ST. SIMONS – Davis Love III knows a little about the weird science of golf team-building. He just captained a winning U.S. Ryder Cup team, which given America’s record lately in the us-versus-Europe match pretty much makes him by default the Bill Belichick of his sport.
Only difference is that Love will answer a question in more than three words. And cheating is an anathema to him.
Anyway, so proud is the captain of his little island home here on Georgia’s coast – and proud of the fellow pros who have moved in here behind him – that Love is almost spoiling for another battle. Right now. How about St. Simons/Sea Island vs. The World?
“We’ll take on anybody, our little area,” he said during a little sit-down for a story to appear in Sunday’s AJC and on ajc.com. “We literally could have a 12-man team from here that would be competitive in the Ryder Cup.”
“But the captain might have to play,” he said, grinning. Others on Team Golden Isles besides Love would includ Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Harris English and Hudson Swafford. They’d fill in from there with some of the youngsters moving over.
The captain will be playing this week because he’s also the host of the RSM Classic here, one of the quaintest of your PGA Tour events.
Love is 52 and transitioning into that phase of golfing life where some of the best things that happen to him now occur without a club in his hand. Like captaining that winning Ryder Cup congregation. And being named to the World Golf Hall of Fame (to be inducted next year).
But – update, update – the winner of 21 PGA Tour events still fancies himself a player.
“The real goal is to give it one more good shot next year and maybe reassess after that,” he said. That means playing a full schedule this season if the body allows, with only a very few detours onto the 50-and-over Champions Tour.
The third-oldest man to win on the PGA Tour – at the Wyndham in 2014 at the age of 51 – Love would now be chasing down the two ahead of him (Art Wall and Sam Snead, the oldest winner at 52 years 10 months).
The body is not cooperating. He’s coming off another surgery – this one on an ailing hip – and said he likely wouldn’t be playing this week if the tournament weren’t so important to him. “I’m on the bubble. (The doctors) are not saying don’t play, they’re just saying take it easy,” Love said. Maybe you don’t want to count on him in your fall swing golf fantasy league.
“If I was 100 percent physically – OK, I’ve never been 100 percent, let’s say 70 or 80 percent – if I could get healthy, I could stay competitive,” he said, with a small measure of conviction.
And if he doesn’t, there is little room for complaint. Love’s already enjoyed one of the best years of his life. And this week, once more, he gets to show off his little corner of the world, raise some money for his foundation and take the short drive to his little spread that – in case you’re interested – is on the market for a bit more than $5 million. He’s ready to downsize. But he’ll stay on his island, of course.