Friday, September 10, 2010

Lisa Pavin: Ryder Cup Preview

My first experience with Corey Pavin was in December of 2008 in New York City. The PGA of America was announcing him as the Captain for the 2010 United States Ryder Cup team. It was a whirlwind 48 hours that consisted of an introductory dinner in Manhattan followed the next day by a press conference at Tavern on the Green. Interviews with ESPN, Fox News, Bloomberg and NBC were sandwiched around a photo shoot in Times Square.

The focus of those two days in New York was on Corey Pavin, as it should have been. But, it was apparent to me that Lisa Pavin would leave her mark on the 38th Ryder Cup in Wales. Wives of Ryder Cup captains play different roles. “The Captainess” as Lisa describes herself has been very engaged in much of the administrative planning that makes the Ryder Cup a very special event for all involved.

I had the opportunity to sit down with “The Captainess” this week. She shared some unique insights on the 2010 Ryder Cup which will be played at Celtic Manor next week. Lisa Pavin is engaging, never short on opinions, patriotically driven and totally loyal to her man! Here is what she had to say.

The Ryder Cup is upon us, what does it feel like? Two years of planning, expectations and the build up- it is finally here!

(LP) “I feel an array of emotions and it rides just like a roller coaster, full of highs and lows. Just last Friday night, we finished our West Coast Media Blitz with Corey throwing a STRIKE at Dodger Stadium. I got in the car and said to Corey, “Honey, that was the last one… the last of our official outings with the PGA.”

I got a little emotional knowing that these outings, these appearances, these activities that we were honored to be a part of were essentially finished. Of course, until we get to Wales! I know that in the last 3-4 months, I have had bouts of pure craziness trying to raise a 2 ½ year old, both cell phones ringing off the hook, emails from PGA HQ, the scheduling of Corey’s PGA Tour and Champions Tour travel- along with appearances for the PGA of America. I thought when is this craziness going to end!

However, at the end of the day, I feel much honored to be a part of the PGA family and I will miss it all.”

You put your personal stamp on the 2010 Ryder Cup by designing a special logo for this competition. What prompted this and what statement does it make?

(LP) “In doing research and looking at past years’ clothing, all I kept thinking was ‘I want something different.’ Corey and I consulted with people in the fashion industry. We wanted the 2010 team to stand out. As I dug up photos from the 1950’s to 1970’s Ryder Cup teams, the idea of having vintage and retro inspired clothing became my inspiration.

This was when Corey passed me the baton. He was beginning his 28th season of playing and doing it on both Tours- on top of his responsibilities as Captain. And you think Corey really wanted to talk about clothing when he had so many others things on his mind? Not so much!

I felt like having a logo would really take the vintage/retro look up a notch. Here was my chance to do something different and make the 2010 team stand out. Two things were important to me. It needed to signify USA- it had to be bold; it had to be red, white and blue. The logo had to unequivocally remind Team USA of what and who we were playing for……. The Ryder Cup and the United States of America.”

Sneak preview the team clothing and the process of picking the various lines.

(LP) “I spent a couple of days in New York City visiting with various vendors. This can be a very tough process because we needed a vendor who was willing to produce a small number of items with a quick turnaround. These vendors only have about three weeks to produce custom-fitted suits, slacks, tops, sweaters, vests, tuxedos and rain gear.

We chose Hickey Freeman for our formal wear, men’s pants and women’s Opening Ceremony coats. We used Peter Millar for our shirts and sweaters. Sun Mountain did the rain gear and Imperial supplied hats and visors.”

What kind of hat will Rickie Fowler wear? (His trademark is a flat billed cap)

(LP) “Hopefully his style- just the same color! At least that’s what I asked for…….”

What was the best part of the Ryder Cup experience? What was the worst part?

(LP) “Without a doubt, the best part of the last 22 months has been watching my husband’s DREAM come true. Not every player gets to add “Ryder Cup Captain” to their resume. There is no worst part about this experience. I do wish, however, that our daughter was older so she could remember the journey with us.”

What does Corey Pavin offer this Ryder Cup team? What makes him a unique captain?

(LP) “Corey is always calm, whether in a good or bad situation. And that is a very important quality to have when leading a team. You don’t want your team to know if the Captain is anxious, excited, upset or stressed. His ability to remain calm will just allow the players to go out and play. That’s not to say that he doesn’t have emotion. In fact, quite the opposite!! He just knows when and where to let his emotions come out.

In the past 2-3 months, Corey has opened up and communicated with all potential players. He continued to talk to the top eight as they made the team and consulted with them when he made his four captain’s picks. He flew to Boston several days before the four picks were made. He sat down and talked with the top 20 guys that he was considering. They all knew where they stood with Corey.

This week he is flying to Atlanta to meet with the entire team, minus the 2-3 players not in the Tour Championship. He has taken on responsibilities without people asking, knowing that this can only build team strength heading to Wales. I’ve had several players and members from the PGA mention that they haven’t see a Captain as highly interested in the team, as a WHOLE, as much as Corey has been.

I also think that being a player on three Ryder Cup teams himself; a potential player who was passed up on one team and being an assistant captain in 2006 has given Corey a good insight to many aspects of the Ryder Cup. He is able to relate to players on several different levels because in has been in their shoes.”    

How much interaction have you had with the team and wives since the team was selected? What will your role be during the matches?

(LP) “I leave all of the communication with the players to Corey. I did text to congratulate a few who were new to the team. But, I haven’t and won’t get in the way of how our Captain deals with Team USA. That is his duty.

As far as wives, I made sure that I reached out to the rookies, and the wives or girlfriends who have never been part of a Ryder Cup team. I had met most of them at a BBQ we hosted during the PGA Championship. I also called any Tour wives that I didn’t really know. I gave them my phone number and wanted them to know that I was available to communicate.

I addition, I did the same with caddies. We wanted them to know that they are a valued part of the team. Yes, it is 12 superstars in terms of the players, but these superstars have a lot of support through their caddies, wives or girlfriends and it is important to make these people feel part of the 2010 Team, too.

My main objective is to make everyone from Officials of the PGA, to players, to caddies and to family feel that ALL of us contribute to Team USA. None of us could be here without each other. We want to have fun, but we need to stay focused on our task and our goal, which is bringing the Ryder Cup back to American soil.”

Corey Pavin has full appreciation for the efforts of his wife, “She has helped me out tremendously in a multitude of ways. With Lisa taking care of many details, I have been able to focus on Team USA, captain’s picks and the pairings.”

The Captain is probably being a bit modest on his assessment of “The Captainess”. The Ryder Cup is a unique competition that possesses components not found in other sports. Granted, Lisa Pavin won’t be hitting any shots next week in Wales, but her finger prints will be all over Team USA. In her own way, she has set a standard for the future U.S. Captain’s wives- and it has been a good one.   

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