Defending champion Davis Love III was forced to withdraw Tuesday from this week’s Wyndham Championship at Forest Oaks Country Club after doctors recommended removing kidney stones that had been bothering the 19-time PGA TOUR champion for several weeks.
Love, who helped redesign the Forest Oaks course before the 2004 tournament, fired a 16-under-par 272 total last year to win by two strokes, his last win on the PGA TOUR.
“I am extremely disappointed not to be able to defend here,” said Love, who will enter Brunswick (GA) Hospital on Thursday afternoon and is slated to undergo a procedure called lithotripsy, to remove the kidney stones on Friday morning. “I was hoping that we could take care of this matter between tournaments but my doctor has advised me to take care of it as quickly as possible.”
Love also won the tournament in 1992 and ranks No. 3 on the tournament’s all-time money list. He has made the cut in 13 of 19 starts this year with three top-10 finishes, including T4 efforts at the Mercedes-Benz Championship and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He also tied for sixth at the recent World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational two weeks ago. He missed the cut at last week’s PGA Championship and ranks No. 77 on the FedExCup points list.
“It’s like a home game for me on a course I know and love. All of which makes this decision even harder,” said Love, a three-time All-America at the University of North Carolina in the early 80s. “(Tournament Director) Mark Brazil has worked so hard to make this a premier event on the PGA TOUR and has done a tremendous job getting everything ready for the new sponsors. Wyndham has stepped up and is taking this tournament to greater heights.
“I feel badly that I won’t be able to be there with Wyndham, Mark and the terrific fans in North Carolina. I am hopeful that if all goes well I will be able to fully participate in the chase for the first FedExCup, starting with The Barclays next week.”
Brazil was understanding about losing one his marquee players for this year’s event. “We’re obviously disappointed that Davis will not be able to defend his title in front of a large contingent of family and friends,” he said. “Health comes first and we all wish him a speedy recovery. I know he has been playing the last three to four weeks in extreme discomfort. Right now, we all just hope he gets well and back on track quickly.”
PGA TOUR long hitter Bubba Watson withdrew from the Wyndham Championship today due to a medical issue. In addition, Shaun Micheel, J.B. Holmes, Jerry Kelly and Steve Flesch all withdrew from the Wyndham Championship today.