Here is the sum total of everything I know about golf: There’s a course, there are balls, people sometimes wear a vest when they play it, afterward they eat a club sandwich, and no matter how many cocktails they drink at lunch, it’s always “Two.”
I probably have some other golf-related knowledge in my brain, but I’d have to go up to the attic to retrieve it. And I’m only exposing my lack of expertise right now just so golf fans will have their answer when they inevitably ask themselves, “Why didn’t she ask Davis Love III a single thing about what brand of stuff he uses????”
Suffice it to say, I don’t think the man is hauling around a starter set in a Spartina 449 bag that he wrestled out of a retired librarian’s hands at the annual warehouse sale on Hilton Head Island.
But like I said, I didn’t ask him this specifically.
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I caught up with Love on Tuesday afternoon after his practice round at the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing PGA Tour tournament to find out exactly he keeps in his golf bag when he competes. (If you’d like an update on Love’s history and current course prowess, may I recommend this column by our golf writer? Click here for it.)
First let me give you my three facts about Love, though: He seems like the nicest man alive, he’s tall, and sometimes when he stands still, he occasionally rolls onto the balls of his feet. I don’t know if that’s information you can on the course, but there it is. Maybe I just cracked the code on your terrible swing.
Anyway, here are the 8 life lessons I found when Love shared with me the contents of his bag (which he did not have with him at the time, so it might very well be from the Spartina 449 Heyward Golf Bag collection in chartreuse.
1. Always recognize your own greatness: Love, who has won more than 20 PGA Tour championships, including five Heritages, carries nine balls with him. Precisely nine. I just asked a non-professional formerly decent golfer how many balls he typically carries with him. It’s eight ... just kidding, it’s two dozen.
2. Don’t be the guy who doesn’t check the weather: This might shock you, but if rain is in the forecast Love makes sure he has rain gear with him and a bag cover. He doesn’t pretend he didn’t know rain could happen on HIS day to golf nor does he bark at his caddy to check the next garbage can to see if the liner is “wearable.” I know that sounded like an awfully specific example, but I really did make that up. I apologize if it sounded like I was talking about you. I really wasn’t. But I get the insecurity (you golfed in a garbage bag from the trash?).
3. Always have a backup to your backup’s backup and then back that up: Love carries three to four extra gloves with him and keeps them in Ziploc bags so they’ll be dry and fresh should he need them. This is in addition to the two he’s using during the round. He also has lots of tees, extra pencils and some Scotty Cameron ball markers. (I should pretend I asked him the specific brand of his ball markers, but he just offered that up and I wrote it down and then I had to Google it.)
4. The best men don’t whine about what ails them, they find the cure: Love keeps some Advil, Band-Aids and all your general first-aid kit accoutrement. (Note: He did not say “accoutrement” nor did he pronounce it with a dramatic French accent and then switch to a down-home country accent just so he could hear himself say “acootermints” out loud. That was me.)
5. Sometimes when boys become men they carry the same random stuff with them: Like string and safety pins. Love has both in his bag, because you just never know when you’ll need those things ...
6. Smart men know that Beaufort County has one of the highest skin cancer rates for men in South Carolina: And if they didn’t know that already, they’re prepared anyway. Love carries a big bottle of 100 SPF from Neutrogena with him at all times. And he wears it. “I just bought a new bottle,” he said. “I’ve always been adamant about (sunscreen).” His father had skin cancer on his lip. Remember that when you pretend to forget to put your sunscreen on because you couldn’t be bothered. One. Of. The. Highest. Skin. Cancer. Rates. For. Men.
7. Sometimes habits and superstitions are the same thing: In the late 1980s, at the Buick Open in Flint, Mich., sports reporter Bob Drum asked Love if he was superstitious. “No, sir. I’m not,” Love said. Drum, according to Love, was kind of a gruff person and, when he heard that answer, he grumbled and walked away. Love didn’t consider himself superstitious but then realized something. He went and found Drum, “I carry 1964 dimes and pennies in my bag. Is that what you mean?” Drum, now exasperated and most likely also thrilled because he had his story, called out to his crew, “Bring the cameras over here!” and Love told him about his coins. Early on in his long career, Love started carrying around coins with him that had the year 1964 on them. He liked them because he was born in 1964 and because 64 is a really good golf score. “People give them to me now,” he said.
8. Always be honest: I asked Love if there was anything in his bag that he wouldn’t want anyone to know about. He couldn’t think of anything. Anything that would surprise people? He thought for a second. “Every once in a while there’s a Red Bull in there.”