Hampered by an ailing neck since 2000, Davis Love III confirmed that he plans to have surgery on Friday morning to help alleviate the numbness and loss of strength that has been caused by spinal stenosis and joint bone spurs.
“I’ve been working around it and it’s been a nagging thing for a long time. The last three months it’s been more than a nagging thing, it’s just been a constant annoyance and needs to be fixed,” Love told GolfChannel.com.
The surgery will be performed by Dr. Regis Haid in Atlanta and Love said he expects to miss six to eight weeks with recovery and rehabilitation. According to Love, Haid expects the 20-time Tour winner to be putting again within five days of surgery and chipping within 10 days.
More importantly, Haid anticipates the surgery will give Love three to five years of pain-free movement. “Give me three to five years without pain and I will be happy,” said Love, who withdrew from last week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open and this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am because of the neck ailment.
Love said three sets of doctors – last week in Scottsdale, at home on St. Simons Island, Ga., and in Atlanta – agreed that it was time for surgery and after nearly a decade of uncertainty he seemed at ease with his decision.
“I’ve been anxious for months and months,” said Love, who played three events this year with two missed cuts and last week’s withdrawal. “The nurse called about my pre-op meeting on Thursday and I told her, ‘I can’t wait.’ I’m going to be way better when I get back.”
In late 2007 Love tore tendons in his left ankle and missed four months recovering. By comparison he said Friday’s surgery, which is similar to the procedure Denver quarterback Peyton Manning had in 2011, and recovery is expected to take much less time.
Love said Haid gave him the option to wait until after this year’s majors to have the surgery but with two World Golf Championships coming up that Love is currently not qualified for there seemed to be no reason to postpone the procedure.
“It seems like the right time,” said Love, who had a cortisone shot last Thursday in his neck but still felt discomfort when he tried to swing. “I had to get out of the cycle. I wish I had done this five years ago.”
Love didn’t want to estimate when he may be ready to play Tour golf again but was clearly relieved after years of uncertainty. He also plans on making the most of his time away from the practice range.
“(Swing coach) Jack Lumpkin said, ‘I’m going to turn you into the best putter you’ve ever seen,” Love laughed.