The Tour Report

    Love: A lot has changed in 708 starts

  • Davis Love III is a two-time winner of the Wyndham Championship. (Gil Fuime/Getty Images)Davis Love III is a two-time winner of the Wyndham Championship. (Gil Fuime/Getty Images)

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Early in his career, Davis Love III remembers sitting in a locker room, shooting the breeze with Jay Haas.

"How long have you been playing?" Love asked the veteran. Haas' answer? 21 years.

"Are you crazy?" Love remembers saying. "How did you play that long? Don't you want to do something else?"

Well, Haas is still playing, now on the Champions Tour. And Love, who turned 50 in April, is putting what could be the finishing touches on his 29th PGA TOUR season as he makes his 708th career start at the Wyndham Championship this week.

"You can't really see down the road," Love said with a smile. "My dad always said, 'I want you to work as hard as you can and see how good you can get' and I think I'm still trying to do that. I was out there pounding balls with a launch monitor yesterday in the rain and still love it, still enjoy it, still love the four hours inside the ropes.  

"It's the reason you play, the reason you work hard."

Love, a life member of the PGA TOUR, is a two-time winner of the Wyndham Championship. He needs another win, and he possibly could finish as low as third on Sunday, to extend his season into the FedExCup Playoffs where the ultimate prize is $10 million.

Love cashed his first paycheck on TOUR in his third start as a rookie in 1986. He tied for 24th at the Shearson Lehman Brothers Andy Williams Open and won $3,836.

"We talk about it all the time," Love said. "Little things like we would have to drive back out to the clubhouse and go walk up to the scoreboard to see what your tee time was the next day if your hotel didn't get the tee time for you.
"There was no text messaging ... Like we know the horn is going to go off before it goes off if you're looking at your phone because they're going to text you that play is suspended. Back then you really didn't have any idea.  

"Sometimes you're guessing, calling the newspaper to find out what your tee time was the next day. Literally, it was a different world, and all the scores were put up on the scoreboard. There was no Internet to see where you stood, what the cut was going to be."

Love also remembers a time when golf and NASCAR racing were afterthoughts on ESPN, which launched six years before he turned pro. On Monday night, though, Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon based a skit around TOUR players and high school superlatives.

"It's amazing -- Greg Norman, Fred Couples, John Daly and now Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy are superstars in the world of sports and they're the lead-in," said the 20-time PGA TOUR champ. "Rory McIlroy is now the hottest thing going. (They are) talking about him ... almost as much as LeBron James, and talking about Tiger as much as LeBron James.
"It's incredible that our sport has grown that much. We've always had really good fan support I think at events. ... But the worldwide scope of when you hit a shot or play a practice round at the PGA it's on TV and just amazing that (there's) so much (coverage) -- it was two hours on CBS on the weekend and now it's 25 hours a week that we're on TV or more.
"Just incredible. It's grown and obviously the money is incredibly different. We've caught up with a lot of sports. It's amazing what (PGA TOUR Commissioners) Deane Beman and Tim Finchem have done. They had a good product but they have really grown it."

Davis Love III on his longevity in the game before Wyndham
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    Davis Love III on his longevity in the game before Wyndham