Love at a Career Crossroads

By Associated PressDecember 8, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 Target World ChallengeTHOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Davis Love III looked as if he was hitting his stride.
He finished his best season on the PGA Tour last year by winning the Target World Challenge, holding off a late charge by tournament host Tiger Woods and heading into the short offseason with high hopes.
He had matched his career best with four PGA Tour victories, including his second title at The Players Championship. He earned more than $6 million for the first time in his career. He was No. 4 in the world ranking, and his name often was included when the conversation turned to golf's elite players.
But when he arrived at Sherwood Country Club on Wednesday as the defending champion, Love found himself without a victory for the fourth time in the last six years.
At 40 and hampered by neck problems, he is at the intersection of a good career and a great one.
'I'm in the top 10 in the world, but competitively I haven't belonged there the last couple of months,' Love said. 'I've been consistent my whole career, and I'd like this to last as long as I can.'
The consistency is evident by the fact he finished 10th on the PGA Tour money list with just over $3 million, the only player in the top 10 who did not win this year.
Love came close in the spring. He reached the finals of the Match Play Championship and outplayed Woods, but simply couldn't make enough putts before losing on the 34th hole. Two weeks later, he was poised to win the Honda Classic until Todd Hamilton - an unknown at the time - birdied the last two holes to beat him.
Love never had a good chance the rest of the year. He ended his official season by missing two cuts and withdrawing from the Tour Championship with his recurring neck injury, the result of playing too much in a desperate attempt to hoist a trophy.
'You would think after 20 years of playing competitive golf, you'd figure out when enough is enough,' Love said. 'But this is the first year I really got to the point where physically I wasn't ready to play, mentally I wasn't ready to play, and I was frustrated. Rather than getting away from it, I kept pushing harder and harder.'
He now plans to do regular maintenance on his swing, limiting the balls he pounds on the range. Off the course, he knows he needs to learn to relax, cutting back on the time he spends on his tractor or hunting.
The Target World Challenge, an unofficial tournament with a 16-man field, will be Love's first event since Nov. 4. Not surprisingly, he sees the tournament differently this time.
'I'm looking at it as the start of next year, rather than the finish,' he said.
Love has some concrete goals in mind. With 18 career victories, he needs two more to earn a lifetime exemption on the PGA Tour. Only Woods, Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson among his peers have won 20 times on tour.
Love, whose only victory in a major came at the 1997 PGA Championship, also is starting to consider how he will be remembered. Right now, he's not sure.
'I'm a couple of majors away from whatever ... maybe the Hall of Fame,' he said. 'I have a chance to have a great career. Right now, it's just a really, really nice career. You want to be remembered as one of the best of your generation. One major is not enough. Two TPCs is great, but I'd like to have three or four.'
He wouldn't mind getting started this week, even though the Target World Challenge doesn't count.
The field includes Singh in his first appearance since being named PGA Tour player of the year. Singh flew in from New York and headed straight to the practice range to hit balls in the cold rain.
The tournament might be an interesting barometer of Woods' game. He won his first stroke-play title of the season last month in Japan, winning by eight shots. Woods knows the Dunlop Phoenix will never be mistaken for a PGA Tour event, although he said he played well enough to win anywhere that week.
And he made it sound like his swing changes have finally set in.
Others in the field include Padraig Harrington, Colin Montgomerie and Miguel Angel Jimenez from Europe's winning Ryder Cup team, along with Jim Furyk and 51-year-old Jay Haas, both of whom arrived from South Africa.
It is a casual week, although it becomes quite serious for those in contention for the $1.25 million winner's check.
Money isn't an issue for Love. Winning is.
He agrees that his name no long belongs in the same sentence as Singh, Woods, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Mickelson. But he knows how to fix that.
'If you're winning, you put yourself up there,' Love said.
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    Army vets get sneak peek at Callaway's new wedges

    By Rex HoggardSeptember 21, 2018, 5:23 pm

    ATLANTA – Callaway Golf unveiled a new set of wedges to consumers on Friday, but U.S. Army veterans Kyle Butcher and Billy Paul were treated to an early peak on Wednesday at the Tour Championship.

