SAN MARTIN, Calif. – In a perfect world, Davis Love III will celebrate his 50th birthday next year at Augusta National. If he can't play his way into the Masters, he will be gearing up to play the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head.
The Champions Tour is not in the plans for now.
"I know it's coming, but I'm not ready for it," Love said last week as he embarked on his 29th season on the PGA Tour.
Love missed three months of the 2013 season because of neck surgery, and thus finished out of the top 100 on the money list for the first time. He has lifetime membership because of his 20 career wins.
"When I'm scratching to make cuts, when I don't feel like I can win, that's when I'll go over," Love said, referring to the Champions Tour. "Luckily I'm exempt, as long as I can shoot decent scores. I'm not going to stay over here and take up a spot. I'll be honest with myself. You'll be honest with me."
What helps is his power, which is why players like Vijay Singh, Fred Couples and Kenny Perry looked as if they belonged on the PGA Tour after turning 50.
"If I was an average hitter or a short hitter, I'd be waiting for my birthday," Love said. "But I'm still excited about playing out here."
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His goals for the year start with getting in all the big tournaments that once were not an issue. He hasn't played a World Golf Championship since 2009. He hasn’t played all four majors in one year since 2011. And he has never missed The Players Championship.
"Jordan Spieth did it. He worked his way in them real quick," he said, smiling at his audacious comparison with a kid only four months older than his son. "But that's what I have to do. If I get hot before the end of January, I might be in the Match Play. If not, the next WGC and then the Masters."
What really gnaws at him is he has never missed The Players Championship dating to his rookie year in 1986.
Love isn't entirely ruling out the Champions Tour. He would lean toward playing the Champions Tour event at Pebble Beach. But for now, he's staying put.
"You've got to pick one or the other," he said. "You're either going to chase FedExCup points and Ryder Cup points, or you're going to chase Charles Schwab Cup points. And right now, I'm going to chase these."
Then he paused to smile before adding, "We can reevaluate on April 12."
He turns 50 on April 13.