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Love rejuvenated after spending time with son

5 Min Read

Tour Insider

    Written by Adam Stanley @adam_stanley

    Inspired by spending a week caddying for his son Dru, don’t be surprised if Davis Love III manages to pull off the nearly-impossible this week at the SAS Championship.

    Love, who played five PGA TOUR Champions events this summer after recovering from surgery earlier in the year, sits at 105th on the Charles Schwab Cup standings. But this weekend in North Carolina is Wildcard Weekend, and if Love III posts a top-10 result (he actually needs a two-way T5) then he’ll automatically earn a berth in the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, which begin next week.

    There are 14 players outside the top-72 in this week’s 78-player field, but only one was inside the ropes in a pressure-cooker situation with their son and saw him get through First Stage of Q-School for the Korn Ferry Tour.

    “Obviously Q-School is as much pressure as we get. Ryder Cup is bad, but playing for a job is worse,” Love said

    The elder Love had caddied for son Dru – who played golf collegiately at the University of Alabama – in prior events like the U.S. Open (2017) but this was the first time he had seen how much Dru was under the gun at a Q-School.

    “He said, ‘you know I’m on my best golf behavior when you’re around so I’d like you to caddie.’ I thought that was a good decision by him,” said Love. “I’m not his teacher. I’m more for real a caddie and a sports psychologist and maybe a voice of authority like, ‘no, your attitude was really bad. You have to get back into the process.’

    “I’m more helpful with how to play golf than how to swing the golf club.”

    Love said he’s always around to evaluate Dru’s game and the other youngsters around Sea Island, Georgia these days. While he still can compete on the PGA TOUR (as evident by his victory in 2015 when he was 51) he’s starting to make more appearances on PGA TOUR Champions and knows he’s not getting any younger.

    “I went from ‘Uncle Davis’ around the island now to ‘Grandpa Davis.’ That’s what I hear a lot,” Love said, laughing. “It’s great being the third-oldest to have won on the PGA TOUR but you know what that means? That means you’re old.”

    Love said watching Dru play inspires him to work on his own game, and hit the gym (“I was watching him hit 7-iron 209 yards and I was like, ‘holy cow, I have to work out.’”) as he gets ready for a busy stretch of golf to come.

    Love will play this week at the SAS Championship and see where things net out on PGA TOUR Champions for the balance of the year. He’s going to play in Bermuda and Mexico on the PGA TOUR, he said, as he prepares to both play in and host The RSM Classic on Sea Island in November.

    He said he’s starting to feel better after a “rough, long summer” and caddying for Dru was good for him as he gets stronger and more prepared for life back out on TOUR.

    “It’s like a sports team you know, like, ‘man, wait until next year, it’s going to be better’ I’m not in the playoffs but I’m thinking about next year already,” said Love.

    Not only is Love thinking about what’s to come on the golf course but, away from the golf course, you’d be hard-pressed to find a busier man, or a harder worker.

    Love’s golf-course design business is booming. He just finished up a renovation of Sea Island’s Plantation Course with his brother, Mark, along with projects in Idaho and with the University of Virginia. The new Plantation Course will be put to the test by the best players in the world as part of The RSM Classic next month.

    The brothers have gotten a reputation as being a solid duo when it comes to renovations and updates, and Love said he’s started to get better behind a bulldozer.

    “Pete Dye told me: If you don’t run the equipment and build (a course), you’re not a golf course architect. It was great advice,” said Love. “He was giving me some crap but he was also telling me as a golfer you don’t know what goes into it. You need to get on it and understand the restraints and the difficulty and how it’s done… And he’s right.”

    If casually dropping Dye’s name (one of the most iconic designers in the history of the sport) is impressive, then wait until you hear Love talk about barbeque.

    While golf has been the passport to the world for Love, he’s probably more comfortable in his own backyard cooking meat over a long-burning fire.

    Love, who is part owner of the award-winning Southern Soul BBQ on Sea Island, has become quite the sultan of smoke in the last while.

    He and the team at Southern Soul just completed a barbeque fundraiser, making more than $40,000 for the food service industry on Sea Island. He’ll travel up to Charleston to help restaurants with barbeque, and he said he was at ‘The Masters’ of barbeque earlier this month.

    He hasn’t yet met Aaron Franklin – the owner of Franklin’s BBQ and who is to barbeque what Pete Dye is to golf architecture, a legend – but nearly did… until Ben Crenshaw interrupted that visit.

    “I was (in Austin, Texas) with Crenshaw and I said, ‘we’re going to Franklin’s, right? And he said, ‘no we’re going to my place,’” said Love, admittingly a hard invitation to pass up.

    Love said he’s doing a barbeque event with BMW next week and while Southern Soul is doing the catering, he’s going to cook all the meat. “Talk about pressure,” he said.

    But for a guy who has been competing at the highest level for more than three decades, whether it’s cooking meat or guiding someone through Q-School or needing a good result on the course – like this weekend at the SAS Championship – you can bet Love will be up for the challenge.