ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Davis Love III had just finished the most meaningful round of golf he’s played in three months, but as competitors are prone to do, he could only focus on an untimely bogey at No. 16.
“My caddie gave me the wrong club,” he smiled.
Love was carrying his own bag.
Most of the players in Friday’s Back 2 Golf Challenge at Sea Island Resort were carrying their own bags as they prepare to return to competition next week.
The event, which features 20 two-man teams made up of one PGA Tour player and one Korn Ferry Tour player, is a tune-up for those who have been sidelined since the COVID-19 pandemic halted play in March.
“It’s the longest I’ve gone without playing a professional event since college,” said J.T. Poston, who was tied for the individual lead after a 4-under 66 and alone in first place with Ben Kohles in the team portion of the event. “It’s actually been nice just getting a chance to take a break. I took some time off but started playing again about a month ago so I should be ready to go.”
Love, who is just a stroke off the individual lead, isn’t in the field at next week’s Charles Schwab Challenge but he plans to play the following three Tour events and considers this week’s event a chance to shake off some rust.
“Somebody said to me, ‘Have you ever taken this much time off from golf?’ I said, ‘Hey, a lot. But it’s usually after a big surgery or injury,’” Love said. “This is great. I bet they’ve had 10 of these [tournaments]. It’s taking advantage of having so many guys around to have this level of competition on a course [Seaside] that hosts a Tour event.”
Love isn’t the only major champion in the field at Sea Island, nor is he the only former U.S. Ryder Cup captain. Jim Furyk was also tied for fourth place at 3 under after getting a last-minute call from Love Friday afternoon.
“I’ve been trying to put myself in positions like today where you’re trying to shoot a score,” Furyk said. “You’re trying to get some competition and push myself and I feel like my game has come around.”
Sea Island will donate $5,000 to the Coastal Georgia Foundation’s Emergency Needs Fund in the name of the individual champion.