Love Does It With 39-Year-Old Body Mind

By George WhiteApril 22, 2003, 4:00 pm
Lets see, he broke a bone in his left wrist in 1989. Then he had a painful back problem, a pinched nerve, numbness in the fingers. Dont forget the neck ' yeah, that was dicey, too, causing more numbness in the arm and fingers.
 
But lets concede this ' Davis Loves been playing for 18 years now, and when hes been healthy, hes been a pretty good player. He went from being a bomber who was as long as anybody on the tour, to an outstanding iron player, to the fourth best putter in this, the 18th year out here.
 
And ' hes starting to win again. The PGA Tour is beginning to look like a four-man race ' multiple winners Tiger Woods, Mike Weir, Love and Ernie Els returning the spotlight to the older set again. Loves Sunday win at The MCI Heritage was No. 3 this year, and theyre starting to come in routine fashion. One thing Woods often does is win when he doesnt necessarily have his best stuff, and for Love on Sunday, how true that was.
 
We dont know how much he would have won if the injuries hadnt taken their toll on his skeleton. We dont know what he would have done if golf was his sole focus, instead of his wife and two children and his fishing and hunting. He has 17 wins, certainly nothing to pooh-pooh, but his spotty record in playoffs alone suggests that it could have been more. Before his win Sunday, Davis had been in eight playoffs and lost ' seven? If he could just have won half of them, he would have 20 wins already.
 
He has finished runner-up 23 times ' suppose he had won five of those 23? And he is up to ' what - 25 wins?
 
Suppose, suppose he is what he is what he is, and what he is is a guy with 17 wins. Maybe its because he is guilty of a lot of wrong club selections, as of his peers say. Maybe it is because hes not mean enough, which some people have ventured. Maybe its because he tries too often to finesse shots rather than just clubbing it. And then, maybe he just hasnt been as good as people have thought. Maybe 17 wins is right where he is supposed to be.
 
And maybe ' just maybe ' he is now entering a span where he is about to play the best golf of his life at age 39. Maybe he wont be the best driver, the best iron player, the best short-game player ' but he will become the best player that he has ever been. Hey, when you travel in the circles of Tiger Woods and Ernie ' yes, even Mike Weir ' youre doing something right!
 
I was grinding so hard trying to win, he said last year. And why? Well, because of Tigers meteoric emergence in the late 90s. That, plus his physical ailments, combined to leave him winless for the better part of three years.
 
I was dumfounded by what Tiger was doing, he said with all honesty. I got frustrated watching him and I think I tried too hard.
 
But now, Im not worrying about whether hes making them because Im making them, too. I appreciate what hes doing, but now Im playing with a little more confidence than I was.
 
Confidence was the only difference between Love and Woody Austin in the playoff Sunday. Not since 1985 had Austin actually won. Love had already won twice this year alone, including the Players Championship three weeks ago. This business of being in a playoff wasnt nearly as outlandish to him as it was to Woody. Woody thought about what a win would mean to him. Love thought about it, too, but more than anything, he was just there to play.
 
Love thought about what a pleasant Sunday it was, and how fortunate to be one of only two players left going into extra holes. If he won ' great! If he didnt ' well, he had won twice this year already. There unquestionably will be others ' this year there will be others. If he didnt win today, then he will win tomorrow.
 
Woody Austin was, in short, Davis Love of two years ago when Love was always hearing those footsteps of Tiger. But Sunday, Davis WAS Tiger, and Woody was Woody. Woody should have won, but didnt. Love should have lost, but didnt. Dont so many of Woods wins turn out that way?
 
You know, I hung in there all week, said Davis, half-apologetically. I hit a lot of funny shots and uncharacteristic shots for me in this tournament and I got away with it. And you never know, you never Ernie to finish like he did and never expected Hal Sutton.
 
But once he got into the playoff, it kept feeling like I was going to win. But I just never could hit a good shot to pull it off. I knew he was feeling a lot more nervous than I was. I was just as excited and trying to hit a good one and I kept trying to be too precise and too smooth and too relaxed.
 
