Two-time major winner and World Golf Hall of Fame member Davis Love III joins Shon and Jim to talk about family, the Ryder Cup, and the impact golf has made on this life.
Shon Crewe (00:00):
He's a major champion with 21 PGA Tour wins and 37 professional wins to date and has spent more than 450 weeks in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings. He's a two-time U.S. Ryder Cup team captain and, in 2017, joined the ranks of many other greats becoming a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. He'll be competing here for the first time at the Boeing Classic at the Golf Club at Snoqualmie Ridge August 19th – 25th. Davis Love III joins us now on The Golf Show with Jim Moore and Shon Crewe. Davis, it's such a pleasure having you here with us today.
Davis Love III (00:30):
Thank you. I'm looking forward to getting to Seattle.
Shon Crewe (00:33):
You grew up in a golf family with both of your parents playing golf. I know your dad was a renowned golf professional and instructor, and your mom was a single-digit player. You said, at a young age, you knew you wanted to be a professional golfer. I'm sure the odds were working in your favor – perhaps genetics as well, but did it always just feel like a natural decision for you?
Davis Love III (00:53):
Yeah. I would say genetics came from my mom because she was such a good, natural player. She grew up on a farm and then never heard of golf until she met my dad in her 20's, but, yeah, I definitely had an advantage. I had one of the best teachers in the country, you know, as my dad as my coach, and that really helped. My brother and I both enjoyed playing from a young age, and I was like a lot of kids. I just wanted to do whatever my dad did. Then when I was about 10 or 12, I figured out that, "Gosh, I have an advantage here to learn the game." I wanted to be a tour pro because I got to hang around with him at U.S. Opens and PGA Championships and going to big tournaments around the southeast. So, I knew that's what I wanted to do, and I was very lucky growing up to have him around.
Jim Moore (01:38):
Davis, I just got done playing. I was over in Eastern Washington. I've got 15-year-old twins, and a played three rounds over there, and so you've experienced the flip side of that too - turning it around and playing with your kids and also winning a tournament last year, the PNC Father-Son Challenge with your son Dru. I'm sure it's fun for you to get that side of it too.
Davis Love III (02:03):
It's great, and my son is trying to make it on the tour. He's playing on the Canadian Tour right now, watching him, try to grind it out and get a tour card. Then I've got three granddaughters, and the five-year-old granddaughter loves to play, and she's a lefty, which confuses all of us in our family. But, yeah, it's fun to pass it onto the next generation. People always ask me, "What do you do with your kids, or what do you do with your granddaughter to get them into the game?" and I say "Just make it fun." One of my pro-am partners at the Dick's last week – he had his two granddaughters that are two years old out there, and he said, "They just love riding in the cart." Well, they're going to be golfers because they love coming out to the golf course and it's fun. My dad always made it fun. If we wanted to stop and fish or stop and hunt for balls when we were little, he let us do it, and then when we wanted to shoot low scores and he made us work hard at it. I've been blessed to watch my dad teach us and then also pass it on to my son.
Shon Crewe (03:00):
Davis Love is with us on the Golf Show with Jim Moore and Shon Crewe. He'll be competing at the Boeing Classic August 19th through the 25th. Davis, during your World Golf Hall of Fame speech, you said something that I thought was one of the best compliments someone could give about a sport. You said that golf has improved your life in every way. I was moved by that because I'm not sure that's something a lot of people can say about a sport they play – or love, for that matter.
Davis Love III (03:22):
Yeah. There's, so much more to a sport than just the scores that you shoot -– the people that you meet, the journey it takes you on, and the opportunities I've been given. I mean, I personally know presidents. I've gone to president's homes. I've met kings, I've been all around the world, done things. I've been to every major sporting event except for the Super Bowl, and I should've gone when the Falcons played the Patriots. I had a ticket. And I just can't imagine any other thing that could have given me that kind of life, you know, and that kind of life experiences and plus the pleasures of, as you said earlier, passing it onto your kids. And it's just been, golf's been a blessing to me, and to my whole family. And it's amazing what the, what the sport is done and how much has grown in the last 30 or 40 years since I started playing.
Jim Moore (04:17):
And Davis. It's pretty cool. I mean, you're known for, for giving back too, so you understand, and you appreciate what the sports meant to you.
