Love Hoping for Another Rainbow

By Associated PressAugust 13, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. -- He's not going to beat the drama of last time. Not even close.
That one came complete with a rainbow poking through the clouds on the final putt and tearful memories of a father who taught him the game. That one helped lift one major burden from his shoulders.
Davis Love III thought it was going to be easy after that day. He finally had his major, fulfilling both his promise and his late father's dream by winning the PGA Championship.
He thought he would win more, maybe win them in bunches. The last thing he thought was that he would be playing in the same tournament eight years later still searching for his second major championship win.
``You obviously arrogantly think if you win one that the rest of them are easy,'' Love said. ``The second one is just as hard.''
He still wonders why he hasn't done it again, wonders how history will treat him if he doesn't win a handful. He's been eclipsed by other players who weren't around when he started playing for money nearly two decades ago, and he must understand that at age 41 his chances are beginning to run out.
That's why his career and his psyche could be in play just as much as the Wanamaker Cup when Love goes off Sunday with his best chance yet to win major No. 2. He'll tee off in the afternoon on Baltusrol Golf Club's Lower Course in the final group with Phil Mickelson, tied for the lead after three straight 68s.
He'll do it with memories of the 1997 PGA at Winged Foot firmly in the back of his mind. It was a milestone in his life and in his career, a tournament that helped him finally shed the dreaded label of being the best player never to win a major.
On his way to that win, the son of a PGA teaching professional couldn't help but think what the win would have meant to his father, who was killed in a 1988 plane crash.
``Every time I thought about winning, every time I thought about what it would mean, every time I thought about whether I was three strokes or four ahead,'' Love said that day, ``I started to get choked up. I had to remind myself to keep playing the game.''
When he sank the final putt to win by five strokes, the sun came out and a rainbow spread out above the course. Love, and many others, took it as a sign that his father was above looking out for him.
There are similarities this week that could suit him well.
Like Winged Foot, this is a PGA Championship. Like Winged Foot, it is in the New York metropolitan area. And like Winged Foot, it is a long traditional golf course that suits Love's game perfectly.
Love hasn't won a major in eight years, hasn't won a golf tournament of any kind in two. But a workout regimen has strengthened him, his back feels better, and he came into the week determined not to let the early rounds get away from him like he has in the other majors.
Sports shrink Bob Rotella told him earlier in the week, ``If I can get you to Sunday, I know you'll do well,'' and Love is desperate to take that positive thought with him.
``I know I've played some Sunday rounds that will win this golf tournament,'' he said.
He'll have to do it by overcoming both the course and the house favorite.
Mickelson will get the roars, the cheers and the adulation. That's because Mickelson smiles his way around the course, while Love walks about with what seems to be a perpetual frown and seldom interacts with the crowd.
When he does, it's not always good. Instead of celebrating after clinching the 2000 Presidents Cup with a putt on the back nine, Love instead turned to berate a photographer in front of stunned fans.
When he played Tiger Woods in the final of the Match Play Championship last year, Love was widely criticized after threatening not to play anymore until a man who heckled him by saying ``No Love'' was removed from the course.
He may not win the popularity contest against Mickelson, but he's certainly got the talent to win the tournament. Love is a long hitter who hits his irons high, just the kind of game needed to tame a course that has gotten firmer and faster as the tournament went on.
There's a good chance of thunderstorms Sunday, so the conditions could change. There will be clouds, and there just might be rain.
If he's really lucky, there might be something else.
``I'll try to remember Winged Foot and look up in the clouds a little bit,'' Love said. ``Maybe there will be part of a rainbow there somewhere.''
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  • Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

    By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

    The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

    Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

    What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

    Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

    Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

    Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

    Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

    Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

    Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

    Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

    SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

    Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

    ''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

    But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

    In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

    ''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

    Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

    The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

    ''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

    NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

    Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

    Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

    Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

    "He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

    The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

    Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

    "I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

    Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

    "From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

    "And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

    "There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."