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Greenbrier Classic will feature father-son duo


The Register-Herald

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va.  — Making a name in professional golf can be tough.

It can be even tougher when your name is already well known.

Davis Love III, left, signs a golf ball for Mary Denny of Beckley Tuesday on the Old White TPC Course at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs.
(Photo by Rick Barbero)

However, Davis “Dru” Love IV, the son of legendary golfer Davis Love III, does not necessarily see carrying the Love name as a drawback.

“I don’t really feel much pressure. If anything I have an advantage,” Love IV explained. “I get a few opportunities that others may not get some of the time and I try not to take them for granted.

“But now at this level, the guys know what it takes to get here and just because my last name is Love, I didn’t automatically get to be good at golf. I have had to work and grind my whole life.”

Clearly the apple did not fall far from the tree for the younger Love.

In high school at Frederica Academy in St. Simons Island, Ga., he was a five-time champion, winning his first title in the eighth grade in 2008. He was a three-time MVP and finished his career with the second-lowest stroke average in school history.

He was also a good basketball player, leading his team to a state championship his senior year.

After high school he attended Alabama, where the expectations increased after a hugely successful sophomore season.

In just his fourth collegiate tournament he won medalist honors at the 2015 Puerto Rico Classic, where he finished with a career-low score of 7-under par. In 10 starts for the Crimson Tide, Love IV had five top-20 finishes, four coming in the final seven events of the season. He carded six rounds in the 60s and 15 rounds of par or better.

But even with the name Love, golf is never that easy. Injuries began to pile up, derailing what looked like a can’t-miss career.

His stellar sophomore season came after a serious ankle injury in his freshman season, where he rolled his ankle in a pickup basketball game. He tore all of the ligaments and tendons in his foot and required reconstructive surgery.

Later in 2013, a sledding accident resulted in a broken wrist.

In his first PGA Tour start he played in the 2015 RSM Classic at Sea Island, which his father hosts, and tore some cartilage in his ribs hitting a shot out of a plugged lie in the bunker.

Then in the summer of 2016, he had to have his left labrum repaired, forcing him to miss about eight months.

“After I had that surgery I got a little bit down and I was upset because I kept getting hurt when I was starting to play good,” the younger Love said. “My dad helped me out staying positive and the medical staff at the University of Alabama did a great job getting me back.”

Finally healthy, Love IV opened some eyes when he qualified for the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills last month. He missed the cut by just two shots.

Thursday, Love IV will get his third PGA Tour start in the Greenbrier Classic thanks to a sponsor’s exemption. Not only will he be competing against a highly talented field, he will also be competing for family bragging rights with his dad also in the field.

“It doesn’t matter if it is coming down the stretch Sunday or a Monday afternoon practice round, he is going to try his best to beat me,” Love IV said, laughing. “I get it from him. I am super competitive and we have had some pretty good runs at each other now that I am catching up to him.”

Love III inherited that competitive nature from his dad, Davis Love Jr.

“(Dad) never let up on us no matter what,” Love III explained. “It made us compete every time that we played. It wasn’t just go and goof off, he made us compete and keep score.”

Love III still competes hard against his son, just as his dad did against him. But every son remembers that day when he finally beat the one who taught them everything.

“It was 2013 at Frederica Golf Club, we both eagled the last hole,” Love IV said. “He looked over and asked me what that was for and I said, ‘Sixty-four, what about you?’ He said 65 and turned and walked off.”

The talent and experience is there. Now it is time Davis Love IV to make his own legacy in the game of golf. But he knows how important having a dad like Davis Love III has been.

“(Dad) does a great job of not forcing me to do things; everything is on me,” Love IV said. “He will offer me advice when I need it, but I don’t feel any pressure from him.”

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