Love III still focused on winning
November 14, 2018
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
Davis Love III talks about longevity before The RSM Classic
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Davis Love III still thinks he can re-write the record books.
“Winning is always my goal,” he said.
Love, 54, may be a grandfather, but he has no plans to pare down his PGA TOUR schedule. He actually hopes to play more than he did in the previous two seasons.
Love could become the oldest winner in PGA TOUR history, surpassing Sam Snead’s record of 52 years, 10 months and 8 days. Raymond Floyd’s record of longest span between first and last victories (28 years) also is within reach. Love won for the first time in 1987.
No one has ever won multiple titles in their 50s. He was 51 when he won the 2015 Wyndham Championship. That was his 21st PGA TOUR win. He is a lifetime member for reaching 20 wins and 15 seasons on TOUR.
“Obviously, like a few years ago at Greensboro, everything would have to go right. You (have to) hit it good and putt good at the same time,” Love said. “I think that can still happen. You get me within two or three of the lead on Sunday, I’m going to have a chance. I just have to get there.
“The odds obviously continue to decrease every year. But I look at what Tom Watson almost did, Greg Norman almost did at The Open Championship, what Sam Snead did late in his career, what Jack Nicklaus did at the Masters, that’s the reason I keep working.”
As is often the case with players of advanced age, injuries and putting have been the problem.
Love has played more than 750 PGA TOUR events, but he it’s been three years since he played more than 15 in a season. He had hip-replacement surgery after last year’s RSM and played just nine PGA TOUR events and four on PGA TOUR Champions in 2018.
“Like I told you, if Tiger plays a full season, he’ll win a golf tournament. Well, he played a full season and won a golf tournament,” Love said. “I would like a shot at playing a full season without being hurt. … I haven’t played my normal 23 or 24 or 25 events. I would like to do that this year and just see how I play.”
The RSM Classic, where he also serves as host, will be his third start of the season. He finished T59 at the CIMB Classic and 57th at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
He plans to play the Sony Open in Hawaii, AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and Genesis Open. He is a two-time winner at Pebble Beach. The Charles Schwab Challenge and RBC Heritage, played at two of the TOUR’s shorter courses, also are on his schedule. He has five wins at the Heritage, including his first PGA TOUR victory.
There were promising signs in his last start.
At TPC Summerlin, he was second in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green and eighth in proximity to the hole. He was second-to-last in Strokes Gained: Putting, though.
He missed three putts from 3-5 feet and was just 1 for 5 from 7-10 feet. He only made 3 of 18 attempts from 10-15 feet, as well.
“As usual, it’s going to come down to putting for me. If I can putt well enough to beat them (on PGA TOUR Champions), I think I can probably sneak in a win out here,” Love said. “Obviously, like a few years ago at Greensboro, everything would have to go right.”
He has experimented with the arm-lock method that Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau and Keegan Bradley used to win recently. Love said he’s had “very little success” with it, though.
“I’m rolling the ball great. I have to relax and play and quit trying to force it," Love said. "Calling (sports psychologist Bob) Rotella probably is the answer."
It may be the only thing standing between him and history.