So pure, yet so puzzling for so long. Over the last five years, he hadn't inspired great confidence among fans. There was a sense that he hadn't fulfilled his potential, that a guy who was once ticketed for multiple majors was stuck on one.
In some ways, Davis symbolized golf pre-Tiger. Nice, but not nasty. Good, not great. Friendly, not fiery.
Sunday at The Players, it all changed. No disrespect, but this win's different than the AT&T. This is one of the five most important events in golf, and a guy who'd invited questions about his ability to close slammed the door with what Jay Haas and others called one of the best rounds in PGA Tour history.
Freddy, fittingly paired with one of his best friends Sunday, fired 64 to win The Players in 1996. David Duval shot a Sunday 59 to win the Bob Hope in '99. Greg Norman posted 64 to take the British Open at Royal St. George's in 1993. Johnny Miller unfurled a Sunday 63 to win the U.S. Open at Oakmont in 1973, and Arnie scored 65 at Cherry Hills in 1960 to capture the Open by two over Jack. Love's effort in frisky winds and on a tough course will stand the test of time.
Davis offered credit to Bob Rotella, the famous sports psychologist who implored Davis to 'chase his own potential.' In other words, stop trying to meet other's expectations. Be the best Davis can be. And that's awfully good.
So now, the view of Davis changes. Suddenly he's a serious factor at the Masters, where late last year you wouldn't have said that. Suddenly, with 16 wins and a major, plus two Players titles, the Hall of Fame's within reach provided he produces over the next three to four years. His confidence back, his attitude renewed and his health finally good, there's no reason to think he won't deliver.
Davis Love III is back. Pure as ever.