Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III back as a player this week at the RSM Classic

By Doug Ferguson
Published on
Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III back as a player this week at the RSM Classic

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III was so fired up watching the Americans play and win at Hazeltine that he couldn't wait to get out of his cart and get back to playing. He said one of his assistant captains, Tiger Woods, felt the same way.

Both had to wait a while.

Love and Woods were scheduled to play the PGA Tour's season-opening event at the Safeway Open, and both withdrew. One got more attention than the other.

Woods still hasn't played since August 2015. He is due to return in two weeks at his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. Love waited only a few weeks before he returned at Las Vegas and tied for 41st, not a bad effort for a 52-year-old who had hip surgery in June.

RELATED: RSM Classic leaderboard

And then he pulled out of Mexico to make sure he was rested for the RSM Classic at Sea Island, where he is tournament host of the final event of the year.

"Tiger and I had the same thing happen to us," Love said. "We had some momentum, and then we got so wrapped up a couple weeks in the Ryder Cup, and then we got hit by a hurricane that we didn't really get the practice schedule we were quite planning the week after the Ryder Cup.

"I'm getting better every week, so hopefully by January, I'll be 100 percent."

As for Woods?

That's still to be determined.

2016 FINALE: The RSM Classic sure feels like the end. There won't be another PGA Tour event until the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua the first week of January, giving players six weeks off if they want it.

On the other hand, this is only the sixth week of the new season. A tour official mentioned to defending champion Kevin Kisner that at this time a year ago, he was leading the FedEx Cup after the fall portion of the season and asked what was different.

"I'm not leading," Kisner said. "I've only played twice. Didn't play well either place, really."

THE BUSY BODIES: Peter Malnati and Spencer Levin have earned a dubious distinction in the fall portion of the tour schedule.

Neither of them has missed a tournament.

Scott Piercy was part of that group, too, but he decided to take this week off. The difference is that Piercy has converted the full schedule into a great start to his season. He already has three top 10s and is No. 7 in the FedEx Cup.

Malnati and Levin have missed two cuts and have yet to crack the top 30.

THE FIELD: Matt Kuchar is the highest-ranked player at Sea Island at No. 20 in the world, and it helps that he lives here. The only PGA Tour winner in this new season at the RSM Classic is Cody Gribble, who won in Mississippi opposite the World Golf Championship in China.

Love is a big attraction, not only for his deep roots at Sea Island but as the tournament host who recently was selected for the Hall of Fame. Two other Hall-of-Famers are in the field, Vijay Singh and Ernie Els.

LAST CHANCE: Although the season is still young, this is the last chance for players to qualify for the winners-only Tournament of Champions that starts the new year at Kapalua on Maui.

No one feels like he's due more than Kevin Chappell. But if he wins, he won't be going to paradise.

"Can I ask for a rain check?" Chappell said.

His wife, Elizabeth, is expecting their second child in January. Chappell plans to stay home for the month of January. Even so, he would love to get that first PGA Tour victory after a season in which he finished runner-up three times — twice to Jason Day, once to Rory McIlroy.

THE COURSES: Love received the tour's permission last year to use two courses at Sea Island Golf Club — Seaside all four rounds, and Plantation the opening two rounds. That allows for a 156-man field, the largest of the fall. Two courses are required because it gets dark early this time of the year.

This article was written by Doug Ferguson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.