    Butcher and Paul were chosen to participate in a club fitting at East Lake that included three of Callaway’s new Mack Daddy 4 Tactical Wedges. The new wedges feature the company’s tactical package with a PVD finish, tour issued shafts and Groove-in-Groove technology. It was the company’s 13th “warrior fitting” this year.

    The limited edition wedges became available at retail on Friday ($179.99) and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Birdies for the Brave. The company also made a $50,000 donation to Birdies for the Brave’s Special Operations Warriors Foundation.

    Part of the company’s push to honor American military members also includes 15 percent discounts on purchases by all veterans.

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    By Golf Channel Public RelationsSeptember 21, 2018, 4:29 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 21, 2018) – GolfNow today announced its expansion into France – its first entree into continental Europe – via agreements with two of the country’s leading multi-course management companies. The arrangement provides golfers residing throughout GolfNow’s footprint – including the U.S., U.K., Ireland and Australia – with the ability to book tee times on GolfNow at nearly 50 golf courses throughout France.

    Coinciding with the growing anticipation of the 2018 Ryder Cup being contested next week at Le Golf National golf course outside of Paris, GolfNow’s agreements with Open Golf Club and UGOLF will showcase a collection of courses throughout France, which is considered to be one of the best countries in Europe to play golf due to its extensive variety of courses and year-round playing conditions. Tee times will be promoted across multiple GolfNow distribution platforms, depending on golfers’ geographic locations: GolfNow (U.S., U.K. and Ireland), Teeofftimes by GolfNow (U.K. and Ireland) and Qantas Golf Club by GolfNow (Australia).

    “We’ve been planning this day for some time and are excited about our expansion into France through great partnerships with Open Golf Club and UGOLF,” said Brian Smith, general manager, GolfNow & Emerging Businesses International. “We anticipate that U.S. golfers will be motivated to play in France because of what they see whilst watching the Ryder Cup. Golfers worldwide can easily book tee times via GolfNow for a future trip, and because the U.K. and Ireland remain the number-one source of all golf tourism in France, GolfNow and now can be part of any golfer’s travel planning.”

    “Open Golf Club is very happy to welcome GolfNow into France,” said Laurent Boissonnas, CEO, Open Golf Club. “As a leading high-end golf operator, we offer a portfolio of top quality courses, including three in the top-50 on the European continent. In addition to its famous ‘art de vivre,’ France offers a unique variety of golf courses and we are proud to give GolfNow customers the opportunity to discover them.”

    “UGOLF is proud to join the GolfNow marketplace and, thus, offering special access to its French golf courses to international golfers,” said Pierre-André Uhlen, Director General, UGOLF. “Customer satisfaction is a UGOLF priority and we strive to offer our golfers the best services and technology at the forefront of innovation.”

    Among the more than 600 golf courses throughout France, among the top-rated Open Golf Club courses that are making tee times available via GolfNow and TeeOffTimes are:

    • Golf des Yvelines – just 35 miles west of Paris, in the heart of the Île-de-France region and nearby Ryder Cup host Le National Golf, these two courses are nestled in a natural environment, bordering the forest of Rambouillet.
    • Le Touquet Golf Resort – An award-winning 45-hole golf destination, with its La Mer (The Sea) course among continental Europe’s Top 35 and ranked first in France.
    • Golf d’Hardelot – Home to Les Pins (The Pines), this 36-hole club is a top French golf destination located inside a lush forest and one of the most beautiful golfing sites in Europe.

    Among the top courses available on GolfNow and featured within the UGOLF portfolio are:

    • Golf de Courson – host of the French Open qualifiers for 12 years, this property offers two distinct, 18-hole designs of varying difficulty that were crafted by architect Robert von Hagge.
    • Golf du Château de Cely – located less than 50 miles south of Paris on the edge of the Fountainebleau Forest, this recently renovated gem has been transformed.
    • Château de Rochefort – Designed by famous British architect Fred Hawtree, this par 71 is surrounded by the natural beauty of a French forest in Yvelines.

