RBC Heritage

For Davis Love III and son Dru, Heritage balances competition and family

Dru Love's clearest memory of the Heritage is what you might expect of the child of its most decorated champion: milkshakes.

He would duck into the hospitality house near the clubhouse at Harbour Town Golf Links for the cold treats while his father, Davis Love III, made the turn and played No. 10. The son would catch up a couple of holes later.

Now father and son are both competing inside the ropes on Hilton Head Island this week for the 50th RBC Heritage and in different places professionally while putting in similar work.

Davis Love IV, who goes by Dru, earned a sponsor exemption into the event while working to earn PGA Tour membership. His father is trying to work his way back from multiple injuries last year to creep back up in the world rankings.

Dru is 24 and his father will turn 54 this week. The father has won here a record five times while Dru is searching for his first professional victory.

"He and I are on different ends of the spectrum on expectations," the elder Love said. "... But it's the same deal. We're both practicing hard, working hard and just need to free it up a little bit on the golf course with the putter."

The Sea Island, Ga., residents are of similar tall builds and compete against each other when both are in the same place, whether it's a putting contest or quick nine holes. The competitions always include a bet, Dru said, with the loser washing the winner's pickup truck.

The Loves met Monday on Harbour Town Golf Links putting green for a putting contest after Dru had competed in the Heritage pro-am and his father arrived on Hilton Head from the Monday after the Masters event in Myrtle Beach. Afterward the elder Love and fellow pro golfer Mike Hulbert dissected Dru's round.

Dru went through shot by shot and told the older men what he hit and the result.

"And they gave me five or six things that I should have done differently," Dru said.

The younger Love played Harbour Town once as a teenager but said he didn't remember much about how to play the course other than rarely hitting driver. He learned in talking with Hulbert and his father about the correct sides of the fairway to target.

"You have to dice this course up," Dru said.

Love III has won 21 times on the PGA Tour.. His most recent victory came at the 2015 Wyndham Championship in his native North Carolina at age 51.

Dru's favorite memories of growing up the son of a successful professional golf include the destinations and perks any kid would enjoy — vacation spots like Hawaii and Orlando, free food and arcade games. He said his memory of Harbour Town sharpened as he worked his way around the course on Monday.

The former University of Alabama golfer made his professional debut at the U.S. Open last year but missed the cut with his dad on the bag. After Hilton Head, he has another sponsor exemption lined up at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte in May and hopes to play his way to a PGA Tour card.

If it came down to father and son on the 18th hole Sunday at Harbour Town, dad said he would be torn.

"I'll be pulling hard for him and a bunch of other young guys here that I watched come along," Love III said when asked about the prospect of his sixth victory at Harbour Town or his son's first PGA Tour win. "It would be thrilling for him to win one. He needs it a little more than me right now."

Dru told reporters there was no doubt his dad would be trying his hardest to beat him if father and son were side by side on the final hole.

"Definitely," the father replied. "But I'll still be pulling for you."