Stories from Love’s locker
Class of 2017 inductee Davis Love III reveals the reasons behind the mementos he’s sending to the World Golf Hall of Fame
September 11, 2017
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
Inside the PGA TOUR
Davis Love III's trophy room tour ahead of Hall of Fame induction
Had it not been for the cameraman following him around the building, Davis Love III might have been any other tourist at the World Golf Hall of Fame that day in early May.
He wandered through the exhibit rooms, stopping to peer into the glass cases at the trophies and letters and equipment that previous inductees had donated to the Hall. He pulled out his cell phone and took pictures of some of the more interesting items stored for posterity in their lockers, too.
Love even took the elevator to the Trophy Tower, the tallest point in St. John’s County, where he had a 360-degree view of the World Golf Village. Of course, that stop was for a TV interview. After all, he couldn’t blend in completely.
Love went on the reconnaissance mission, of sorts, because he is about to join the World Golf Hall of Fame along with Ian Woosnam, Lorena Ochoa Reyes, Meg Mallon and the late Henry Longhurst in the Class of 2017. He wanted to get an idea of what kind of memorabilia to include in his own exhibit and locker.
The induction ceremony will be held at the Cipriani Wall Street in New York Cup on Sept. 26. It’s a busy week for Love, who will also be serving a second stint as an assistant captain for the U.S. Team during the Presidents Cup at Liberty National in New Jersey.
Love said it took three or four days to decide what items he wanted to loan to the World Golf Hall of Fame. Some were at his mother’s house and his agent’s office. Other pieces were on display in the clubhouses at Sea Island Resort in Georgia, where Love hosts the RSM Classic in November. He had plenty at his home, too.
All of it brought back memories. That’s why it took so long to assemble the collection of more than 70 items.
“I started looking through stuff,” Love says with a smile.
Among the more interesting finds that he’s donating were photos of his late father, Davis Love Jr., who served in the Army and was stationed in Korea. Among his duties? Teaching the officers to play golf.
“He didn’t really elaborate that much,” Love says about his dad. “But there were all these pictures of the Army golf team and flying around in helicopters, giving lessons and going out with the generals.
“Only my dad could completely get out of doing anything,” he adds, chuckling.
Among the equipment Love is loaning to the World Golf Hall of Fame is the putter he used to win the 1997 PGA Championship. The Wannamaker Trophy will be on display, too, along with a framed scorecard and a polo shirt he wore that week at Winged Foot.Davis Love III celebrates following his win at the 1997 PGA Championship. (Getty Images)
Golf bags from various Presidents Cups and Ryder Cups will be on display, along with money clips from the World Cup, which Love won four times with his good friend Fred Couples. Ditto for the ring he got when his North Carolina team won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship and his North & South Amateur trophy.
“They were like, ‘Do you have it?’ ” Love recalls. “I said, do I have it? It's the biggest amateur tournament I won.”
Some of the more interesting items, though, are the books that Love picked. Among them, not surprisingly, are the yellow galley proofs of “Every Shot I Take: Lessons Learned about Golf, Life and a Father’s Love,” the book he wrote after his dad died in a plane crash.
Love’s fascination with the South’s signature dish – and he cooks it competitively – is showcased in “Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto.” Another book he loaned the Hall is “Tenth Legion” by Colonel Tom Kelly. Love reads it every year before turkey season starts.
“A classic literature book but it's about turkey hunting,” he said. “It's very, very dry satirical humor. Very, very good.
“Some people will go, what in the heck is that? But the real turkey hunters will go, he's a real turkey hunter.”
And one book, Love says, perhaps only Bryson DeChambeau can love. Or maybe Phil Mickelson, who enjoys talking golf with putting guru, Dave Pelz, a former NASA scientist. It’s “The Golfing Machine: The Star System of G.O.L.F., Geometrically Oriented Linear Force."
“My dad had me read the book and went to a guy who did the machines,” Love says. “My dad read the whole book and all he got was stretch your left arm with your right, keep the width and the circle.
“I'm going to read everybody's stuff, see if they have anything I like. That's just a weird thing but it's something that my dad gave me to read.”
The Titleist hat that Love gave the World Golf Hall of Fame has particular significance, too.
“(It) is the one I wore at the TOUR Championship when Payne Stewart died,” Love says. “What Would Jesus Do? I wanted that in my locker.”
The 21-time PGA TOUR champ, who included the Sam Snead Trophy he got for winning the 2015 Wyndham Championship at the age of 51, also had quite the collection of letters to loan the Hall. Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Byron Nelson and President H.W. Bush are among those who wrote him.
“I wanted to make a whole book of letters for people to read,” Love says. “Some of that stuff is just so cool. Letters from President Bush and Byron Nelson, ‘Sure are playing well. Hope you come to my tournament.’ Stuff like that.
“Like personal stuff that people don't see that Byron did or Arnold did. When Arnold passed away people were talking about letters. To have it, the normal letter typed out but write something at the bottom, stuff like that is pretty cool.
“People ought to be able to see that.”
Golf fans will also be able to see the Bob Jones Award that Love won in 2013, the highest honor the USGA gives to recognize distinguished sportsmanship in golf. Ditto for the little orange GolfCraft Skokie putter Love’s father cut down for him and the persimmon driver that NBA great Michael Jordan broke when the two were in college at Carolina.
One thing that didn’t make the cut was the trophy of a horse that Love won for being Reserve National Champion in his division one year as his daughter, Lexie, competed across the country in equestrian events.
Another of his favorite items that won’t be on display is a relatively non-descript golf ball that happened to belong to Ryan Moore, who was one of Love’s Captain’s Picks for last year’s Ryder Cup team. Love boldly selected Moore instead of Bubba Watson, who was ranked seventh in the world at the time and later joined the team as one of the captain’s assistants.
Love – who had forgotten to retrieve his ball when he made the clinching putt in the 1993 matches – didn’t want the same thing to happen to Moore when he beat Lee Westwood for the U.S. win last year.
“I waited until he calmed down and everything and said, ‘You're going to want this,’” Love recalls. “About an hour later he came back and said, ‘I want you to have it’ and gave it to me.
“I told him that meant more to me than anything in the whole Ryder Cup because of the whole situation with him and Bubba and the whole deal.”