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Davis Love III Returns Home, Looks for Another Major Title

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PINEHURST — At 6:30 a.m. Thursday, history was made on the legendary course ofPinehurst No. 2. That was when the first group teed it high and let it fly to begin the1999 U.S. Open.

When you tour the golf courses, you will find golfers who are favorites of the fans and those who are favorites on the leaderboard. Former North Carolina star Davis Love III fits in both of those categories.

Pro golfers are a lot likeNFLquarterbacks in that their careers are measured in Super Bowl championships and Major golf titles. Love tackled his first Major at the 1997PGA Championship, but now, fairly or unfairly, everyone wants to know when he is going to win another Major.

"I wish that we were talking about my 10 Majors by the age of 35," Love said. "I've still got a long way to go."

Love could not ask for much more than to win a U.S. Open title at Pinehurst. He appreciates No. 2's heritage, and he has played on the grounds as a teen, in college and now as a pro. However, he has not played so many rounds that it is like a home-course advantage.

"It's greatly exaggerated how much I've played here," he said. "I've played a couple North/Souths, the ACC tournament, and two Tour Championships, so I've played probably more than most guys, but not as much as guys like Scott Hoch or Curtis Strange or Tom Kite."

One advantage that Love has is that he knows how to cope with the pressures of playing for a Major championship, but even he faces the unknown of what it is going to be like to play for a U.S. Open title at Pinehurst.

"The biggest difference is a Major championship versus just another round of golf on Pinehurst No. 2," Love said. "The Tour Championship was tough, but it was not the U.S. Open. I think there are going to be a lot of guys out here this week that have a tough time being patient and hanging in there, and that pressure will get to them."

Love has had a few back problems recently. He says he is feeling better, but that it could change at any minute, just like the weather.


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