ORLANDO, Fla. – It seems about right that a week dominated by Ryder Cup snubs and surprises would end with one former captain celebrating and a captain-that-never-was enduring one final haymaker.
The PNC Father/Son Challenge, back on the silly season docket after a three-year hiatus, was won by the tandem of Davis and Dru Love thanks to a twisting 8 footer at the last for birdie by the University of Alabama freshman for a one-stroke victory.
Just minutes before Dru Love’s walk-off, Larry Nelson, who was passed over for a Ryder Cup captain’s spot for the third time this week, seemed to charge in a 12 footer at the 18th hole for the outright lead, but his attempt bounced hard off the back of the hole, danced around the rim for a moment and darted away.
'I can’t wait to get home and see what happened,' said Larry Nelson, who finished at 22 under with his son Josh. 'All you can ask for is to hit a good putt . . . that is one of the toughest (lip outs) of my career.'
By comparison the PGA of America’s decision to make Tom Watson the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup captain was little more than a momentary setback, not that Nelson, who was also passed over in 1995 and '97 for the captain’s spot, seemed overly impacted by either development.
'It was a tough week, especially earlier with the Ryder Cup captain’s news, but we knew it was going to be a good week either way,' he said. 'To me it was a very positive week.'
The Loves could relate. After opening with a Saturday 60 the tandem moved into the lead with a birdie at the par-5 14th hole, and despite a pair of wayward approach shots into the last and a couple of nervy chip shots, the younger Love rolled in the winner for a 23-under total.
'It was nerve wracking,' said Love, who captained this year’s Ryder Cup team. 'Neither one of us hit good shots into the 18th and I was more nervous over the chip but it was great to leave the last putt for Dru.'
The victory may not make up for September’s meltdown at Medinah, but it was a good way to end the season. 'I knew he was going to make it,' Love smiled.