Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


Masters victory


Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


Man of the people


Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


Departure from TaylorMade


Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


Victory at Valderrama


Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.