MAMARONECK – Each time Mark Love comes back to Winged Foot, the sights and sounds of an emotional win at the end of a rainbow nearly 20 years ago are part of the experience.
There’s no hiding from history.
He was on the bag at Winged Foot in 1997 when his older brother, Davis Love III, captured the PGA Championship. He came back this week with the next generation, Dru Love, to play in the Anderson Memorial Four-Ball Invitational.
They opened Thursday with a 5-over 75 on the East Course.
A conversation with Harlan Batrus, a Winged Foot member who’s hosted Mark in the past, resulted in a suggestion to invite, Dru, a fifth-year senior at the University of Alabama.
There are some 30 years and 40 yards separating uncle and nephew.
“It never dawned on before,” Mark said. “I thought it was a fantastic idea, so I immediately asked Dru if he would come join me.”
The answer was yes.
Dru, whose given name is Davis Love IV, has been to Winged Foot before. He’s never played here, though.
“It’s beautiful,” he said. “It’s everything I’ve heard and more. It’s very difficult. The caddie said the wind blows like this once or twice a year so it was cool to see it in a very difficult setting. We got to see it with some teeth so it’s been fun, and we’ll play the West tomorrow.”
Was there any fatherly advice before the round?
“No,” Dru said. “He just told me to keep it in the fairway, that’s about it.”
“He said don’t leave Uncle Mark on his own,” Mark said.
“Which I did about nine times,” Dru said. “He just told me it was going to be a lot of fun and that Mark would show me around so it’s been great. We’ve had some fun. I’m looking forward to getting on the West Course under tournament conditions. I think it’ll be fun to live that.”
And relive some of the past with members who circled the 18th green some 20 years ago and saw Davis make a 15-footer beneath the rainbow to punctuate the popular win.
“I have a lot of memories,” said Mark, who is the executive director of the RSM Classic, a PGA Tour event at Sea Island Golf Club in Georgia. “It was a long, hard week, a lot of hard work with the weather. I remember how spectacularly Davis was playing at the time. It’s hard to forget that part of it. That was some of the best golf I ever saw anybody play, so it always makes it special for me to come back here. There are so many people, members and friends who remember the PGA Championship and associate us with that. It’s good. It’s like you are a little part of golf history. To be able to come back and play the Anderson with all these guys who lived and breathed it for all these years, it’s just really special.”
A relentless wind kept all of the players guessing.
Mark and Dru play different games, but they both have plenty of touch around the greens.
“The best part of his game is his iron play is pretty spectacular,” Mark said of Dru. “He hits the ball a long way. He hits the irons high with a nice cut and under control. We had one hole out there yesterday where I made the mistake of asking him what he hit. I was between a 3-iron and a hybrid. He said, ‘I have 5-iron.’ I was like, ‘I didn’t need to know that.’ ”
“I always like how he shapes the ball so well,” Dru said of Mark. “He can see shots a lot of guys don’t see. He doesn’t know it, but he’s a good putter. He makes a lot of long putts, like 40- or 50-footers that break six different ways.”
They have to make up some ground to qualify for match play, but they remained optimistic.
“We’re more than capable of having a good day on the West Course and getting ourselves into match play,” Mark said. “And I think if we get into match play we can have some fun and do some damage.”
2016 Anderson Memorial
Stroke Play Qualifier
East Course – Par 70
1. Johnny Schob & Drake Ferriter (Winged Foot Golf Club) 65
2. Chris Troy & James Nicholas (Winged Foot Golf Club) 68
2. Luis Fernando Barco & Alberto Menacho (Lima Golf Club) 68
4. Matt Casey & Allie Reid (The Apawamis Club) 69
4. Trevor Hyde & Edward Sanchez (Comanche Trace) 69
4. Andy Cooper & Craig Hurlbert (Bluejack National Golf Club) 69
4. Shane Heise & Scott Loving (Conroe Country Club) 69
4. Dan Keogh & Bill Hutcheson (Taboo Golf Club) 69
4. Hans Albertsson & Brian Williams (Winged Foot Golf Club) 69
4. Nick Mullen & Jamie Rothwell (The Fox Club) 69
4. Dan O’Callaghan & Eoghan O’Connell (Silo Ridge Field Club) 69
12. Riley Pumphrey & Ross Hamann (Spanish Oaks Golf Club) 70
12. Ryan Hill & Eric Joseph (Oak Hill Country Club) 70
12. Lawrence Largent & John Smith (Greenville Country Club) 70
12. Pascal Grizot & J.J. Wolff (LePrieure Golf Club) 70
16. Michael McBride Jr. & Peter DeBusschere (Westhampton Country Club) 71
1. Robbie Dew & Rocky Costa (Abacoa Golf Club) 67
2. Jay Sessa & Don Enga (Cherry Valley Club) 68
3. George Marucci & Kelly Miller (Seminole Golf Club) 69
3. Bart Goodwin & Mike Peck (Old American Golf Club) 69
3. George Zahringer & Brady Exber (The Floridian) 69
6. Bob Fairchild & Brian Sparrow (Canterbury Golf Club) 70
6. Jim Graham & Joe Sommers (Winged Foot Golf Club) 70
6. Paul Simson & Albert Huddleston (Maridoe Golf Club) 70
6. Jay Pumphrey & Dave Clement (Desert Mountain Club) 70