AKRON, Ohio – U.S. Ryder Cup Captain, author, golf course architect and 21-time PGA Tour winner Davis Love III has been named the 2016 Ambassador of Golf by Northern Ohio Golf Charities. The Ambassador of Golf Award is presented annually to a person who has fostered the ideals of the game on an international level and whose concern for others extends beyond the golf course.
Love will be honored on the first tee at Firestone Country Club on Wednesday, June 29 at 5:30 p.m., an event open to all Wednesday WGC-Bridgestone Invitational ticket holders. Fans will hear remarks from Love and PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem.
"Davis Love III has idealized the virtues of golf not only through his outstanding playing career, but through a high-level of passion that extends into all facets of the game," said Finchem. "He is one of the most respected players on the PGA Tour, still capturing titles in his 50's and his commitment to the growth of the game extends well beyond his years. We're honored to have him as our Ambassador of Golf."
"I'm thrilled to be named this year's Ambassador of Golf, and am humbled to be able to add my name to the list with all of golf's greatest icons who have also received this honor," said Love. "It brings special meaning as I look forward to also playing in the Bridgestone Invitational this year."
Love was destined to achieve golf greatness since the day he was born, which happened to be the day after the final round of the 1964 Masters Tournament. His father, Davis Love Jr., was a former professional and nationally recognized PGA golf instructor whose name still lives in the national teaching professionals hall of fame. He instilled in his son a love of golf and respect for the game and its traditions, which inspired Love's path in life and which Love has, in turn, passed on to those who follow.
Love's junior career was impressive enough to earn him a scholarship to the University of North Carolina. There, he was a three-time all-American, an all-Atlantic Coast Conference champion, he won six titles and earned a spot on the 1985 Walker Cup Team. That same year, he turned pro at age 20.
Love won his first PGA Tour victory in 1987 at the MCI Heritage, a tournament he went on to win five times, a record that still stands for the most victories at the tournament. The early part of Love's career was stricken with tragedy, however, after he lost his father in a plane crash in 1988. Love prevailed as a consistent competitor and winner on the PGA Tour in the 1990s and early 2000s, but his most memorable win was his major championship victory at the PGA Championship in 1997. His victory at Winged Foot came under the arc of a rainbow, which was said to be symbolic of Love's late father.
That same year, Love published the book, "Every Shot I Take," a memoir that honors his father's teachings on golf and life. It won the 1997 USGA International Book Award.
Although Love has suffered back and neck problems later in his career, he won his 20th PGA Tour title at the 2008 Children's Miracle Network Classic, which gave him a lifetime exemption on Tour. His 21st win at the 2015 Wyndham Championship – at age 51 – made him the third-oldest winner in PGA Tour history, trailing only Sam Snead and Art Wall Jr. Also with his Wyndham win, Love became only the third player to win on the Tour in four different decades, joining Sam Snead and Raymond Floyd.
Beyond his competitive career, Love founded Love Golf Design, a golf course architectural firm, with his younger brother and caddie, Mark Love. The design group has been responsible for several courses throughout the United States and in Mexico – most notably the Dunes Course at Diamante in Cabo San Lucas, which is ranked among Golf Magazine's Top 100 courses in the world.
He is also the tournament host of the PGA Tour's RSM Classic in St. Simons Island, Ga., where Love currently calls home along with his son, Dru, daughter Alexia and wife Robin. This year, Dru, a member of the University of Alabama golf team, joined his father in the same group for The RSM Classic's first two rounds, a privilege that Dru earned after making it through the qualifier event and earning the only available open spot to compete.
Love joins an illustrious list of Ambassador of Golf Award winners: 1981 Chi Chi Rodriguez; 1982 Bing Crosby; 1983 Byron Nelson; 1984 Gene Sarazen; 1985 President Gerald Ford; 1986 Bob Hope; 1987 Dinah Shore; 1988 Joe Dey; 1989 Frank Chirkinian; 1990 Barbara Nicklaus; 1991 Arnold Palmer; 1992 Nancy Lopez; 1993 Roberto De Vicenzo; 1994 President George H.W. Bush; 1995 Michael Bonnallack; 1996 Deane Beman; 1997 Peter Thomson; 1998 Ken Venturi; 1999 Gary Player; 2000 Ben Hogan and Sam Snead; 2001 Del de Windt; 2002 Joanne Carner; 2003 Robert Dedman, Sr. and Jack Vickers; 2004 Lee Trevino; 2005 Pete Dye; 2006 Ken Schofield; 2007 Tony Jacklin; 2008 Charlie Sifford; 2009 Hale Irwin; 2010 Tom Watson; 2011 Nick Price; 2012 Nick Faldo; 2013 Jack Nicklaus; 2014 Johnny Miller; and 2015 Judy Rankin.
Tickets to the Bridgestone Invitational will be available in April 2016 on the tournament's website, www.worldgolfchampionships.com
or by calling 330-644-2299. Currently, the Bridgestone Invitational has limited space available for the Ambassador of Golf at Firestone Country Club. The dinner features an inside look at the career and legacy of Davis Love III with a special question and answer presentation that raises funds for Northern Ohio Golf Charities. A limited amount of dinner tickets are available for $400 each.
About the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational
The Bridgestone Invitational is one of four World Golf Championships, which consistently attracts the world's top golfers from the Asian Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour to Akron, Ohio. The other World Golf Championships include the Dell Match Play, Cadillac Championship and the HSBC Champions.
The Bridgestone Invitational annually donates approximately $1 million to charities throughout Northeast Ohio. Over the years, professional golf at Firestone Country Club has donated more than $25 million to worthy causes in the region. The event's signature charities are Akron Children’s Hospital and University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. Other beneficiaries include the LeBron James Family Foundation and The First Tee Chapters of Akron, Cleveland and Canton. Since the inception of the World Golf Championships in 1999, the series has raised over $50 million for deserving charities.