ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. –– Davis Love III was in the learning center at Sea Island Golf Club over the weekend when he looked out the door at four players hitting balls, including PGA Tour rookie Kevin Tway.
It brought back memories of Love’s early days on tour. And he has every reason to suddenly feel older than 49.
Love and Bob Tway were contemporaries, and both PGA Championship winners. Love could recall a time some two decades ago when their wives would drop the children off at day care during a PGA Tour event. Now, one of those kids is part of the field at the McGladrey Classic.
“It’s just incredible that I’m playing in a tournament with Kevin Tway,” Love said. “Now I see how Jay Haas felt when his kids were coming along ... and then Billy Haas won on the tour. It’s pretty neat to see that progression and to last that one. I was complaining one time, ‘I can’t believe all these kids I knew are growing up and they’re coming out on tour.’ And they said, ‘At least you’re still playing with them.’ It’s fun to be out there and see it all happen.”
The PGA Tour returns to America this week after two weeks in Asia, and Sea Island feels like a happy meeting of young and old.
David Toms can relate to Love. He remembers going duck hunting in Louisiana with a 6-year-old Casey Wittenberg.
“I’m playing in Memphis and Harris English is about to win the tournament,” Toms said. “The first time I played that tournament, he wasn’t even born.
“It inspires you to see the young guys, but it also makes you aware that, ‘Hey, if I’m going to compete, I’ve got to follow them to the gym and I’ve got to keep working hard on my game’ because there’s a lot of guys that are ready to take your spot.”
With the new wraparound season, the McGladrey Classic is now the second-to-last tournament of 2013 before a short winter’s break until the tour resumes in Hawaii. Three players made the trip from Shanghai (HSBC Champions) to Sea Island – Boo Weekley, Scott Piercy and Brian Gay.
Being the week after the two-week Asia swing was sure to hurt the field, though the McGladrey Classic still landed Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson, who both live in the Golden Isles. Sea Island is quickly becoming a haven for PGA Tour players, not with numbers found at Lake Nona or West Palm Beach, but growing.
Jonathan Byrd was among the first to join Love at Sea Island. The list includes Kuchar, Johnson, and Lucas Glover. Johnson doesn’t need a courtesy car this week. He can ride a bike to the course in under three minutes.
“It’s a nice group,” Love said. “They tend to call me ‘Uncle Davis’ when they need something. Other than that, it’s a great group and they’re a great influence on me. We’ve got great guys around to play golf with, to challenge, to push you. I think it’s just going to continue.”