Family Matters

He's Among the World's Ten Best Golfers
("Just think if I'd won half the times I had the lead going into Sunday." - Davis Love III)

#1523221571 Davis Love III

Davis Love III, the son of #152322157 Helen Penta Burgin and Davis M. Love Jr., was born in Charlotte, N.C., on April 13, 1964. He began his amateur career at the University of North Carolina, where he was a three-time All-American, winner of the 1984 North-South Amateur, and winner of the ACC Championship. After turning pro in 1985, Davis earned his first PGA Tour victory at the 1987 MCI Heritage Golf Classic, a feat he repeated in 1991, 1992, 1998, and 2003. Davis was a member of five President's Cup teams, five Ryder Cup teams, and five World Cup teams. In 1996, he won the World Cup Individual Title.

After a long wait, Davis Love III finally shed the title of "best player never to have won a major yet" by making it to the winner's circle in the 1997 PGA Championship at Winged Foot. The 32-year-old Love shot a 4-under 66 in the final round to finish at 11- under, five strokes ahead of Justin Leonard.

As Love made his final stride up the 18th fairway, a rainbow appeared. Interestingly enough, a rainbow was also spotted shortly after Love's victory at the 1992 Players Championship leading many to believe that his father's spirit has been smiling on him. Love's father, Davis Love Jr., was a well-known Golf Digest instructor, who died in a plane crash in 1988. Love dedicated the book "Every Shot I Take" to his father, who was one of his strongest influences in golf as well as in life.

To date, Davis has won a total of 18 times on the PGA Tour and has two international victories. In 1997, he was inducted into the University Of North Carolina Order of Merit. In June 1998, he was named honorary chairman of the PGA of America's National Golf Day and inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame on January 6, 2001.

2003 HIGHLIGHTS: Won a career-high four times ... In second start of season, captured AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for the second time in three years ... Finished T2 at The Honda Classic ... Won his second Players Championship in 11 years ... Captured fifth tartan jacket at the MCI Heritage at Harbour Town GL ... Finished T4 at the British Open, his best finish in a major since finishing second at the 1999 Masters ... Three weeks later, became second player of the year to go wire-to-wire on his way to his second victory at The International (first came in 1990) ... Won second Target World Challenge in December.

2004 MONEY LEADERS: (1) Vijay Singh $5,813,567 (2) Phil Mickelson $5,423,288 (3) Ernie Els $4,130,775 (4) Tiger Woods $3,523,258 (5) Adam Scott $2,943,384 (6) Stephen Ames $2,749,680 (7) Davis Love III $2,730,094 (8) Sergio Garcia $2,728,083 (9) Todd Hamilton $2,664,947 (10) Retief Goosen $2,547,323

Love donates $700,000 Match Play Check to Church
by Associated Press

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) -- Davis Love III found a way to erase contentious memories from the Match Play Championship, donating his $700,000 from finishing second to his local church. ``It hits you that there are more important things than golf,'' Love said on Thursday. Love lost to Tiger Woods in the final match at La Costa two weeks ago, a Sunday that turned sour when he was heckled by a fan during a pivotal stretch of the 36-hole match. The fan kept saying ``No Love'' as he prepared to play, and Love finally confronted him on the fifth tee. Love refused to resume the match until the culprit was identified and taken out of the gallery. Love was heavily criticized in newspaper columns and talk radio the following week for the way he handled the heckling, and wound up trying to defend the etiquette in golf. ``It was a good week, and that took all the fun out of it,'' Love said. ``I went to David Duval's wedding, and the pastor said some things that made me think. Then our pastor said some things on Sunday ... and it just seemed like the right thing to do.'' Love gave the money to St. Simons Presbyterian Church on St. Simons Island, Georgia. The church is starting a five-year construction project to refurbish the sanctuary, classrooms and assembly hall. He and his wife, Robin, had already made a pledge to the building fund when Love decided to add his $700,000 check from the Match Play Championship. ``It's a week I'll always remember, and we just wanted to make sure something good came out of it,'' Love said.