Davis Love III (04:25):
Yeah. And that's what's so great about tournaments like the Boeing Classic. They're giving money to charity. Most people don't realize that every PGA Tour event, every Champions Tour event, is run by an organization that's trying to give money to charity. It's not run by the PGA Tour trying to give money to the players. I have a term in the smallest market on the PGA tour, the RSM classic that my foundation runs at Sea Island, Georgia. Last year we gave over $3 million to charity, and that doesn't sound like a whole lot, but in the smallest market on the PGA tour, that's equal to Dallas giving $15 million to charity. So it's just part of our game, part of the culture. And you know, I'll watch Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer be great players and build their own tournament. Now Tiger Woods and myself have become, you know, star players and built our own golf term is to give back to charity cause that's just what the PGA Tour is built on.
Shon Crewe (05:20):
I want to talk a little bit about the Ryder Cup. You know, it's interesting because regardless of who you talk with, it seems as though every player who's had a chance to participate in a Ryder Cup holds it as a special experience. Why do you think it means so much?
Davis Love III (05:34):
Well, it's our chance to all get-together and play together. You know, a lot of us played in college. For some of us, it was a long, long time ago. And the only time we really get to travel as a group and stay in the same hotel and, and get on the same bus put on the same uniforms as the Ryder Cup or the President's Cup and it is so special to all of us. And you know, I'm not part of the Presidents Cup this year for the first time in a long time. I'm not an assistant captain, and I'm already missing it. I'm thinking, well maybe I could just go to Australia and watch Tiger be the captain, but you want to make the teams as a player. And then for a lot of us, Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk and Tiger, we want to be around the teams, and we want to support the teams that help them win. It's really the biggest. The Ryder Cup is our Superbowl is the easiest way to say it. Something everybody strives for and wants to be a part of.
Shon Crewe (06:27)
Well, and you're among a very exclusive list of 29 individuals who've had an opportunity to both play and captain for the Ryder Cup, six times as a player twice as a captain. When you reflect on your time and involvement in both roles, what stands out to you? What are you most proud of?
Davis Love III (06:42):
Well, as a player, that's the ultimate competition, the ultimate pressure, and the ultimate place to challenge yourself. And you know, I just was at dinner with Fred Couples last night, and we were talking about Presidents Cups and Ryder Cups and matches we played, and it's just a big part of our playing career. And I think Bubba Watson summed it up best for me a couple of years ago. He said, "My biggest goals in golf are to be the Ryder Cup captain and make it to the Hall of Fame." And he puts those two as equal. And so I'm incredibly honored and humbled that I was Ryder Cup captain not only once but twice. And you know, I'm one and one which is not a great record, but the players played great in both of them, and the European team played great and both of them, we were lucky really to join one of the one of the two. But it's just a thrill to be a part of it. It's like USA basketball, you know, has become this entity that coaches and players now as a culture they want to be a part of. And that's what we built with our golf starting in 2014 has been matter if it's a Ryder Cup year or a President's Cup year, like this year, our players are into represent the United States. And it's, it's an honor to do it.
Shon Crewe (07:55):
Our very own Ryan Moore from Tacoma, Washington had the opportunity to compete on your 2016 championship team. He was your final captain's pick. Is it that much sweeter when your captain's pick helps clinch the win? I mean, is there some sort of validation that comes with that?
Davis Love III (08:10):
Yeah, I don't know if we got lucky or we were smart, but we had all these statisticians and analysts and people supporting the team, and that was the pick today they saw as the right one, and you know, to see it in that way was incredible. You know, every player puts everything they can into it, but certainly, in 2016, we had a lot of stories like that. And then Bubba Watson coming on as an assistant captain, you know, Phil Mickelson playing so incredibly well on Sunday - there's just so many, so many neat things that happened. And that obviously that Patrick Reed and Rory match, there was an incredible week and all of us will take incredible memories from it.
Shon Crewe (08:56):
We're talking with Davis Love III, who will be competing here at the Boeing Classic next week, August 19th through the 25th. Davis, I just wanted to ask you, Ryan's final putt, I know you went over and picked up his ball. You wanted to make sure that something that had happened to you previously as a player didn't happen to him.
Davis Love III (09:02):
Yeah. You know, Ryan's in that awkward situation where he knows he's the clinching point and he's got this putt and doesn't really know what to do. You know, "Do I try to make it or do I run it by, or, you know, is it really over if I make this?" So all these things are running through his head, so he puts it up there. Everybody kind of rushed the green, and that had happened to me in my first Ryder Cup in 1993. I was the clinching point. I left my ball in the hole and forgot it, and I always wished that I had that ball. So I watched him do that, and I snuck around the crowd and the tv people, and I plucked his ball off the green, and I saved it for him. And it was maybe 30 minutes later before I could get to him to actually give it to him and explain that to him.