    Reviews about golf courses located throughout France, including many that now can be booked via GolfNow, can be found at Golf Advisor, which currently features more than 700,000 golf course reviews of more than 15,000 golf courses around the world.

    About GolfNow

    GolfNow is an innovative technology company specializing in golf-related products and services that is creating frictionless ways for golfers and golf courses to better connect. GolfNow operates the largest online tee-time marketplace in the world, offering more than 3.5 million registered golfers a variety of ways to stay connected to their favorite courses and the ability to easily book tee times online and via mobile devices any time of day. With offices in Orlando, Fla., and Belfast, Northern Ireland, GolfNow also provides technology, support and marketing services to nearly 8,000 golf courses in 24 countries around the world. GolfNow is included in the suite of digital businesses owned by NBC Sports and managed by Golf Channel, which is available to more than 500 million viewers worldwide. For more information, go to GolfNow Business.

    About Open Golf Club

    Open Golf Club is the first high-end French golf management company. Founded in 1987, it provides management services to 55 internationally renowned golf courses in Europe, including the full management of 15 courses in France and Belgium, and a network of partners of 40 clubs in six countries, including France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland. Open Golf Club partnered with the French Golf Federation in hosting the 2018 Ryder Cup 2018 at Le Golf National.

    About UGOLF

    UGOLF is the leader in French golf course management, currently operating 50 golf courses in France and employing 700 people. Nearly 20,000 subscribers and 27,000 licensees trust UGOLF every year for golf enjoyment. UGOLF Academy trains 3,500 new golfers each year. Through its subsidiary, LeClub Golf, UGOLF operates a network of more than 140 golf courses in France, more than 300 golf courses in Europe and approximately 700 courses around the world. UGOLF is a subsidiary of Duval Group, a family-owned company operating in real estate, tourism and golf management.


    -NBC Sports Group-

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    Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

    By Tiger TrackerSeptember 21, 2018, 4:20 pm

    Tiger Woods is looking to close his season with a win at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him this week at East Lake Golf Club.

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    Fisher becomes first in Euro Tour history to shoot 59

    By Ryan LavnerSeptember 21, 2018, 11:29 am

    There’s never been a sub-60 score on the European Tour, and Oliver Fisher almost went two strokes better Friday at the Portugal Masters.

    Fisher’s 40-footer on the final green burned the edge, but he tapped in the short par putt to record the first 59 in tour history.   

    “It feels great,” he said after getting sprayed with champagne. “It was in the back of my mind all day.”

    It didn’t look like it.

    The 287th-ranked player in the world, Fisher made 10 birdies, an eagle and seven pars during his magical round.

    All of the other major pro tours have produced a 59 – nine times on the PGA Tour; once on the LPGA – but this was the first time that a player on the European Tour broke the sub-60 barrier. (There have been 19 rounds of 60.) Earlier this year, at the Scottish Open, Brandon Stone narrowly missed an 8-footer on the final green during the final round. This tournament has produced a few chances, as well, with both Scott Jamieson and Nicolas Colsaerts coming up just short over the past few years.

    Fisher went out in 28 at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, then made three birdies in a row to start the back nine. He tacked on another birdie on 15 to give himself a shot at history, then played the closing stretch in 1 under. On 16, he needed a 20-footer for par after leaving his tee shot well short of the flag. He two-putted for birdie on 17 and then coolly made par on the last, after his birdie try from 40 feet just missed on the left edge.

    Two years ago, he arrived in Portugal needed a good result just to keep his card. He shot a final-round 64. 

    On Friday, he made tour history.

    “I kept that in the back of my mind, thinking things could be worse,” he said. 

    To this point, Fisher had a forgettable season. Ranked 72nd in the Race to Dubai, he didn’t have a top-10 in a stroke-play event since late February. His last four results: MC-T71-MC-MC. He opened the Portugal Masters with a 71 and was in danger of missing the cut.

    Now, improbably, he’s in position to score his second European Tour title, after capturing the 2011 Czech Open.

    “I tried to enjoy it,” he said. “It’s not often that we get a chance to shoot a really low one.”