Davis' father, Davis Love Jr., was not a great player in his own right, though he did contend in the 1964 Masters, just days before Davis III was born. But he had become a nationally recognized golf instructor who traveled the United States giving high-profile clinics. While his son was en route to Hawaii for the 1988 Kapalua tournament, the elder Davis would be going to Jacksonville with two other pros to conduct a golf school. Davis Love Jr. never made it. The private plane that was carrying the three pros crashed into a pine forest short of the Jacksonville Airport, killing all aboard.

"Golf changed for me when my father died," says Love. "From that time on, some of the pure love and joy of the game went out of me. I was motivated to practice hard and to play hard to win. I wanted to win because of him. But I think it became just a little more work than it was before."

Davis' longtime friend Fred Couples says, "He has more important things to do, other than winning golf tournaments, He's got boats, he loves to hunt, he's got kids, a bunch of horses. If he quit all that, he could probably win six times a year, but when he's 50 years old and looks back, he's not gonna feel cheated."

"Had Love enjoyed his time away from golf a little less, he might have won a little more over the years."
- Stephen Szurlej

Yes indeed, Love's Sea Island home is a shrine to all things non-golf...ten horses roam the front end of the property. There are motorized buggies of all shapes and sizes on the grounds, but there's no sign of a workout room, no practice green, not even a putting mat on the patio. Inside the house, one would never guess the owner is the seventh-ranked golfer in the world. A wine cellar is presently under construction. Love has begun to assemble a workshop, but unlike, say, Mark O'Meara, who stores hundreds of clubs in a room off his garage, Love doesn't have so much as a lone 9-iron leaning against a wall.

"We went there for Thanksgiving and it's Camp Love," says Billy Andrade. "I don't have any toys at my house. Davis has four-wheelers, motorcycles, wave runners, boats, the horses, a gun collection, all kinds of fishing gear. When you go there, you don't want to leave. My kids start crying every time we pack up to go home."

On teaching Michael Jordan to play golf:

"Unfortunately I haven't played with him in a long time, but from the outside looking in, it looks like he's getting a lot out of a tall body. It's hard for a tall person to play really good golf. Once you get past maybe even my height at six-foot three, or six-four, it's really hard to play good golf. We did get him started. He was a roommate of a good friend of mine at North Carolina, Buzz Petersen. Buzz wanted to play more golf with the golf team. So he came out and Michael was his roommate so he started coming out along with Brad Dougherty. (Note: Buzz Peterson is now head basketball coach at UT)

We gave him (Jordan) his first clubs and some old shag balls and he started playing with us. It wasn't six months before coach (Dean) Smith was saying you need to send the basketball team back to the gym. They were all out on the golf course. It was fun to get to know him and watch him grow. The best thing about golf for him was that it's given him something to do away from the crowd, away from his celebrity status. I think that's why he likes it so much. It's hard to do and it's a challenge, but it's also a release for him to get away from basketball."

When Jordan's golf gambling difficulties became known, Love would often say:
"I feel like the person who gave Dillinger his first gun."

Davis plays out of Sea Island, GA, where he lives with his wife Robin, Daughter Alexia, and son Davis IV. He recently said, "The number one thing is my family, my wife and my kids. Golf is our life, but we also spend a lot of time together because of golf. Other than that, I'm more of a private person.

I'm in the public eye all the time, but when I'm away from golf, I like to get completely away. I like to hunt, I like to fish, I like to be in the outdoors. I'm very lucky. I have a great life out here on Tour and have a lot of friends like Fred Couples and Jeff Sluman, Billy Andrade and on down the list, a million friends out here like Mike Hulbert. But when I leave the Tour, I also have a big group of friends at home that aren't famous people, business guys and friends I hunt and fish with. So I'm very fortunate to have almost two separate lives to live and I enjoy both of them.

I can see when I'm not playing and I'm not the number ten golfer in the world or not the number fifty golfer in the world, I'll still have somewhere I'll enjoy going and just maybe building golf courses rather than playing golf and getting out of the public eye."

SOURCES: Golf; - Golf;; Official World Golf; Golf Today and numerous other WWW Sites.