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November 11 2013

3:52 PM

Kirk gets guidance from Love

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Chris Kirk has never finished outside the top 50 in the FedExCup in three TOUR seasons.

By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM

Davis Love III's brother, Mark, has been The McGladrey Classic's executive director since the tournament began in 2010. He's overseen the event's growth into a FedExCup event. He's also aided the development of the 2013 champion, Chris Kirk.

Kirk hit a slump in his second season as a professional, missing nine of 13 cuts on the Web.com Tour in 2009. He earned just $13,606 and had to return to q-school to regain his status. That's when Mark Love was enlisted to help Kirk, the 2007 Ben Hogan Award winner as the top player in college and amateur golf. They began working together in late 2009.

"Chris is not a real technical kind of guy," Mark Love said. "(His agents) thought he would benefit from a less technical approach. That's the way I do things. We did some drills, did some things that were real simple. We just helped him stick with what he was good at, which was drawing the golf ball. I think his slump had come because once he got into professional golf he thought he had to work it both ways and hit some shots that weren't as comfortable for him. That just got him a little off.

"We went back to his natural golf swing and ball flight, and then we just tried to manage that so that it didn't get too out of control. He has a tendency to aim a little right and hook it a little bit. We just did things to keep that reigned in."

Kirk found success that following season. He won twice on the Web.com Tour to earn his first PGA TOUR card. He won his first TOUR title (Sanderson Farms Championship) in 2011, and has finished in the top 50 in the FedExCup in each of his first three seasons.

Kirk and Mark Love met through the tight-knit St. Simons Island, Ga., golf community. Kirk is represented by Crown Sports Management, which is based on the island and also represents Davis Love III. Mark's father, Davis Love Jr., was a famed instructor. Mark also learned from teachers such as Bob Toski, Jim Flick, Peter Kostis, Paul Runyan and Jack Lumpkin while helping his father with golf camps. 

Mark was an instructor before caddying for his brother on TOUR. Now Mark instructs part-time, using his knowledge to help local up-and-coming players. Kirk lived on St. Simons Island until moving a few weeks ago.

"We just make sure (Kirk's) fundamentals are good, he's aimed good and his posture is good. And then work on path, making sure he's turning through the ball well, keeping his hands low and moving to the left, and that there's not a lot of excess flip in his golf swing," Mark Love said. "That's generally the thing that gets him. We just make sure his hands and arms are matched up and feels free to go ahead and let it go."

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