ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – The Captain America thing is just a metaphor. Davis Love III isn’t a super hero, although he’s been playing one for the last few months and now admits that being everything to everyone has taken a toll.
For Love, the longest year of his professional life will reach a crescendo the next few weeks, starting with next week’s Ryder Cup followed by The McGladrey Classic – which he hosts – in mid-October, and the year’s final Policy Board meeting.
Love is serving his fourth, and he says final, term on the Policy Board and if the weight of being the Ryder Cup captain and a tournament host wasn’t enough he’s been a key part of one of the most dramatic changes to the circuit’s qualifying process and the transition to a split-calendar season.
“One more meeting . . . I’m done,” Love sighed earlier this summer when asked about next month’s session.
The “summer of Love” has been a non-stop parade of meetings and walk-throughs and, when time allowed, golf. For a 48-year-old who would rather be paddle boarding then sitting in a board room, the miles are starting to show.
“You can tell he’s flat worn out, but worn out in a good way,” said Love’s brother, Mark. “He’s always staying active, not a lounging guy, but he has been busy.”
Mark Love may be underselling his brother’s itinerary. Air traffic controllers are “busy,” Davis Love has been consumed.
Since he announced his four captain’s picks on Sept. 4 in New York City, Love flew to Indiana for a Ryder Cup team dinner, raced home to check on the progress of the Seaside Course for this year’s McGladrey Classic and spent most of this week in Chicago at Medinah, site of the Ryder Cup.
Between flights he’s filled a yellow legal pad – a practice his father, Davis Love Jr., taught him – with potential pairings, course set-up ideas and random notes.
As he strolled down the 18th fairway just past lunch on Monday he took a moment to hug his mother, Penta, and allowed his shoulders to slump for a moment. But if the psi has become stifling it’s by design.
Love is a Type A sort, active to the extreme and detail oriented. A two-year stint as Ryder Cup captain was always going to be an obsession. It is telling that last week Keegan Bradley, who will be a rookie on this year’s team, pointed out, “You can overthink things.”
Which is why Love’s full dance card has likely been beneficial – clarity of thought and a single-minded fixation are often mutually exclusive. Sometimes the right answer is the easiest. Sometimes it’s no more complicated than pairing Tiger Woods and Stricker.
Truth is it’s not exhaustion that haunts Love so much as it is devising an exit strategy.
Make no mistake, Love wants to win the Ryder Cup, so much so he’s stretching the boundaries of Dr. Bob Rotella’s theory that you can only want something so much, but there will be an epiphany when the first tee shots are hit at Medinah, when the last putt drops at the McGladrey Classic, when the final Policy Board meeting is adjourned.
“I am interested in seeing how I play without the pressure and just getting back to golf,” Love said. “I can’t wait to start playing again this fall and see where my game is.”
Within four weeks, Love’s world will return to a game that he’s always made look easy, a paddle board shop, North Carolina basketball and his Georgia farm – the easy life, and no one has worked harder to get there.