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Love keeps working to build case for Hall

The SportsXchange

Davis Love III is making his case for the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Not out loud of course, because that isn't his way, but he continues to build on a resume that should see him enshrined at St. Augustine, Fla., in the next few years.

Although it's been something of a delayed reaction, he probably sealed the deal when he claimed the Children's Miracle Network Classic at Walt Disney World in 2008 for his 20th PGA Tour victory.

"That's like a 300-game winner in baseball," his pal Brad Faxon said at the time. "Fewer and fewer guys are going to reach that number. It's going to be harder and harder to do."

Love is back on the Magnolia and Palm courses at Disney this week for the 20th time in his career, a place he loves, and not only because of Space Mountain and Soarin'.

At one point, he posted 15 consecutive rounds in the 60s on the Palm and Magnolia, capped by his victory by one stroke over Tommy Gainey four years ago, when he shot 64-64 on the weekend.

"I've always enjoyed these courses," said Love, who is coming off a tie for fourth in the McGladrey Classic, a tournament he hosts at his home course in Sea Island, Ga. "I love Bermuda greens. I putt these greens very well most of the time. ...

"I'm just very comfortable here, and the people have always been great to all the pros, but they've been very gracious to me here, and I've always enjoyed playing here."

The 48-year-old Love, who ranks 98th on the money list with $973,707 this season, is trying to finish in the top 125 for an incredible 27th consecutive season.

That and being captain of the United States team for the Ryder Cup last month have only added to his credentials for the Hall of Fame. There are some people who believe his addition is overdue.

In this year's voting on the PGA Tour ballot, 52-year-old Fred Couples led by being selected on 51 percent of the ballots, while Love tied for second with 81-year-old Ken Venturi at 38 percent.

Couples and Venturi, who later was selected for induction in the Lifetime Achievement Category, will be inducted on Players Championship week next spring, while Love will continue to wait.

All three claimed one major title, Love's coming in the 1997 PGA Championship at Winged Foot, but DL3 has five more PGA Tour victories than Couples and six more than Venturi.

Love also won the Players Championship, considered the fifth major, in 1992 and 2003, but he didn't complain when the announcements were made.

"He's a fan and media favorite," Davis said graciously of Couples, a close friend. "He made it look so easy, but he always tried. I know he will be thrilled, and it is much deserved."

So Love toils on, playing in all four events during the final season of the Fall Series as we know it.

That's in part to get over the disappointment of his U.S. team squandering a four-point lead during Sunday singles in the Ryder Cup and losing to the Europeans, 14 1/2-13 1/2, at Medinah Country Club near Chicago.

"It's good to get back to playing," Love said at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open a few days after leaving Medinah. "It distracts me for four, five hours a day from thinking about (the Ryder Cup).

"I'm still not sleeping well. I still think about things. We didn't win, so I accept that. ... I don't think it'll ever go away."

Love isn't going anywhere either, playing over the next two months in the Wendy's Three-Tour Challenge, the Shark Shootout and the PNC Father/Son Challenge alongside his 18-year-old son, Dru, a freshman at the University of Alabama.

And, like 49-year-old Vijay Singh, he's looking forward to playing a full season on the PGA Tour next year and for a few more to come, instead of heading for greener pastures on the Champions Tour.

"I should have no distractions, so I'm excited about next season," Love said. "Vijay and I played three days (recently) and talked about we're not going on the Champions Tour. We want to beat these guys.

"We're competitive. It's a sense of pride. I've never won a FedEx Cup. I'd like to get back (near) the top in the world rankings. I'm still motivated."

And working on that Hall pass.

COMING UP

PGA TOUR: Children's Miracle Network Classic on the Magnolia and Palm courses at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista., Fla., Thursday through Sunday.

TV: Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., on the Golf Channel each day.

Last year: Challenged verbally and dollar-wise by Webb Simpson, Luke Donald temporarily put off his drive for the Race to Dubai title on the European Tour and came to Disney to wrap up the PGA Tour money title with a two-stroke victory over Justin Leonard. Donald, who later would become the first player to claim the money titles on both major tours in the same season, closed with an 8-under-par 64 at Disney that included six consecutive birdies to start the back nine. Simpson, who tied for sixth at Disney, wound up second on the U.S. money list. Donald is unable to defend his title this week because one of his children is undergoing a scheduled medical procedure.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Season concluded. The 2013 schedule will begin Jan. 18-20 with the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai in Ka'upulehu, Kona, Hawaii.

LPGA TOUR: Lorena Ochoa Invitational at Guadalajara Country Club in Guadalajara, Mexico, Thursday through Sunday.

TV: No live television in the United States.

LAST YEAR: Catriona Matthew of Scotland claimed her fourth LPGA Tour title by shooting 1-under-par 71 in the final round to beat defending champion I.K. Kim of South Korea and Anna Nodrqvist of Sweden by four strokes. The then-42-year-old Matthew, whose previous LPGA title came in the 2009 Women's British Open, built a three-stroke lead entering the final round by posting three scores of 3-under-par 69 or better, and she never was challenged on Sunday. It was her second title of the year, as she also captured the Ladies Scottish Open, an event on the Ladies' European Tour, in August.
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