The first thing Dru Love did Tuesday after winning his first college tournament was call his dad, who today just so happens to be the most talked-about man in golf.
Four hours before a news conference in which he would be named the next U.S. Ryder Cup captain, Davis Love III sat in his car outside PGA of National headquarters, constantly refreshing the live-scoring website for the Puerto Rico Classic.
When Dru finally buzzed in, Davis skipped the pleasantries and asked: “All right, so what’d you do on the last hole?”
Told that his only son had drained a 15-footer for birdie to share medalist honors, Davis began whooping and yelling.
“It’s an incredible day for our family,” Dru said in a phone interview.
An incredible coincidence, too.
After an injury-plagued start to his Alabama career, Dru Love has come into his own during his redshirt sophomore season.
Two years ago, he stepped on a teammate’s foot, tore every ligament and tendon in his right ankle, and missed the next five months. He played well during the summer but was unable to crack the lineup for Alabama’s back-to-back NCAA title-winning team. Over Christmas vacation, he broke a bone in his right wrist during a sledding accident with his cousin. Another nine-week absence ensued, enough to dash any hopes of spring qualifying.
“Every time I got hurt I felt like I was getting better, close to where I wanted to be,” Dru said, but the time away helped reignite his passion for the game, made him even more determined to get better.
“It’s pretty good motivation,” he said, “sitting in the rehab facility with all of our trainers and watching my phone, seeing our guys shoot 5 under and win tournaments by 20 while squeezing a ball hundreds of times.”
Alabama coach Jay Seawell said Love enjoyed a “coming-out party” during the fall, when he recorded a pair of top 10s during his first real action with the traveling squad.
Then came the breakthrough in Puerto Rico. One shot back heading into the final day, Love was lounging by the pool Monday afternoon when he was awakened by a call from his dad.
They talked for 20 minutes – not about captaincies and task forces, but about how Dru was going to approach the final day, how he was going to stay committed to his routine, how he wouldn't worry about the final result.
And then, as Dru walked to the range to warm up for the final round, Davis sent his son two texts:
You’re ready. Just go get ’em.
Take dead aim.
That's the same advice that Harvey Penick had told Dru’s grandfather when he played for him at Texas, advice that has been passed down for generations of Loves.
Seawell was a freshman at South Carolina in the mid-’80s when Davis was a junior at North Carolina. Every once in a while the coach will remind Dru how Davis was before he became a prolific Tour winner, how hard he worked, the steps he took to get better.
“Davis has done a good job of helping him but not imposing his will on how to do something,” Seawell said. “His dad is a great dad and a great golfer and he has his own legacy. But I always tell Dru: If you’re going to be a great golfer, that’s got to be on you.”
Dru took the next step in Puerto Rico, putting the pedal down with two birdies in his last three holes to post 7-under 209, tied with Virginia Tech’s Scott Vincent.
“Only my fourth college tournament and already getting a win,” Dru said, “I’m getting experience a lot faster than I expected. It’s fun to play good golf and it’s fun to be healthy.”
On Tuesday, it was even more fun to be a Love.