When Love arrived at the Tournament Players Club at Avenel this week, he was dealing with the suicide of his brother-in-law, who was being investigated by the FBI for stealing money from one of Love's accounts.
'It's time to reorganize personally and in business and move on,' Love said Wednesday. 'And this is part of it, coming here to play.'
Love discovered the body of Jeffrey Knight, who was married to the sister of Love's wife, on May 16 in a hunting lodge about 25 miles away from his home in St. Simon's Island, Ga. Knight died of a gunshot wound to the head. The story was first reported earlier this week by Golfweek and GolfWorld magazines.
Love and Knight often went hunting and fishing together.
'We're dealing with the fact that not only did we lose a friend and family member, but also an important part of our family business,' Love said. 'The only thing he did not have an active role in was our golf course design business, but pretty much everything else in my business life he was either in charge of or involved in.
'He was a good friend and a good manager.'
It's the second family tragedy for Love. He was 24 when his father, popular teaching pro Davis Love Jr., died in a 1988 plane crash.
Love, who has won three times this year and is No. 1 on the PGA TOUR money list, had planned to take a two-week break in May. It turned into a three-week layoff during which he didn't hit a ball. He said he expects to be rusty when he tees off Thursday, and he was practicing in steady rain this week to get his swing back.
'Obviously, it's part of a healing process to get back out here,' Love said. 'But I'm here to play to win.'
As he deals with the personal distractions, Love will also have to deal with the weather. In fact, the man most in demand Wednesday wore rain-drenched boots and a Weather Channel cap.
'The golf course is on the verge of being unplayable,' said Dennis Ingram, the course superintendent. 'Tomorrow better be sunny, warm and breezy. If so, we will have a chance of having a very successful event. It can't take any more water.'
Instead of the usual oppressive heat and humidity that greets the PGA TOUR's annual visit to the Washington D.C. area, the golfers could see their breath as they strolled a course that had 28 days of measurable rain during May.
There has been lots more this week. Wednesday's pro-am was cut from 18 holes to nine. Several players had to skip the pro-am because U.S. Open qualifying at nearby Woodmont Country Club in Rockville spilled into a second day.
'Every water pump, every squeegee, every technological tool that could be used to dry things out is at our disposal,' said Ingram, who also pointed out that, 'nobody's designed a mower that floats.'
The conditions mean that players will probably be allowed to lift, clean and place their fairway shots Thursday and Friday. Because the mower has been sidelined, the high rough will be good preparation for the U.S. Open, which starts in a week at Olympia Fields near Chicago.
'The rough will be every bit as tough,' Phil Mickelson said. 'It's very long, they've let it grow and there will be a premium on hitting the fairways. If you do miss the fairway I don't know if you will see a position where you can put the ball on the green.'
Mickelson will be one of several TOUR stars looking to tame the TPC at Avenel, including Charles Howell III, Hal Sutton and 1999 FBR Capital Open champion Rich Beem.
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