Love Still on the Chase at Players

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Davis Love III chased his own potential as best he could right into the winners circle last year in The Players Championship.
 
Downright blew out a field comprised of the best players the game has to offer.
 
Played the best final round Fred Couples had ever bore witness to.
 
For one day, one week more appropriately, Davis Love III was the best golfer in the world.
 
Love is this week's defending champion thanks in large part to a brilliant 64 in the rain a year ago Sunday. He credited a scribbling on a yellow notepad in his motor home that said, Chase your own potential, as inspiration that day.
 
'I need to chase myself and not chase anybody,' he said after his victory. 'I've got a big enough tail to chase. I don't need to worry about anybody else and what they're doing.'
 
It happens, on occasion, that players perform at such an elite level. And it certainly wasnt a first for Love.
 
But these times, whatever they number, dont seem to happen frequently enough ' and Love readily admits this.
 
You can say I should have won more or whatever. I agree, he said. Now, if somebody says that I don't care or I don't try, that bothers me because I do care and I do try.
 
Love has been a PGA Tour member for 19 years. Hes won 18 times ' two Players and one PGA Championship included. Hes played on five Ryder Cup teams, five Presidents Cup teams and five World Cup teams.
 
Last year, despite dealing with the suicide of his brother-in-law and innuendos concerning his marriage, he won four tour events as well as Tiger Woods' unofficial Target World Challenge.
 
Concerning both the good and bad of 2003, he said simply: 'The year has been put behind me, I think is the best way to put it.'
 
Love is nearing 40 years of age and still hes technically the fourth best player on the planet.
 
Hes always been good, very good, great even.
 
But never the best. At least not over a consistent haul.
 
Its not like I havent tried, Love reiterated a few weeks ago.
 
There has always been someone else. Someone to play fury to Loves sound. Someone holding the carrot in front of Loves cart.
 
When you see No. 1 out ahead of you and youre chasing it, sometimes it motivates you, he said.
 
Motivation has never been an issue; hes always had motivation ' because hes always been the pursuer.
 
From that Aussie thunderbolt of blondness to his best bud of coolness to the reigning ruler of greatness, Love has been chasing more than his potential over the last two decades.
 
Tiger Woods, like when Greg Norman was No.1 and like when Nick Price or Fred Couples or whoever, when the goal is out there, you know where to go, he said.
 
He just hasnt quite gotten there. Hes well-adjusted to the rarefied air near the mountaintop, but he just cant quite reach the pinnacle.
 
And its not for a lack of trying.
 
He was a chief rival to Norman, the same to Price and Couples, and now to Woods.
 
And what about all those guys he used to chase? Theyve slipped, fallen somewhere into the pack of pursers. Loves still in that pack, but hes also still near the lead.
 
Tiger has been out here since 96, well, who has run with him since 96 better than me? Phil Mickelson has been there off an on, and Ernie Els has been there off an on from another tour, and Vijay (Singh) has been there off and on. Ive tried hard since 96 to knock the guy off, Love said.
 
Tigers first PGA Tour victory came at Loves expense, in a playoff in the 1996 Las Vegas Invitational. Woods has also knocked Love out of the World Golf Championships Match Play in the 2001 semifinals and in this years final, as well as in a one-on-one match play in the 1999 PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
 
Even when they are not going head-to-head, Woods, more often than not, has finished higher than Love when both are present in a field.
 
But Love has gotten in a few licks of his own.
 
Hes won eight times since Woods joined the tour ' three of which came with Woods in attendance. He also captured Tigers Target in 2000 and 2003.
 
I asked one of my friends in the locker room after Accenture, How come when we beat Tiger ' at The Players Championship last year I beat Tiger, nobody mentions that. But when Tiger beats me at (the) Match Play or another tournament, its like, Oh my gosh, they cant beat Tiger,' Love said.
 
Ive been trying since 96, and Ive done a pretty good job of being there. I didnt beat him enough, no. Shoot, I wish I had beat him a lot more. I wish I had beat Fred Couples a lot more, too, and Greg Norman and Nick Price, when they were No.1s, too.
 
But Im proud of the fact that I keep trying.
 
And the chase continues.