Davis Love IV plays first U.S. Open with father Davis Love III as his caddy

Kevin Kaduk
Devil Ball Golf

ERIN, Wis. — You might not notice Davis Love III at the U.S. Open this week if you don’t know where to look for him.

For one, he’s wearing shorts and toting a yardage book.

For another, he’s walking in the considerable shadow of his 6-foot-5 son Davis “Dru” Love IV and carrying a bag as Dru plays for his first paycheck as a professional golfer.

Yes, the two-time Ryder Cup captain and World Golf Hall of Famer is serving as his son’s caddy at Erin Hills. After an injury-filled collegiate career at Alabama, Dru shot 67-71 at the U.S. Open’s Georgia qualifier and was added to the field as an alternate last week.

Dear old dad also tried to qualify for his 24th U.S. Open but fell short by eight shots in the Ohio qualifier. That led to one of the better early-week storylines in Wisconsin as 53-year-old father (Twitter handle: @love3D) and 23-year-old son (@love4D) saw their roles reverse as they pulled up to Erin Hills last Saturday.

“I was a little excited and I started grabbing all of the bags,” Dru recalled during a press conference here on Wednesday. “ I grabbed my bag, and I grabbed this and that, and he goes, whoa, whoa, whoa! This is my job this week. I’m used to getting his stuff out of the car and toting it to the locker room and following him around and doing whatever he needs.”

Dru quickly found out that there are shortcomings to having your major-winner father on the bag.

For example, Davis can’t go anywhere with any of his old golfing pals like Ernie Els making cracks about his bare legs. A lot of his acquaintances made during a lifetime in golf also keep stopping Davis for a quick chat, even if there’s work to be done.

Despite the distractions, Davis was still very attentive to his son’s needs as they worked on the practice range on Wednesday, toting the practice balls in a small kelly green bag.

The 1997 PGA Championship winner should be even more helpful when play begins.

“There’s not a shot or situation that he has not seen in a major,” Dru Love said. “He’s played, I don’t know, over 100 majors and 23 U.S. Opens, and he’s seen every possible shot venue that you can have out here.

“He can tell. He’s watched me play enough golf. He can see when I get a little ahead of myself, get a little quick and excited, and he does a good job of calming me down.”

Davis Love III’s highest finish at a U.S. Open came in 1996 when he finished T-2 behind Steve Jones at Oakland Hills. He finished in the top 10 five times, the most recent coming in 2010 at Pebble Beach.

When Dru tees off on Thursday, the Love family will make history. Dru’s grandfather Davis Love Jr. competed in six U.S. Opens himself so the Loves will join the Alexanders (Tyson, Buddy and Skip) as the only family to have three generations of men compete in the event.

Davis Love Jr., a noted teaching pro, died in a plane crash in 1988, well before Dru was born. Yet despite never having met his grandfather, Dru has so much time with his grandfather’s journals and teaching notebooks that he feels “like I know him.”

While Dru and Davis hugging each other in a victorious embrace on the 18th green Sunday would make for the best Father’s Day story, it isn’t likely to happen. After this U.S. Open adventure, Dru will head back to Monday qualifiers for the Web.com Tour as he begins the process of preparing for Q-school. The dream of making a living on the PGA Tour as his 21-time winner father begins there.

“I understand I have no status, so this is temporary,” Dru said. “ I have to enjoy this while it’s here, learn as much as I can this week and then go back to the Monday qualifiers next week with the same attitude. Just be just as excited for Monday qualifiers as I am for a U.S. Open.

Even after playing on one of golf’s biggest stages with your dad on your bag?

“It might be a little difficult,” Dru allowed.

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