Davis Love III says he'll still play and his CBS discussions began long ago

Davis Love and Brandt Snedeker Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Davis Love III says he'll still play and his CBS discussions began long ago

Golf

Davis Love III says he'll still play and his CBS discussions began long ago

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Contrary to appearances, Davis Love III says his new full-time role with CBS was a long time in the making.

“It’s been in the works for 20 years if you ask [producer] Lance Barrow,” the 21-time PGA Tour winner told Golfweek after his hiring was announced. “We’ve been very good friends since the 1980s, we’ve talked a lot about it over that time.”

With the non-renewals of veterans Gary McCord and Peter Kostis, the natural inclination is to assume Love’s negotiation was a rush job to impact a news cycle surprised by the abrupt send-off to a pair of CBS stalwarts.

Love was able to narrow the timeline down to a more reasonable two years of talks since he served stints with the Masters digital team, conversing on occasion with CBS Sports chief Sean McManus about a possible role. Couple those flirtations with injuries interrupting a career that still has him relevant enough to have won just four years ago, and the 55-year-old indicates that conversations became more focused.

“I’ve always had a great relationship with their team, I’ve gone out to dinner with them a bunch over the years and so it’s been a back and forth,” Love said from Bermuda where his playing this week’s PGA Tour event. “Not knowing what they were going to do with their crew and what I was going to do playing-wise kept the conversation going.”

Love plans to be all-in on CBS golf’s 23-event schedule, including at the PGA Championship, where he is an exempt former champion.

“I do want to play the PGA Tour and Champions Tour when possible. Still do golf course design and run a PGA Tour event (RSM Classic). So I’m not going to get out of the playing side. But I wanted to be on the number one team so I’ll be full-time with CBS. When I do something I like to work at it and be good at it. I’ve told everyone in these conversations that I don’t sit still well.”

Love is not closing the door on playing because he views his interactions and insights into players as his “advantage” over others.

“It helps me when I play with them and I know the caddies and am not just a guy standing on the range,” Love said.

Love’s precise role has not been set in stone, but he’s understandably concerned about going into a booth role at the Masters after only working from the compound during his stints with their Featured Group team.

“I’ve joked with them that I should start pulling cable first,” Love said of his desire to learn all facets of the business. “They’ve talked about putting me in a tower, but I need to learn the mechanics of it.”

Barrow, the longtime coordinating producer, will be putting Love through a training camp this November and December similar to the one Tony Romo faced before becoming CBS’ lead football analyst.

“I just want to be where they think I’m best,” he said of on-course reporting versus a tower position.

As for what CBS’ “major reboot” means to the PGA Tour’s television negotiations, the veteran PGA Tour Policy Board member was in on conversations until Jan. 1 and says the deal decisions are “still in flux,” though the Tour has set the end of 2019 as a goal for inking its 2022 and beyond contract.

“I’ve watched the build-up and know the strategy,” he said. “The way TV gets delivered is rapidly changing. It’s hard to foresee the long-term future. But I think the Tour sees it the way CBS see its, which is that they’ve been the number one team and it’d be weird without a major network showing golf on the weekends.”

His comment alludes to an extreme scenario of streaming being a sole focus of weekend coverage or CBS losing large chunks of its robust schedule.

“I’ve heard three or four different scenarios about where things stand,” Love said.

Until that decision is made, Love is guaranteed two years of full-time CBS work after he takes his crash broadcasting course, hosts the RSM Classic, works as an assistant to captain Tiger Woods in the Presidents Cup and continues to push for one special wish.

“I’ve been lobbying to work and play at Hilton Head,” Love said of the annual stop at Harbour Town broadcast by CBS. “It’s one of the few places I can still think my way around the course. I can’t keep up with these guys off the tee anymore.”

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