Davis Love III (09:59):
And the great thing about the whole story is he came back later and goes, "No, I want you to have it. You lost your ball, you picked me, you know, to be the last guy - and then I got the point". So I've got one golf ball, I don't have any hole in one balls, I don't have any tournament wind balls, but I've got Ryan Morris ball on display, and it'll always mean a lot to me. And he was the guy. He was playing well the week before. He's a great match-play player, he's a guy you can send out there in singles and completely trust, and sure enough, he came through.
Jim Moore (10:33):
That's a really cool story to hear that Davis and Davis Love III is with us here on The Golf Show with Jim Moore and Shon Crewe, 710 ESPN Seattle. We're known here in Seattle on this golf show, Davis, for our hard-hitting questions. I hope you don't mind if I throw a few at you. Like if, if I were in Sea Island, Georgia and I went to the Davis Love Grill. I've got the menu in front of me. I'm trying to figure out what's your favorite thing on the menu?
Davis Love III (10:58):
Oh gosh, that's hard. Well, it'd probably be a pizza over there. Unless we're at lunch and then I'm having a salad before I play golf. But the Sunday buffet after church is really good too for the fried chicken. So they have a lot of good stuff there. Sea Island, it's a Sea Island resort restaurant and named either tell the little kids is named after my father, but there's a lot of good food at Sea Island, and we don't go lacking for sure.
Jim Moore (11:25):
And okay, here's another one for you. So you have the portion of I-95 is named the Davis Love III Highway. Is that correct?
Davis Love III (11:35):
That is. And I'm not sure which, which mile markers it is. So I don't know where to speed and where not to speed.
Jim Moore (11:41):
I was going to ask if you've ever exceeded the speed limit on your own highway.
Davis Love III (11:48):
Yes, even though I don't know exactly where it is in Brunswick, but I drive it all the time. So yes, I have. I have speeded there - but not gotten a ticket.
Shon Crewe (12:00):
You'll be playing the Boeing Classic for the first time next week. We're certainly looking forward to having you here. What are your thoughts coming in? How are you feeling?
Davis Love III (12:10):
I'm excited about it. I've heard a lot about the golf course from the guys and some of the caddies on the Champions Tour. They say it's a good course for me. Cause I haven't played there. I actually asked to play both pro-ams on Wednesday and Thursday to get used to the course. So I'm very excited about it. I've been off all summer. I had a big foot surgery and I'm anxious to get back to playing some golf, so I'm really looking forward to getting out there.
Jim Moore (12:35):
I think it's interesting that you've had a dilemma. Where you like playing both tours still and, and you probably feel like even at 55, you're competitive enough to play on the PGA tour still?
Davis Love III (12:48):
Well, I think if I can get it going on the right golf course, you know, earlier this year in Hawaii, I didn't putt great, and I still finished in the top 10 at the Sony Open and felt like my game was really coming around. And then like I said, I had a foot surgery in May. I didn't play much in late April all the way through the Dick's Sporting Goods the week before the Boeing Classic, so it's been a long time off. But I feel like I can compete out there a little bit, but I'm going to have to get my game back in shape. The last six or eight years, I've had a lot of starts and stops, you know, like Tiger. I said Tiger could play a full season. He could still win a golf tournament. And he proved that when he won the Tour Championship and then obviously came back and won the Masters.
Davis Love III (13:33):
If you don't play consistently, you know, year after year if you're starting and stopping and a lot of injuries, it's hard to get the confidence and the momentum. So hopefully, starting this late summer and fall, I can get back on it, and I'll play back and forth a little bit. I'll probably start playing more Champions than I have been in the past. I'm 55, and I've only played, you know, 14 events, so that's not very many on the Champions. So I need to get out of here with my buddies and play a little bit more.
Jim Moore (14:02):
Hey, Davis, I got to tell you, I've watched you play so many tournaments, and I was really looking forward to this interview, and I just really appreciate that you took the time because you've sure been fun to watch.
Davis Love III (14:14):
Well, thanks. I look forward to getting out there. We enjoyed the PGA Championship and the American Express that we played out there,so I'm looking forward to getting back out there and playing again.
Love makes his debut at the 2019 Boeing Classic, August 19-25, which will also mark his 15th PGA TOUR Champions start. Love's most recent win was with his son Dru Love at the 2018 PNC Father-Son Challenge.