Publish date:

Love's Trying Time

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.