Davis Love III was atop the mountain last year, and then he was tumbling down it.
The 52-year-old captained the U.S. Ryder Cup team to victory in October. He was snowboarding around New Year’s when he fell and broke his collarbone in three places.
The injury required surgery and Love was expected to miss 12 weeks of golf. Love returned at the Houston Open and made the cut, finishing tied for 61st. This week, he’ll be making his second start of the year.
But if there is a place Love can ease back into the game, Harbour Town is it.
“I’m just looking to be patient, capture some of those good feelings from around here, good memories,” said Love, a five-time Heritage champion.
Love is already revered on Hilton Head Island for what he’s done on its golf courses. Now he’s boosting his stature for what he’s doing to its golf courses.
His design firm overhauled Sea Pines’ Ocean Course, which reopened as Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III in October. The new layout was deemed a worthy companion to Pete Dye’s Sea Pines’ layouts of Harbour Town and Heron Point.
Atlantic Dunes has a different look than Dye’s creations, Love said. He noted the course now has the same seaside feel as the others, but might appeal to players looking for a more open and friendly layout.
The grand opening was postponed by Hurricane Matthew, allowing Love to celebrate this week. He is staying at the course and Wednesday will award the winners of a new pro-am event there.
“I would be over there even if they didn’t ask me to come over there,” he said. “I’d be over there checking it out.”
It’s part of his triumphant return. Love made 26 consecutive appearances on Hilton Head before battling injuries. The snowboarding gaffe is the latest malady and followed hip surgery last July.
He received encouragement Tuesday from instructor Jack Lumpkin, who walked with Love and fellow Sea Island professional Brian Harman during their practice round.
“He said you’re looking fine,” Love said. “Go out and play and have fun.”