Not Everything Has Been Lovely for Love

By TIM DAHLBERG
The Associated Press
Friday, August 18, 2006; 7:15 PM

MEDINAH, Ill. -- Davis Love III has always felt like he has more at stake in golf than most of his fellow competitors. They merely play the game. He protects it. When a fan yells instead of politely clapping, Love is there to make sure he's removed. If a photographer clicks a shutter at the wrong moment, he's on top of it.

And don't let a writer ask a question that might impugn the integrity of the game, as one tried to do Friday when he dared ask Love what he thought about Greg Norman calling for players to be tested for drugs.

"I don't want to answer anything Greg says," Love said, walking off in a huff.

No wonder Love is having so much trouble making the Ryder Cup team.

He's too busy making sure everyone behaves _ and believes _ the way he wants them to.

"I think I stand up for the things that Tom Kite or Ben Crenshaw or Byron Nelson stand up for, and sometimes that gets you in trouble," Love said. "I stand up for the things that my mom taught me and what I learned since I was a little kid in Sunday school, and sometimes people don't like that these days."

Sometimes they don't.

A lot of them didn't care much for Love threatening not to play anymore in the final of the Match Play Championship against Tiger Woods two years ago until a man who yelled "No Love" was removed from the course.

And fans might have liked to see Love celebrate the putt that clinched the Presidents Cup in 2000 instead of going after a photographer who apparently clicked his shutter at the wrong time.

Apparently everyone was on their best behavior Friday at the PGA Championship because Love managed to shoot a 69 to stay near the top of the leaderboard in the only major championship he has ever won.

Or maybe the rowdier ones were simply out following Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson around Medinah Country Club.

Either way, Love was so free of outside worries that he managed to do something he's rarely done recently _ get himself in contention for a weekend that matters as much to him as making sure everyone takes off their hat to shake hands after a round.


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