won the 1980 Southern Conference Individual Championship and was an individual invitee to the 1979 and 1980 NCAA Championship. He was named to the 75th Anniversary Southern Conference Team and earned his PGA Tour Card in 1984. Hulbert was inducted into the ETSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002. 

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