He answered the usual questions about the Ryder Cup ' Its amazing how one week you can be a hero and win the biggest tournament (PGA), and a month later people wonder if you can ever play again, he said. Then he squared his jaw and set out to answer his critics the best way he knew how ' with birdies and eagles and scores in the 60s.
Love won the tournament pro-am by shooting 66, and his 5-under 67 in the opening round served warning of what was about to happen. He was on a roll, and he tied Hal Sutton for the lead at 12-under the second day with a 65. His third round of 67 shook most of the field save for a pesky rookie, Stewart Cink, who was still just two behind as the tourney rolled into Sunday.
Love widened the two-shot lead into three at the nine-hole turn, then clamped down the accelerator the back side. By the turn his work was over, Love had shot a 68, which was his worst score of the tournament but still enough to win by four over Cink.
I needed to put some pressure on Davis early, said Cink. The difference was that Davis played the par 5s today in 4-under, and I played them even.
Since that 97 Buick Challenge, Love has won only two more times. As he has grown older (38 now), he has become more injury-prone. Too many years hitting too many drives have left his back in poor shape. He has had a myriad of wrist and arm problems.
But through all the injuries, he has remained a consistently good golfer. Every year he ranks in the top 10 in the Official World Rankings. He currently is No. 9 in the world, not bad for someone who plays hurt so often and is beginning to get along a bit in years.