Love the only one surprised he's in the Hall of Fame

By Rex HoggardSeptember 26, 2017, 12:00 pm

A few days after finishing his PGA Tour season with a tie for 10th place at the Wyndham Championship, Davis Love III was headed south toward Jacksonville, Fla., in search of surf when a billboard caught his eye.

They are ubiquitous along Interstate-95 as you approach the First Coast, sprawling enticements for the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Fla., that are adorned with the faces of the game’s undisputed greats – Arnold, Jack, Gary. No need for last names, these titans stand alone as undisputed benchmarks.

On Tuesday in Manhattan, Love will join that list of greats. It should be no surprise that he’s not entirely comfortable with the notion.

“You know me,” Love said last week as he was again making his way down 95. “You see this sign, and it’s Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus as you get into Jacksonville. It just doesn’t seem right.”

Since it was announced he would be among the Hall of Fame Class of 2017 – which includes Meg Mallon, Lorena Ochoa Reyes, Ian Woosnam and Henry Longhurst – Love has slowly, begrudgingly even, come to terms with his pending status; but he admits the entire affair, from deciding what to place in his locker at the Hall of Fame to his induction speech, has been a little surreal.

As he’s done since his earliest days on the PGA Tour, Love turned to Fred Couples for guidance. He didn’t call Freddie - Couples really doesn’t do phone calls - but he studied how his friend handled the same nerves and questions when he was inducted in 2013.



“Fred Couples had a great line at the start [of his induction speech], ‘How did I get here?’” Love said. “I’m the same way. How did I get in this position? I’m going in the Hall of Fame with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. I’m still a little bit mystified by it.”

Love once said the hardest part about being a two-time U.S. Ryder Cup captain was writing and delivering the required speeches. The podium that awaits on Tuesday, however, is a much different animal.

Love and the other inductees get six minutes for their speeches. Six minutes to thank those who helped them along the way. Six minutes to touch on the highlights of a career littered with highlights. Six minutes to put three decades of competition at the highest level into some sort of perspective.

“You only get one shot at something like that,” Love said. “You get up there and say, 'This is what I believe in.' Like, Fred Couples, I learned something about Fred Couples watching that speech.”

Although it’s still a work in progress, Love has a general idea how he wants his six minutes to unfold.

He would like to reflect on a professional career that began in 1985, a career that includes 21 Tour victories and the 1997 PGA Championship, a career that has had a predictable ebb and flow. He’s enjoyed the friendly confines of TPC Sawgrass, where he’s a two-time champion, and Harbor Town, where he won five times. He’s been a staple on U.S. teams, regularly teaming with Couples to go a combined 25-20-9 in a dozen starts in the Ryder and Presidents cups.

“When I came out on Tour, I wanted to work as hard as Tom Kite, I wanted to drive the golf ball like Greg Norman, I wanted to be as cool as Fred Couples, I wanted to win as many tournaments as Jack Nicklaus,” he said. “I never really thought about the Hall of Fame.”

In 746 starts on Tour, Love has made 559 cuts and finished in the top 10 179 times. He won his first title, the ’87 Heritage, at 23 years old, and his last, the ’15 Wyndham Championship, at 51. But it’s the space between those milestones where Love sees his greatness, however reluctant he may be to allow such self-indulgent reflection.


Photo gallery: Davis Love III through the years


Perhaps he could have won more. Maybe he could have allowed the singular focus of a lifetime in golf to burn unabated, but at what cost?

“My mom would say, ‘If you would have practiced more and quit goofing off, you would have played better.’ Well, she’s probably right, except I might have gotten tired of it and not played for 30 years,” Love figured. “Maybe I wouldn’t have won at 51 years old.”

It’s his longevity, more than those statistics on his resume, where Love sees true accomplishment. The year he joined the Tour (1986), Nicklaus was, although past his prime, still a force. Almost 30 years later, it was Love who defeated Woods the last time Tiger played a weekend on the Tour at the ’15 Wyndham Championship.

His locker at the World Golf Hall of Fame will include the persimmon-head driver he played from 1985-97, one of the last played on the Tour, and letters, so many letters, from a range names including both presidents Bush and Bob Hope.

“There was one we found where Butch [Harmon] is like, ‘Good playing, but your swing has gotten long,' and all this stuff. And you look at the date, and I’d just won like three tournaments,” Love laughed. “They were like, ‘He wasn’t being very nice.’ And I’m like, ‘My swing had gotten long and flippy. Why do you think I was working with Butch?' He told it like it is.”

And he will talk about the Ryder Cup, all of the Ryder Cups, not just the triumphant ’16 matches. If it’s his longevity that has defined his professional life, it’s the biennial matches that have left a bittersweet personal legacy.

Love will tell you that half of his 10 favorite moments are from losing Ryder Cup efforts. He lost as a captain in ’12 at Medinah, a crushing defeat after taking a four-point lead into the final day, and he was a member of the cabal that overhauled the U.S. process following the ’14 loss in Scotland.

“The two Ryder Cup captaincies, if you said, 'You could win another major or be Ryder Cup captain again,' I’d say Ryder Cup captain again,” said Love, who led the U.S. team to victory last year at Hazeltine National.

Where some see a pedestrian Ryder Cup record, Love sees a lifetime of cherished memories. As rewarding as last year’s victory over Europe may have been, and it was rewarding, there is a camaraderie that is forged at these team events that can’t be diminished by defeat.

“I will never convince Brandt Snedeker that I’m just as proud of what he did in 2012 as I was in 2016, because he’s so competitive. He wanted to win that for me,” Love said. “I have the same feeling for Tom Kite (the 1997 captain). I’m still mad at Tiger and mad at Justin Leonard and mad at myself, because we all won majors, and we played crappy, and we didn’t win for Tom Kite.”

And finally, he wants to end his speech with a joke, a light moment that ties together three decades of dedication with a laugh.

“Fred had a plan. He went in there and asked himself a question, and then he kind of answered it, and then he made a joke at the end. They told me to finish with a bang,” he laughed. “Still thinking about that.”

Well, like Love’s career, it’s still a work in progress.

Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.



Original story:

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.



Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.