POIPU – Davis Love III has played Poipu Bay twice, and each time he’s had to repeat the same exhausted statement: “We know we can beat [Tiger Woods] on any given day, but we have to play 110 percent.”
Love is not known for playing haphazard golf. In his 17 years on tour, the veteran has garnered 14 tour wins, one major win (1997 PGA Championship) and two international victories. He is currently third on the career PGA earnings list at just over $20 million.
But each time Love has played on Kaua’i, he edges closer to his first Grand Slam title, only to find Woods one spot ahead on the leaderboard.
In 1997, Love shot a 71 and 67 at windy Poipu for a total 138, which was two strokes behind Woods and five behind champion Ernie Els. Two years later, in 1999, Love fell to Woods 3 and 2, finishing just short of his first Grand Slam title. It was the second of Woods’ four consecutive titles at Poipu.
Now in his third trip to the Garden Island, Love hopes he will edge one step closer, which would mean a first ever Grand Slam title.
This will be the second time Love has been invited to Poipu as an alternate.
Woods won two majors this year, the U.S. Open and Masters, leaving a spot open for one alternate. Els won the British Open but couldn’t play the Grand Slam due to scheduling conflicts, leaving room for two alternates, and Rich Beem won the PGA Championship and will be competing Tuesday.
Justin Leonard was first on the alternate points list, which is composed of past major champions who competed in the 2002 majors, and has accepted the invitation to the Grand Slam. Retief Goosen, who was second on the list, denied the invitation due to scheduling conflicts, which allowed Love to take the final alternate position.
Love was third on the list this year with 188.5 total points. In 2002, he tied for 14th in the Masters and British Open, shared 24th in the U.S. Open and tied for 48th in the PGA Championship. His only major win came in 1997, when he won the PGA Championship.
Love was born in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1964. He graduated from the University of North Carolina before turning professional in 1985.
Along with 14 tour wins and $20 million of earnings, Love has been a member of five Ryder Cup (1993-95-97-99-2001) and four Presidents Cup (1994-96-98-2000) teams.