Returned to the PGA Tour, earnings leader Davis Love III, who
finished tied for seventh at last weekend's FBR Capital Open
three weeks after the apparent suicide of his brother-in-law, who
was being investigated by the FBI for embezzling from Love.
Jeffrey Knight, 37, who was married to Love's wife's sister, had
worked for the golfer as a business manager for six years, and he
was a close friend who fished and hunted with Love. But last
December, Knight, who earned about $85,000 a year, made several
bank deposits of about $10,000, triggering the attention of the
FBI. An investigation revealed that Knight had siphoned about $1
million from one of Love's accounts since 1999. On May 9 FBI
agent Tony Alig confronted Knight in a phone call. "He never
denied anything, never asked for a lawyer," said Alig. "He was
contrite. He was embarrassed."
Love wanted to handle the problem as a family matter, but because
the case involved a federally insured bank, the FBI couldn't back
off and was about to present its case to a federal prosecutor. If
convicted, Knight faced prison time, a prospect he had anxiously
questioned Alig about. On May 16, when Knight failed to arrive
for a doctor's appointment and his family couldn't reach him,
Love drove to Knight's hunting cabin in south Georgia. There he
found Knight dead inside the cabin, apparently of a
self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. A country song about a
final farewell played in repeat mode on a CD player.
At the Capital Open, Love called Knight "a good friend [and] a
good manager ... he just lost his way." After making a late
charge toward the leaders--he had seven birdies in the final
round--Love said he felt ready to contend at this weekend's U.S.
Open. "I'm not sleeping good right now. But the golf course is a
good place to be," he said. "After everything that happened, I'm
back among friends out here."
--Gary Van Sickle and Don Yaeger
COLOR PHOTO: PAT BENIC (LOVE) GREENS PEACE After the tragedy, Love finds comfort on the course.