About the only fella you havent heard much about is lets see now, Ive got his name somewhere here oh yes ' Davis Love III.
Yeah, Davis Love, who finished No. 2 in scoring this year right behind Woods. Davis Love, who is second in career money behind only Tiger. This man Davis, who was good enough to finish in the top 10 no less than 12 times in 20 tournaments; who finished in the top five in four of his last five tournaments.
Yes, as Frank Sinatra would say, it was a very good year. You didnt hear as much about Love because his record in the big tournaments wasnt too impressive ' he only missed three cuts this year and one of them was a major, the Masters, while another was at The Players Championship. He finished tied for 37th in the PGA, tied for 21st in the British Open and tied for 15th out of 29 players at the Tour Championship.
But look at the remaining 15 events. He won at Pebble Beach and finished second in a playoff at the Buick Invitational when his tee shot on a par-3 plugged into a bunker. He finished in the top 10 in 12 of those 15 events, in the top eight 10 times. It was a big improvement over last year, when Love played in 25 events and finished in the top 10 just nine times.
This year was set up by a win in December of 2000 at the Williams World Challenge, Love believes.
I finished the very end of last year with a few things I wanted to work on, he said. Going in, the (Williams) was really my last event of the year before the start of a brand new season. I was excited to try it out. I went in there and played real well and got my confidence back.
And what happened when he teed it up for 2001?
I went right out at the beginning of the year thinking I could play well, rather than wondering what state my game was in. And it carried over, said Love.
I came from real far behind at Pebble and had a lot of good tournaments this year. If it were not for a little putt missed here or a mistake there, I would have won a lot of golf tournaments in this past year. It definitely gave me confidence and got me back on the right foot to start 2001.
Tigers Tournament, as the Williams is known, was just a so-so event last week for Love. He finished tied for 15th, but it was his first activity in a month. He rarely touched a club while he was idle. But now, if he just keeps his balky back from acting up
I think you are going to see more and more guys whose careers do not last as long, Love firmly believes. The reason is the all-consuming fervor to hit it far. Love is one of the longest, ranking third in the rankings this year was an average pop of more than 297.
The days of playing from 20 to 50 and then going to the Senior Tour are going to go away. The guys are just not going to last as long, because they are pushing themselves to do things their bodies were not meant to do, he said.
We have always said golfing is not good for your back. Well, if you think hitting it 280 is not good for your back, try hitting it 320. That is really bad for your back.
Love should know, of course. His back has been problematic for 10 years or so. But its the sudden influx of brilliant youngsters that has forced him to swing a little bigger, search for five or 10 more yards and jeopardize his 37-year-old bones just a little more.
You just cannot get to Augusta and say, I am just going to try and hit it the same as I did five years ago, he said. It will not work. We have created a vicious cycle. The ball goes further so build the courses longer. But the ball is not going to make up for everything they build into a golf course
So, I have to figure out how to get the most out of my swing and my body. If this cycle keeps up, it will put a premium on distance and not on the total game. I think we need to look at shortening (courses). Make the courses shorter where the guy who hits it straight and has a better short game has just as much a chance.
If you want more guys to have a chance to win, you might think about getting Davis Love out of the lineup, too. He is hitting it as well as he ever has, bad back and all. You just never hear of him as much anymore.