Love at Crossroads and On Crutches

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2007, 5:00 pm
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- The hallway leading to a conference room at the office of Davis Love III is lined with golf bags from all the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup matches he played, a streak that began in 1993 when he holed the winning putt at The Belfry.
He hasn't been on a team in two years, and the only mention he gets now is as a future captain.
Hanging from the wall is a portrait of Love winning in New Orleans in 1995, when he cashed in on his last chance to qualify for the Masters. He has played 70 straight majors, the longest active streak in golf, but starts next year eligible only for the PGA Championship.
If he is at crossroads in his career, he arrived on crutches.
Love, 43, is two months into his recovery from shredded ligaments in his left ankle when he stepped in a grass-covered hole while jogging down a tee box during a casual round in September.
He wears a black brace, but the limp is mostly gone.
When he first injured his ankle, Love hoped to return in time for the Target World Challenge, which he has won twice. The goal now is Pebble Beach, but it might not be until the Florida swing before he plays.
This was not a light sprain. Love still keeps a photo of his swollen ankle -- black and purple and bordering on grotesque -- on his iPhone from when he first went to see the doctor.
'I didn't realize the magnitude of what it would take to come back,' he said last week during a break from rehab.
It is starting to sink in.
Love was largely forgotten over the final two months of the season. His name was mentioned at the Presidents Cup, but only because that was the week he fell out of the top 50 in the world ranking for the first time in 17 years. One reporter called him for a story on Fred Couples. That was the second inquiry from the media.
'There's not a whole lot of people clamoring for you, which is good and bad,' Love said with a smile.
What's so bad about being left alone? Love equated that with being a longtime member of the PGA TOUR policy board, where most decisions are based on the TOUR as a whole instead of any one player.
'You can't do something special for the 82nd player on the money list, because someone will take his place,' Love said. 'You realize that players come and go.'
Reality says he might be one of those players if he doesn't turn it around.
With his year cut short, Love finished 96th on the money list, his lowest position in 22 years on TOUR. When he sat down to go over the 2008 schedule, he realized he might not be able to play tournaments he usually penciled in without a second thought.
He has been eligible for every World Golf Championship since they were created in 1999, but Love, who was No. 16 at the start of the year, slipped to No. 64 on Monday and probably won't be eligible for the Accenture Match Play Championship. His only ticket to Augusta National is to win, and he might only get a half-dozen chances. The last time a Masters was played without him was 1990.
Love does not lack for motivation.
'This is a serious deal,' Brad Faxon said Tuesday. 'The outer left side of the ankle, that's your torque and follow-through. It's going to take time. But if anyone will react positively to this, it's Davis.'
Love has followed his therapy religiously, not taking any risks or missing any of his sessions. While he is itching to play, he is not in a rush. Ernie Els came back early from knee surgery in 2005, which probably slowed his progress.
Being away from golf has given Love plenty of time to reflect on where he has been and where he wants to go.
Some of the goals have changed. Love still jokes about being No. 1 on the PGA TOUR's career money list in early 2000, even though his reign only lasted two weeks before Tiger Woods caught him.
Love is at 19 career victories, one away from lifetime membership on the PGA TOUR. He desperately wants to add to his lone major at the '97 PGA Championship. The FedExCup is a priority. So is the Ryder Cup, and not as a captain. Not yet, anyway.
Motivation comes from not being able to play. And it comes from a magazine article this year that suggested Love was washed up and won't be heard from again in the majors, if he even qualifies for them. He keeps a laminated copy in his office.
'I'm nowhere near coasting,' Love said.
Still he admits being defensive over criticism, and he has heard for years that for someone with his talent, he hasn't squeezed everything out of it that he should have. Love doesn't necessarily disagree.
'I know I should have and could have won more,' he said. 'Everybody wants more for you. I want it more than anyone wants it for me.'
What bothers him is when people say he doesn't care.
True, his only major was the PGA Championship. Love had chances at the U.S. Open in 1996, the British Open in 2003 at Royal St. George's, and most recently the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol. He prefers to look at the bigger picture of playing 12 straight times in a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup. Or going 17 out of 18 years finishing in the top 30 on the money list. Or playing in 70 consecutive majors.
'You don't have streaks like that just trying to get by,' Love said. 'It's just like Freddie (Couples). People think it comes so easy that you don't work at it. I get defensive when people say I don't work hard or I don't care that much.'
The challenge has never been greater.
He is taking baby steps before he can walk, much less run. Love is not interested in making up for lost time, but for making the most of what time he has left.
Players come and go. Love is not ready to leave.
Related Links:
  • Davis Love III's Bio and 2007 Record
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    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”