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Davis Loves the Fifth

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- The only thing wrong was the shirt. Davis Love stood basking in the low evening sun on the 18th green at Harbour Town, holding a trophy for the third time this year. He was resplendent in the champions traditional tartan jacket ' the bold red-and-black plaid draped over his lime-green polo shirt ' the horizontal white stripe making it even tougher on the eyes.
One would think that after winning this tournament four previous times in his career, Davis would know what shirt to wear when hes in the hunt on Sunday at The Heritage. You can blame Robin Love (his wife) for this outfit, Davis laughed. She told me this morning, Its Easter, youve got to wear a bright colored shirt.
The Loves dont mind the contrasting colors at all. Sixteen years ago Davis Love won The Heritage for the first time. It was also the first win on tour for the towering blond bomber. Now, hes donned the tartan jacket five times. It looks just fine.
That first Heritage win came just six days after Davis had turned 23 years old. Since that maiden victory, Love has been crowned champion on tour sixteen more times.
Now the 39-year-old has won a total of $23,736,495 in his PGA Tour career ' second only to Tiger Woods. With the $810,000 check Love earned on this day, his total for 2003 soars to just shy of $3.7 million and vaults Davis to the top of this years money list.
When this year started, many wondered whether the 39-year-old Love was closer to his peak or to retirement. With three wins in his first nine tournaments this year, Davis has proven he is still one of the best players in the world. In fact, this is (already) his best season since he won three times in 1992. Retirement is a long, long way away.
I heard Fred Couples on the air in Hawaii, Love recalled, and he said that he thought this would be a huge year for me. I dont know how he knew it.
Davis might be just a bit surprised by his incredible success so far this season, but that success has bred confidence and inspired new and loftier goals. Id like to win Player of the Year, he said. I know Ill probably have to win five or six times to keep up with Tiger and Mike Weir, but I think I can do it.
If one can have the confidence to stand on the 18th green, surrounded by thousands of fans, on national TV, with that incredibly gaudy outfit, then exuding confidence that being the best in the world is possible is no surprise.