Golf: Perseverance pays off as Love follows in his father's footsteps

Andy Farrell on the USPGA champion who is finally enjoying `the trip'
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The Independent Online
Davis Love III's father always told his son "to follow his dreams and enjoy the trip". Davis Jnr was a teaching professional whose best finish in the USPGA Championship was a tie for 55th in 1967.

A third 66 of the week on Sunday gave Love a five-stroke victory over the Open champion, Justin Leonard. "What a thrill for the son of a PGA member to win the PGA Championship," Love said. "This was the best I've ever felt for four days with the pressure on."

After starting the final round level with Leonard, the 33-year-old American quickly opened a gap which was never narrowed to fewer than three strokes. A birdie at the last gave Love his first major championship as a rainbow emerged overhead.

Love's father, his only coach as he learned the game and embarked on a career on tour, died on a small-plane crash in Florida in 1988. "Every day I play golf I think about my dad," he said. "I know he will be extremely proud that I not only won a major, but the PGA.

"After my father passed away it was not a lot of fun for a couple of years. He had a lot of friends on tour and the conversations always led to my dad. Golf became more of a job, something that was not as much fun for a while.

"But if I was going to dedicate a victory to anyone, it would be my mum. She drove me to tournaments as a kid and took me to the country club. She tried to fill my father's shoes in terms of spurring me on, and I didn't always want to know. But the way she coped after my father died was a great inspiration."

Love, whose brother Mark has caddied for him for eight years, was second at the 1995 Masters and '96 US Open.

"I have always thought it was nice that people thought I should be in a category of players who should win a major," he said. "It is even nicer to get out of it. There are some great players who should have won one ahead of me."

US PGA (Winged Foot, Mamaroneck, NY) Leading final scores (US unless stated): 269 D Love 66 71 66 66. 274 J Leonard 68 70 65 71. 276 J Maggert 69 69 73 65. 279 L Jansen 69 67 74 69. 280 T Kite 68 71 71 70. 281 J Furyk 69 72 72 68; P Blackmar 70 68 74 69; S Hoch 71 72 68 70. 282 T Byrum 69 73 70 70. 283 J Sindelar 72 71 71 69; T Lehman 69 72 72 70; S McCarron 74 71 67 71. 284 T Tolles 75 70 73 66; M O'Meara 69 73 75 67; V Singh (Fiji) 73 66 76 69; K Triplett 73 70 71 70; G Norman (Aus) 68 71 74 71; N Price (Zimb) 72 70 72 70; B Tway 68 75 72 69; T Herron 72 73 68 71; C Montgomerie (GB) 74 71 67 72; D Duval 70 70 71 73. 285 D Martin 69 75 74 67; M Calcavecchia 71 74 73 67; J Cook 71 71 74 69; B Langer (Ger) 73 71 72 69; K Perry 73 68 73 71; S Maruyama (Japan) 68 70 74 73. 286 J Daly 66 73 77 70; R Black 76 69 71 70; D Pooley 72 74 70 70; H Irwin 73 70 71 72; L Westwood (GB) 74 68 71 73; P Goydos 70 72 71 73; P Azinger 68 73 71 74; P Stewart 70 70 72 74; F Nobilo (NZ) 72 73 67 74; F Couples 71 67 73 75; T Woods 70 70 71 75; P Mickelson 69 69 73 75. 287 S Jones 69 73 75 70; D Ogrin 74 72 71 70; I Garrido (Sp) 70 71 75 71; E Romero (Arg) 71 72 72 72. 288 T Bjorn (Den) 72 68 77 71; J Parnevik (Swe) 76 70 71 71; S Torrance (GB) 74 72 70 72; S Elkington (Aus) 72 72 70 74. 289 L Roberts 76 70 74 69; R Allenby (Aus) 67 77 74 71; B Henninger 74 68 75 72; C Perry 68 71 73 77 290; E Els (SA) 70 76 74 70; B Mayfair 75 68 75 72; C Stadler 72 72 74 72; O Browne 70 73 74 73; T Smith 71 71 74 74. 291 L Wadkins 72 72 77 70; S Lowery 72 69 79 71; L Mize 71 73 73 74. 292 F Funk 71 74 77 70; R Cochran 72 73 72 75; L Rinker 70 71 75 76; R Goosen (SA) 72 70 74 76; S Appleby (Aus) 75 70 69 78; J Haas 71 69 73 79.

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