PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The PGA Tour removed the iconic live oak that squeezed the right side of the sixth fairway at TPC Sawgrass prior to this year’s Players Championship due to a disease that had made the tree unstable.
The Tour created two benches from the tree, one that will go in the clubhouse and the other will be placed on the sixth tee, and on Saturday commissioner Tim Finchem gave Davis Love III a piece of the tree after years of criticism.
“When [Love] would go out to play No. 6 I would hear about it and I’d go hide somewhere so he couldn’t get at me,” said Finchem about Love, who has served multiple terms as a player director on the circuit’s policy board.
“There had been rumors that this tree was ill and it was a danger and might fall on one of the players, that’s why we had to take it down. That’s not true, we listened to the players and we just went out and chopped the thing down,” the commissioner joked.
Love, who has not played on Tour since undergoing surgery on his right foot on April 1, said the recovery process is going well but he still has no timeframe on when he may be able to return.
“It’s good, actually,” Love said. “I’m ahead of the doctor’s schedule. I’m behind my schedule.”
Love had hoped to return to the Tour next week at the Wells Fargo Championship, but he was forced to withdraw on Friday as the recovery process continues.
His next potential start would be in two weeks at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, and he’s also considering playing the Principal Charity Classic in Iowa the last week of May on the Champions Tour, where he would be allowed to ride in a golf cart.
“I’ve heard from two or three weeks to six weeks. My only rule is that I can’t limp, so when I start limping I have to get off my foot,” said Love, who started hitting golf balls again a week ago. “I have to push myself to where I can do five miles a day, six days a week. There’s no time frame for that.”