FAR HILLS, N.J. -- Davis Love III has been named as the recipient of the 2013 Bob Jones Award, the U.S. Golf Association announced Wednesday.
Presented annually since 1955, the Bob Jones Award is the USGA’s highest honor and recognizes an individual who demonstrates the spirit, personal character and respect for the game exhibited by Jones, winner of nine USGA championships.
“Throughout his impressive career, Davis has distinguished himself with his sense of fair play, integrity and reverence for the game’s traditions,” said USGA President Glen D. Nager. “His passion for the game, as well as the values and principles that guide his everyday life, are emblematic of the characteristics that the Bob Jones Award seeks to identify. Golf and all those who play it are inspired by Davis' example.”
Love, 48, will receive the Bob Jones Award during the USGA’s Annual Meeting, to be held in San Diego on Feb. 2, 2013.
The winner of 20 PGA Tour events, Love is one of the greatest players of his generation. In addition to capturing the 1997 PGA Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club, Love is a two-time winner of The Players Championship, in 1992 and 2003.
“Davis epitomizes everything that Bob Jones stood for with his character, integrity, displays of sportsmanship and his spirit of giving back,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. “He truly understands what it means to be a role model and has been a great ambassador for the PGA Tour and the sport of golf, both on and off the field of competition. He is a worthy addition to the list of distinguished winners of the USGA’s Bob Jones Award.”
In 1997, Love earned the USGA International Book Award for “Every Shot I Take,” a tribute to his father, the late PGA Professional Davis Love Jr. In addition to being a highly esteemed instructor who imparted lessons to his son on golf and life, the elder Love played in seven U.S. Opens and was a two-time invitee to the Masters, founded by Jones.
Davis Love III won the 1997 PGA Championship at Winged Foot and finished second in the 1995 and 1999 Masters, as well as in the 1996 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills. His poise, dignity and graciousness in those disappointing outcomes – in addition to the humility, respect and sportsmanship he displayed in his numerous triumphs – were strong factors in his selection for the award.
So were his outreach efforts to both his local community and to the golf world. He established the Davis Love Foundation in 2005 to assist national and community-based programs that work to build a better future for at-risk children. Based in St. Simons Island, Ga., the foundation is the host organization of the PGA Tour’s McGladrey Classic, which benefits the Special Olympics and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Georgia, two of the USGA’s allied organizations.
In 2008, Love received the PGA Tour’s Payne Stewart Award, which is awarded to a player who shares the conduct, respect and philanthropy that were displayed by the 1991 and 1999 U.S. Open champion who died in a plane accident in 1999.
“From the time I was first introduced to Davis by his dad, Davis Love Jr., I was impressed,” said Tom Kite, the 1992 U.S. Open champion and the 1979 recipient of the Bob Jones Award. “At first it was those booming drives that caught my attention. After I played a few rounds and tournaments with him, I became more in awe of his overall game. Davis had it all, from prodigious drives to a deft putting touch, and there were no limits to the success he was going to have. As he nears his 30th year on the PGA Tour, few have been able to accomplish nearly as much.
“But as much as I have been impressed with his wonderful golf swing and his tournament record, I treasure our friendship so much more. Davis has conducted himself with such style and grace that everyone in the game respects and admires him. And Davis respects and admires those who make our game so rich. The big thing Davis has in common with Bob Jones is that as much as he loves golf, he loves the people in golf more. There can be no more deserving recipient of the Bob Jones Award than my friend, Davis Love III.”
For years, Love has displayed leadership in what is usually an individual game, culminating in his captaincy of the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup team. Love has represented his country as a player in six Ryder Cups, six Presidents Cups and in the 1985 Walker Cup at Pine Valley, where he helped lead the USA Team to a narrow 13-11 victory over Great Britain and Ireland by winning two matches on the final day.
A longtime resident of Sea Island, Ga., Love is a fixture in the local community, along with his wife, Robin, daughter, Alexia, and son, Davis IV, as well as his brother, Mark, the tournament director of The McGladrey Classic.