Champions Corner

The lesson from Davis Love III's dad that turned him into a golfing champion

Pro golfer Davis Love's lessons for success
Pro golfer Davis Love's lessons for success

Davis Love III has lived his career under the microscope.

Not only is he a PGA Championship-winning golf player with a string of accolades to his name, he's also the son of the late golf superstar, Davis Love Jr.

That famous parentage meant that growing up, expectations were high.

"My dad being a famous teacher and a well-known professional, knowing all the professionals, it did put a little extra pressure on me," Love III told CNBC Make It.

American golfer Davis Love III birdies the 18th hole during the WGC-World Cup golf tournament la Moreleja golf course, Madrid, 1992.
David Cannon | David Cannon Collection | Getty Images

But, it also instilled in him an important lesson that shaped his career.

From being introduced to the sport as a child, to turning pro in his early twenties, his father insisted on one thing.

"He made it fun," the World Golf Hall of Famer said of his dad. "He wanted it to be hard work and challenging, but he also made it fun and I think that's the reason I keep playing at 54 years old."

Davis Love III tees off the 12th hole during round two of The Greenbrier Classic held at the Old White TPC on July 7, 2017 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

Decades on, Love III has tried to impart that same guidance to others, from the Ryder Cup players he coaches to his own son, Davis 'Dru' Love IV.

"They have to put in the time, they have to put in the hard work, but they also have to be patient and have a positive attitude," said Love III, who won the 1997 PGA Championship.

For Dru's part, having strong mentorship has been useful in shaping his growing golf career, and he recommended others find someone they look up to and whose success they can try to replicate.

"I have my own dreams but they're very similar to both of theirs and it's great to have two people to look at and have a great idea of what you want to do and how to get there," said 25-year-old Dru.

Davis and Dru Love compete in the final round of the MBNA Father/Son Challenge at ChampionsGate golf course, ChampionsGate, FL Sunday, December 4, 2005
Chris Condon | US PGA TOUR | Getty Images

Love Jr. passed away in a plane crash in 1988, but Love III and Dru have continued the family's father-son golfing legacy — both as team mates and as opponents.

In December 2018, they won the annual Father/Son Challenge in Orlando, Florida and, last month, they both competed for the winning title at the Singapore Open.

The pair insisted they don't let the game get in between them, but they admitted there are some "bragging rights" afterwards when one of them wins.

"Golf is an individual game," said Love III. "We might have a side bet, or we might have some family back and forth, but ultimately we're both in the tournament to win ... to beat everybody in the field, including your son or your dad."

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