Out in the players' parking lot at Quail Hollow Club, amid a sea of sleek, stylish Mercedes cars on loan to the players in the Wells Fargo Championship, there's a hulking gray Ford F350 Lariat Super Duty truck with some mud on it. It's a big ol' thing, riding high, looking menacing.
It's Davis Love III's ride.
But when he steps out of the cab, you wouldn't peg him as a truck guy. He has way more country club about him than country roads. He also owns a motorcycle and loves the outdoors, but he models high style Polo Ralph Lauren clothing for ads and TV commercials, and is in a profession that rewards a surgeon's touch.
Love stepped out of the truck Saturday, put on his pro golfer hat and shot 68 to push himself into a place from which he can challenge for the championship today. If he wins, it will be a hugely popular victory. He's a player who has a place in a lot of hearts. They've even named a stretch of I-95 in Georgia for him. And, how about this, there's a Davis Love Grill in Sea Island, Ga., where he lives.
The regard in which he is held has earned him the coveted captaincy of the 2012 Ryder Cup team.
He's also one of ours, sort of. He was born in Charlotte. His dad was the pro at Charlotte Country Club. He moved away when he was still a tot, but he came back to play his college golf at North Carolina, where, incidentally, he gave Michael Jordan his first set of clubs.
Love, 47, hasn't missed playing the Wells Fargo Championship since its inception, but the devotion hasn't been reciprocated. He has been in contention on the final day the past two years, playing in the final group last year, but a 74 in 2009 and a 76 last year dropped him on the scoreboard.
Maybe this year. He's on the right track.
"I shot 2 under in the first round," he pointed out Saturday. "I shot 3 under in the second and was 4 under in the third today. Hopefully, tomorrow will be my best day."
It's been a tough year. Twice he has been ill. He has been going from one putter to another. He had played eight tournaments here and missed four cuts. Now, though, he's well, he has settled on a putter and he's hitting a lot of good shots.
"It's nice finally to be prepared for one," he said.
It's nice to have him back.