If he can’t play his way into the Masters, he will be gearing up to play the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head.
The Champions Tour is not in the plans for now.
“I know it’s coming, but I’m not ready for it,” Love said last week as he embarked on his 29th season on the PGA Tour.
Love missed three months of the 2013 season because of neck surgery, and thus finished out of the top 100 on the money list for the first time. He has lifetime membership because of his 20 career wins.
“When I’m scratching to make cuts, when I don’t feel like I can win, that’s when I’ll go over,” Love said, referring to the Champions Tour. “Luckily I’m exempt, as long as I can shoot decent scores. I’m not going to stay over here and take up a spot. I’ll be honest with myself. You’ll be honest with me.”
What helps is his power, which is why players like Vijay Singh, Fred Couples and Kenny Perry looked as if they belonged on the PGA Tour after turning 50.
“If I was an average hitter or a short hitter, I’d be waiting for my birthday,” Love said. “But I’m still excited about playing out here.”
Love isn’t entirely ruling out the Champions Tour. He would lean toward playing the Champions Tour event at Pebble Beach. But for now, he’s staying put.
“You’ve got to pick one or the other,” he said. “You’re either going to chase FedEx Cup points and Ryder Cup points, or you’re going to chase Charles Schwab Cup points. And right now, I’m going to chase these.”
GRAND SLAM OF GOLF: In Southhampton, Bermuda, U.S. Open champion Justin Rose birdied the first hole with a blind shot he hit to a foot of the pin, and he stayed in front the rest of the way, finishing with 4-under-par 67 for a two-shot lead over Jason Dufner.
The 36-hole exhibition, which concludes today, is for the four major champions of the year. British Open champion Phil Mickelson chose not to play and was replaced at Port Royal Golf Course by three-time major champion Padraig Harrington, who had 74.
Dufner, who won the PGA Championship, opened with 69. Masters Tournament champion Adam Scott had 70.
NA’S BACK: When last seen on the PGA Tour, Kevin Na was playing the Masters against his doctor’s advice and ringing up a 10 on the par-3 12th hole at Augusta National.
He finally made his return last week in the Frys.com Open, and after opening with 75, felt better than ever. Na bounced back with a 67 to make the cut, and a 64-64 week gave him a tie for third.
“I just tore it up on the weekend — just absolutely tore it up,” he said.
Na went to South Korea for his rehabilitation. He spent more than two months going through acupuncture, chiropractic work and physical therapy, and then he returned to America to slowly start practicing again. He played one Web.com Tour event to make sure his back was good, and off he went.
His next stop is Las Vegas, where he won his only PGA Tour event two years ago.
TRIPLE DIGITS: David Duval had just reached No. 1 in the world for the first time. Tiger Woods had eight PGA Tour wins and one major to his credit. And an Irishman named Padraig Harrington was on the cusp of cracking the top 100 in the world.
Harrington reached No. 100 on April 18, 1999, and he stayed there for the last 14 years. The streak ended this week when he fell to No. 101.
He is playing the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda this week as the defending champion. No ranking points are available for the 36-hole exhibition. Does he think he can add to his total of three majors, even though he has gone five years without?
“I do, but I have to figure out a different way with playing who Padraig Harrington is now than necessarily who I was over the years,” Harrington said in Bermuda. “I’m a different person and I have a different attitude to the game at this stage, so I have to work with that. ... I have to figure out what’s the best way of getting the best game out of me now.”
DIVOTS: David Duval did not get a sponsor’s exemption to the Frys.com Open, so he went to Puerto Rico to play on the PGA Tour LatinoAmerica and tied for 37th. He is playing Las Vegas this week. ... Geoff Ogilvy missed the 54-hole cut last week in the Frys.com Open and fell out of the top 100 for the first time since August 2003. ... John Cook will be inducted into the Southern California Golf Association Hall of Fame next week outside Los Angeles.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Russell Knox, who was No. 132 in driving distance in his only other year on the PGA Tour, had the longest drive of the Frys.com Open last week at 378 yards on the 18th hole at CordeValle. The measurement did not include the number of times his ball hit the cart path.
FINAL WORD: “I’ll play somewhere with Zach Johnson, and he points out we’ll be eating dinner together until they put us in the ground. I look forward to that kind of stuff.” — Adam Scott, citing the Champions Dinner as one of the perks of winning the Masters.