Some would say Davis Love III was destined to be a golfer. His father was a highly-regarded instructor who held a share of the first-round lead at the 1964 Masters Tournament -- four days before his oldest son was born in Charlotte, N.C., on April 13, 1964. His mother played to a single digit handicap that left friends wondering why she didn’t turn pro, too.
By the time he was a teenager, Love knew he wanted to play on the PGA TOUR. He earned a scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he was a three-time All-American and won the 1984 Atlantic Coast Conference title. He turned pro in 1985 after playing in the Walker Cup and proceeded to earn his TOUR card for the 1986 season.
Love’s career has spanned more than three decades and saw him spend 450 weeks inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking, with a high mark of No. 2. He picked up his first TOUR win at the 1987 MCI Heritage Golf Classic, a tournament he went on to capture four more times. Love’s most recent victory came at the Wyndham Championship in 2015 when he was 51 years old, making him the third oldest winner in PGA TOUR history and a three-time champ of the event. He first won the tournament in 1992 at the age of 28.
In all, Love has won 21 times on TOUR, including two prestigious PLAYERS Championships, and ranks sixth in career money. His signature victory has to be the 1997 PGA Championship at Winged Foot where he beat Justin Leonard by five strokes. Love birdied the 72nd hole under the arc of a rainbow which many saw as a sign that his father, who was killed in a 1988 plane crash, was with him that day.
Along the way, Love has earned the respect of his peers, and that high regard played a large part in his selection as captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team not once, but twice in 2012 and 2016. He represented the United States in six Ryder Cups and six Presidents Cups, too.
Love started the Davis Love Foundation in 2005 to help at-risk children and families. In 2010, the Foundation partnered with the PGA TOUR to host the RSM Classic, which has raised more than $9 million in the intervening years. Love’s commitment to helping others is more than lip service – he has been an active part of hurricane recovery efforts in southeast Georgia, too, helping to clear debris and cooking for first responders.
Among Love’s many honors, he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2017. He also won the 2008 Payne Stewart Award, given annually to a player who embodies the values of character, charity and sportsmanship. Love received the 2019 Charlie Bartlett Award given by the Golf Writers Association of America for contributions to the betterment of society.
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