Love at Crossroads and On Crutches

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2007, 5:00 pm
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- The hallway leading to a conference room at the office of Davis Love III is lined with golf bags from all the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup matches he played, a streak that began in 1993 when he holed the winning putt at The Belfry.
He hasn't been on a team in two years, and the only mention he gets now is as a future captain.
Hanging from the wall is a portrait of Love winning in New Orleans in 1995, when he cashed in on his last chance to qualify for the Masters. He has played 70 straight majors, the longest active streak in golf, but starts next year eligible only for the PGA Championship.
If he is at crossroads in his career, he arrived on crutches.
Love, 43, is two months into his recovery from shredded ligaments in his left ankle when he stepped in a grass-covered hole while jogging down a tee box during a casual round in September.
He wears a black brace, but the limp is mostly gone.
When he first injured his ankle, Love hoped to return in time for the Target World Challenge, which he has won twice. The goal now is Pebble Beach, but it might not be until the Florida swing before he plays.
This was not a light sprain. Love still keeps a photo of his swollen ankle -- black and purple and bordering on grotesque -- on his iPhone from when he first went to see the doctor.
'I didn't realize the magnitude of what it would take to come back,' he said last week during a break from rehab.
It is starting to sink in.
Love was largely forgotten over the final two months of the season. His name was mentioned at the Presidents Cup, but only because that was the week he fell out of the top 50 in the world ranking for the first time in 17 years. One reporter called him for a story on Fred Couples. That was the second inquiry from the media.
'There's not a whole lot of people clamoring for you, which is good and bad,' Love said with a smile.
What's so bad about being left alone? Love equated that with being a longtime member of the PGA TOUR policy board, where most decisions are based on the TOUR as a whole instead of any one player.
'You can't do something special for the 82nd player on the money list, because someone will take his place,' Love said. 'You realize that players come and go.'
Reality says he might be one of those players if he doesn't turn it around.
With his year cut short, Love finished 96th on the money list, his lowest position in 22 years on TOUR. When he sat down to go over the 2008 schedule, he realized he might not be able to play tournaments he usually penciled in without a second thought.
He has been eligible for every World Golf Championship since they were created in 1999, but Love, who was No. 16 at the start of the year, slipped to No. 64 on Monday and probably won't be eligible for the Accenture Match Play Championship. His only ticket to Augusta National is to win, and he might only get a half-dozen chances. The last time a Masters was played without him was 1990.
Love does not lack for motivation.
'This is a serious deal,' Brad Faxon said Tuesday. 'The outer left side of the ankle, that's your torque and follow-through. It's going to take time. But if anyone will react positively to this, it's Davis.'
Love has followed his therapy religiously, not taking any risks or missing any of his sessions. While he is itching to play, he is not in a rush. Ernie Els came back early from knee surgery in 2005, which probably slowed his progress.
Being away from golf has given Love plenty of time to reflect on where he has been and where he wants to go.
Some of the goals have changed. Love still jokes about being No. 1 on the PGA TOUR's career money list in early 2000, even though his reign only lasted two weeks before Tiger Woods caught him.
Love is at 19 career victories, one away from lifetime membership on the PGA TOUR. He desperately wants to add to his lone major at the '97 PGA Championship. The FedExCup is a priority. So is the Ryder Cup, and not as a captain. Not yet, anyway.
Motivation comes from not being able to play. And it comes from a magazine article this year that suggested Love was washed up and won't be heard from again in the majors, if he even qualifies for them. He keeps a laminated copy in his office.
'I'm nowhere near coasting,' Love said.
Still he admits being defensive over criticism, and he has heard for years that for someone with his talent, he hasn't squeezed everything out of it that he should have. Love doesn't necessarily disagree.
'I know I should have and could have won more,' he said. 'Everybody wants more for you. I want it more than anyone wants it for me.'
What bothers him is when people say he doesn't care.
True, his only major was the PGA Championship. Love had chances at the U.S. Open in 1996, the British Open in 2003 at Royal St. George's, and most recently the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol. He prefers to look at the bigger picture of playing 12 straight times in a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup. Or going 17 out of 18 years finishing in the top 30 on the money list. Or playing in 70 consecutive majors.
'You don't have streaks like that just trying to get by,' Love said. 'It's just like Freddie (Couples). People think it comes so easy that you don't work at it. I get defensive when people say I don't work hard or I don't care that much.'
The challenge has never been greater.
He is taking baby steps before he can walk, much less run. Love is not interested in making up for lost time, but for making the most of what time he has left.
Players come and go. Love is not ready to leave.
Related Links:
  • Davis Love III's Bio and 2007 Record
    Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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    Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

    By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

    The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

    There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

    Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

    None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

    An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

    In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

    Playing with the pros

    Tiger, DJ and Faxon

    Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

    Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

    Rory faces criticism

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

    President at the Presidents Cup

    Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

    Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

    Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

    Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

    Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

    Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

    Cart on the green

    Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

    Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

    Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

    Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

    Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

    Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

    Trump golf properties


    Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

    Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


    Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

    Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

    Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

    Reportedly fake TIME covers

    Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

    Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

    Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

    Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

    Pros comment on the president

    Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

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    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

    Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

    Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

    With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

    Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

    The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

    Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

    In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.