Finally, I just said, Im going to hit it at the hole and quit screwing around. And I finally hit a good one.
 
Thats what being there does for you. He said he probably couldnt have done it if he hadnt already won at Pebble Beach and the Players. It would have been harder, for sure, to grind it out, he said with all honesty.
 
It looks like a different Davis Love, though. Tiger is still Tiger and he is going to win more than anyone. But in the next echelon, maybe it will be Davis for a couple of years. If he has his best game working, only Tiger can beat him. If he has only his average gamed working and that 39-year-old head on his shoulders, now hell win almost every time.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage of the MCI Heritage
  • Davis Love III Bio
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    Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener

    By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:44 pm

    The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.

    Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.

    According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

    "My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"

    Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.

    Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.

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    Playoff streaks in jeopardy for Garcia, Haas

    By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:12 pm

    Since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007, only 13 players have managed to make the playoffs each and every year. But two of the PGA Tour's stalwarts head into the regular-season finale with work to do in order to remain a part of that select fraternity.

    Sergio Garcia has rarely had to sweat the top-125 bubble, but the Spaniard enters this week's Wyndham Championship 131st in the current standings. Left with even more work to do is former FedExCup winner Bill Haas, who starts the week in Greensboro 150th.

    Garcia got off to a strong start in the spring, sandwiching a pair of top-10 finishes in WGC events around a fourth-place showing at the Valspar Championship. But quality results largely dried up after Garcia missed the cut at the Masters; he has made only two cuts in 10 Tour starts since April, including early exits in all four majors.


    Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    Garcia has some history at Sedgefield Country Club, having won this event in 2012 to break a lengthy U.S. victory drought. He also finished fourth in 2009 but hasn't played the Donald Ross layout since a T-29 finish as the defending champ in 2013.

    It's been a difficult year for Haas both on and off the course, as the veteran was involved as a passenger in a car accident on the eve of the Genesis Open that killed the driver. He returned to action three weeks later in Tampa, and he tied for seventh at the RBC Heritage in April. But that remains his lone top-10 finish of the season. Haas has missed 11 cuts including three in a row.

    While the bubble will be a fluid target this week at Sedgefield, Garcia likely needs at least a top-20 finish to move into the top 125 while Haas will likely need to finish inside the top 5.

    One of the 13 playoff streaks is assured of ending next week, as Luke Donald has missed most of the year with a back injury. Other players to qualify for every Tour postseason include Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Charles Howell III, Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore.

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    Airlines lose two sets of Olesen's clubs in 10 days

    By Grill Room TeamAugust 15, 2018, 7:50 pm

    Commercial airlines losing the golf clubs of a professional golfer is not exactly a groundbreaking story. It happens.

    But European Tour pro Thorbjorn Olesen is on quite the roll, losing two sets of clubs and five suitcases in the span of 10 days.

    Olesen, the reigning Italian Open champ, claimed his primary set of golf clubs were lost last week. Having little faith they'd be found before this week's Nordea Masters, he decided to bring his backup set for the event in Sweden.

    A veteran move by the 28-year-old, unless, of course, those clubs were lost too. And wouldn't you know it:

    After pestering the airlines with some A+ GIFs, Olesen was reunited with at least one of his sets and was back in action on Wednesday.

    He also still plans on giving his golf bag away to some lucky follower, provided it's not lost again in transit. Something he's no longer taking for granted.

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    Podcast: Brandel compares Tiger and Hogan's comebacks

    By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 15, 2018, 6:48 pm

    Tiger Woods on Sunday at Bellerive recorded his seventh runner-up finish in a major and his first in nine years.

    A favorite guest of the Golf Channel Podcast, Brandel Chamblee joins host Will Gray to compare and contrast Tiger's return to competitive golf with that of Ben Hogan and Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the 1950s.

    Chamblee also discusses Brooks Koepka's major dominance, Bellerive as a major venue, Tiger and Phil as Ryder Cup locks, and who else might be in line to receive Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn's remaining captain's picks.

    Finally, Brandel shares what it was it was like to qualify for the Senior Open Championship and compete for a major title on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Listen here: