Love Does It With 39-Year-Old Body Mind

By George WhiteApril 22, 2003, 4:00 pm
Lets see, he broke a bone in his left wrist in 1989. Then he had a painful back problem, a pinched nerve, numbness in the fingers. Dont forget the neck ' yeah, that was dicey, too, causing more numbness in the arm and fingers.
 
But lets concede this ' Davis Loves been playing for 18 years now, and when hes been healthy, hes been a pretty good player. He went from being a bomber who was as long as anybody on the tour, to an outstanding iron player, to the fourth best putter in this, the 18th year out here.
 
And ' hes starting to win again. The PGA Tour is beginning to look like a four-man race ' multiple winners Tiger Woods, Mike Weir, Love and Ernie Els returning the spotlight to the older set again. Loves Sunday win at The MCI Heritage was No. 3 this year, and theyre starting to come in routine fashion. One thing Woods often does is win when he doesnt necessarily have his best stuff, and for Love on Sunday, how true that was.
 
We dont know how much he would have won if the injuries hadnt taken their toll on his skeleton. We dont know what he would have done if golf was his sole focus, instead of his wife and two children and his fishing and hunting. He has 17 wins, certainly nothing to pooh-pooh, but his spotty record in playoffs alone suggests that it could have been more. Before his win Sunday, Davis had been in eight playoffs and lost ' seven? If he could just have won half of them, he would have 20 wins already.
 
He has finished runner-up 23 times ' suppose he had won five of those 23? And he is up to ' what - 25 wins?
 
Suppose, suppose he is what he is what he is, and what he is is a guy with 17 wins. Maybe its because he is guilty of a lot of wrong club selections, as of his peers say. Maybe it is because hes not mean enough, which some people have ventured. Maybe its because he tries too often to finesse shots rather than just clubbing it. And then, maybe he just hasnt been as good as people have thought. Maybe 17 wins is right where he is supposed to be.
 
And maybe ' just maybe ' he is now entering a span where he is about to play the best golf of his life at age 39. Maybe he wont be the best driver, the best iron player, the best short-game player ' but he will become the best player that he has ever been. Hey, when you travel in the circles of Tiger Woods and Ernie ' yes, even Mike Weir ' youre doing something right!
 
I was grinding so hard trying to win, he said last year. And why? Well, because of Tigers meteoric emergence in the late 90s. That, plus his physical ailments, combined to leave him winless for the better part of three years.
 
I was dumfounded by what Tiger was doing, he said with all honesty. I got frustrated watching him and I think I tried too hard.
 
But now, Im not worrying about whether hes making them because Im making them, too. I appreciate what hes doing, but now Im playing with a little more confidence than I was.
 
Confidence was the only difference between Love and Woody Austin in the playoff Sunday. Not since 1985 had Austin actually won. Love had already won twice this year alone, including the Players Championship three weeks ago. This business of being in a playoff wasnt nearly as outlandish to him as it was to Woody. Woody thought about what a win would mean to him. Love thought about it, too, but more than anything, he was just there to play.
 
Love thought about what a pleasant Sunday it was, and how fortunate to be one of only two players left going into extra holes. If he won ' great! If he didnt ' well, he had won twice this year already. There unquestionably will be others ' this year there will be others. If he didnt win today, then he will win tomorrow.
 
Woody Austin was, in short, Davis Love of two years ago when Love was always hearing those footsteps of Tiger. But Sunday, Davis WAS Tiger, and Woody was Woody. Woody should have won, but didnt. Love should have lost, but didnt. Dont so many of Woods wins turn out that way?
 
You know, I hung in there all week, said Davis, half-apologetically. I hit a lot of funny shots and uncharacteristic shots for me in this tournament and I got away with it. And you never know, you never Ernie to finish like he did and never expected Hal Sutton.
 
But once he got into the playoff, it kept feeling like I was going to win. But I just never could hit a good shot to pull it off. I knew he was feeling a lot more nervous than I was. I was just as excited and trying to hit a good one and I kept trying to be too precise and too smooth and too relaxed.
 
Finally, I just said, Im going to hit it at the hole and quit screwing around. And I finally hit a good one.
 
Thats what being there does for you. He said he probably couldnt have done it if he hadnt already won at Pebble Beach and the Players. It would have been harder, for sure, to grind it out, he said with all honesty.
 
It looks like a different Davis Love, though. Tiger is still Tiger and he is going to win more than anyone. But in the next echelon, maybe it will be Davis for a couple of years. If he has his best game working, only Tiger can beat him. If he has only his average gamed working and that 39-year-old head on his shoulders, now hell win almost every time.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage of the MCI Heritage
  • Davis Love III Bio
  • Getty Images

    CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

    1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
    2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
    T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
    T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
    T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
    T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
    T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
    T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
    T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
    T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
    T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
    T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
    T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
    T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
    T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
    T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
    T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
    T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
    T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
    T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
    T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
    T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
    T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
    T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
    T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
    T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
    T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
    T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
    T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
    T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
    T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
    T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
    T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
    T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
    T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
    T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
    T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
    T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
    T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
    T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
    T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
    T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
    T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
    T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
    T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
    T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
    T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
    T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
    T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
    T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
    T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
    T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
    T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
    T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
    T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
    T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
    T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
    T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
    T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
    T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
    T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
    T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
    T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
    T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
    T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
    T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
    T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
    T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
    T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
    T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
    T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
    T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
    T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
    T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
    75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
    76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
    77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.