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Davis Love III named 2016 Ambassador of Golf

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United States Ryder Cup captain and 21-time PGA Tour winner Davis Love III has been named the 2016 Ambassador of Golf.

The award is presented annually by Northern Ohio Golf Charities to a person who has fostered the ideals of the game on an international level that extends beyond the golf course.

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Love will be honored on the first tee at Firestone Country Club on June 29 at the Bridgestone Invitational.

“Davis Love III has idealized the virtues of golf not only through his outstanding playing career, but through a high-level of passion that extends into all facets of the game,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said Friday in a statement. “He is one of the most respected players on the PGA Tour, still capturing titles in his 50’s and his commitment to the growth of the game extends well beyond his years. We’re honored to have him as our Ambassador of Golf.”

Love won his first PGA Tour victory in 1987 at the MCI Heritage, a tournament he went on to win a record five times.

The early part of Love’s career was stricken with tragedy after he lost his father in a plane crash in 1988. His father, Davis Love Jr., was a former pro and nationally recognized golf instructor. Love Jr. instilled in his son a love of golf and respect for the game and its traditions.

Love III’s most memorable win was his major championship victory at the PGA Championship in 1997 at Winged Foot. That same year, Love published the book “Every Shot I Take,” a memoir that honors his father’s teachings on golf and life. It won the 1997 USGA International Book Award.

“I’m thrilled to be named this year’s Ambassador of Golf, and am humbled to be able to add my name to the list with all of golf’s greatest icons who have also received this honor,” Love said. “It brings special meaning as I look forward to also playing in the Bridgestone Invitational this year.”

Love’s 21st win at the 2015 Wyndham Championship — at age 51 — made him the third-oldest winner in PGA Tour history, trailing only Sam Snead and Art Wall Jr. Also with his Wyndham win, Love became only the third player to win on the Tour in four different decades, joining Sam Snead and Raymond Floyd.

Beyond his competitive career, Love founded Love Golf Design, a golf course architectural firm, with his younger brother and caddie, Mark Love.

Love joins an illustrious list of Ambassador of Golf Award winners: 1981 Chi Chi Rodriguez; 1982 Bing Crosby; 1983 Byron Nelson; 1984 Gene Sarazen; 1985 President Gerald Ford; 1986 Bob Hope; 1987 Dinah Shore; 1988 Joe Dey; 1989 Frank Chirkinian; 1990 Barbara Nicklaus; 1991 Arnold Palmer; 1992 Nancy Lopez; 1993 Roberto De Vicenzo; 1994 President George H.W. Bush; 1995 Michael Bonnallack; 1996 Deane Beman; 1997 Peter Thomson; 1998 Ken Venturi; 1999 Gary Player; 2000 Ben Hogan and Sam Snead; 2001 Del de Windt; 2002 Joanne Carner; 2003 Robert Dedman Sr. and Jack Vickers; 2004 Lee Trevino; 2005 Pete Dye; 2006 Ken Schofield; 2007 Tony Jacklin; 2008 Charlie Sifford; 2009 Hale Irwin; 2010 Tom Watson; 2011 Nick Price; 2012 Nick Faldo; 2013 Jack Nicklaus; 2014 Johnny Miller; and 2015 Judy Rankin.

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