ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Robin Love gave her husband a simple goal this year. It’s the same one she’s set for him the last several years – just stay healthy.
“If I can just stay healthy, I’m convinced I can still compete with these kids from time to time,” Davis Love III said. “But I failed again. I just overdid it all summer long and then went back to golf and hurt my neck.”
As a result, Love, 56, won’t be competing in this year’s RSM Classic and will focus his attention on being tournament host of his hometown PGA Tour event that supports his Davis Love III Foundation.
Love said he spent the Tour’s three-month layoff due to the global pandemic fishing, hunting and riding around on a bulldozer building a golf course in Idaho. When he returned to play in August at the PGA Championship, he aggravated his neck. He withdrew from the PGA Tour Champions Pure Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach in September after two rounds. He recalled hitting a good drive at No. 13 and when he reached his ball it had only flown 260 yards.
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“I couldn’t get over the top of the ball. I was getting injections, couldn’t sleep at night and just decided it wasn’t worth it,” he said. “I even went fishing the next week in Idaho and I couldn’t fish it hurt so bad. I said, ‘That’s it.’ I went to the doctor and he said surgery and my therapist said 6-8 weeks of rest.”
Love, who previously had surgery on his neck, chose the latter, but he isn’t one to sit around. Jim Furyk once joked that a young player who practiced too much told him he needed to get a hobby. “I told him you need to talk to Davis Love because he could definitely give up a few,” Furyk said. “He’s always busy. He can’t sit down and watch TV and relax.”
So, it came as little surprise to anyone that knows Love that about two weeks ago he tried to hit some balls, only to be scolded by his trainer, Randy Myers.
“I felt to be able to play the RSM, I had to try it. It didn’t work and I went right back into therapy. I just need another week or two,” Love said. “The main goal for me personally is to get ready for next year.”
“He’s put so much time and effort into this tournament and he still wants to compete, and he still can compete,” Harris English said. “It’s pretty incredible what he can still do at his age.”
Love has set a personal goal that he thinks is achievable if he can get healthy. He’s within striking distance of becoming the all-time leader in PGA Tour career starts. Love, who has teed it up in 776 Tour events, is behind only Jay Haas (798) and Mark Brooks (803).
It’s been a challenging 12 months for Love and his family. In March, the Loves home burned to the ground, but no one was injured. In July, he announced he was stepping down from his brief tenure as a CBS Sports golf commentator.
“I’m being very careful not to complain about 2020 because so many people had a rough year. Needless to say, this year has not gone as planned for me and for the Love family, but I continue to realize how blessed we are and thankful for everything that we can, you know, have a great week still this week,” Love said.
And Love is doing his best to move on. He and his wife purchased a new home in April.
“Everybody asks, ‘Are you settled in your house?’ I say, ‘No, we’re settling.’ We’re coming to grips with everything and I’m proud of my wife, Robin. She’s done an incredible job. I know a lot of people would have just crawled into a hole and not come out, but she’s been very strong and resilient and we’re hanging in there,” he said. “The grandkids show up and come running down the hall like nothing ever changed. They love just being around their grandmother and hanging out with her. I keep telling her, ‘Wherever you are is where the fun’s going to be, it doesn’t matter what house we’re in.’ ”
Despite not being in the RSM Classic this time, Love is excited for what is the strongest field in tournament history. It’s full of international players that competed in last week’s Masters such as Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Matt Wallace.
“We knew once the Masters went the week before us and the [European Tour’s] Road to Dubai stuff was not going to be a factor, we had a tough time with exemptions this year because we had so many guys that wanted a spot that they weren’t Tour members. So yeah, our strength of field has never been better,” Love said.
He’s always hosted the pro-am party at his home and handed out the winner’s trophy on Sunday, but this year Love’s adding some new duties as tournament host, including assembling the snack mix for the office and helping players with dinner reservations.
“I’m doing the big things to get this tournament moving,” Love said with a smile.
Tour veteran Harris English cracked that knowing Love he likely would be volunteering to pick the range.
“Randy Myers won’t let me do it because he says the cart bounces around too much and it will hurt my neck,” Love said. “So, I’m looking for a job.”