Golf team rallies around, supports LoveladyBy Elliott Propes | 09/18/2015 4:52pm
The last four years have changed the Alabama golf program forever, and fifth-year senior Tom Lovelady has been a part of it all.
The team won back-to-back national titles his redshirt freshman and sophomore years. His junior year, most of the team had graduated, leaving Lovelady the oldest on the team and the new team captain. Alabama didn’t win a national title last year, but Lovelady returns as team captain for his final year on a team reloaded with talent.
“We have more experience with our younger guys,” Lovelady said. “This year adding Davis [Riley], and another year of experience for a guy like Jonathan Hardee, and Dru [Love], and Robby Prater, and all the other guys that have got to play here and there. Now they kind of know what it takes to win, they know what they need to do.”
Lovelady said his final year means a lot to him when he thinks about leaving his teammates. He said he has always been very close to his teammates, and he has needed them recently. Lovelady’s father passed away in August, and his teammates have rallied around him during the hard time in his life.
“Everybody showed up at the funeral, and I didn’t know that everybody would, and that really meant a lot just from a support and comfort standpoint, just knowing that they have my back and that they will be there for me no matter what the situation is,” Lovelady said. “It’s kind of helped me get through difficult times, honestly, every day, just knowing that they are there for me and if I wanted to talk to them I could.”
Pro golfers and former teammates Justin Thomas and Trey Mullinax tweeted out their support for Lovelady and his family. Thomas had the initials “TL” stitched in his hat while he was on tour, while Mullinax showed his support by writing the same initials on his golf balls while on tour.
“He is still going through a mourning time right now. He still has the heart of his team, and how we went through that has been really good, and it is what Alabama golf is,” coach Jay Seawell said. “The adversities he had to go through with that reminds you that golf is just a game to a certain extent, but also how he has gone through it, is something teammates will look at more than his golf scores.”
Lovelady and the rest of the Crimson Tide will be traveling to Olympia Fields, Illinois, for the Fighting Illini Invitational this weekend. It will be the second tournament of the fall, as the season is just getting started. Lovelady is excited to go back and compete at the tournament, and said he would love to win a tournament to honor his dad, but also he wanted to do more than that.
“He was a huge supporter of Alabama golf even before I even thought about playing college golf. He has just loved it forever,” Lovelady said. “I feel like coming out on top would be the best feeling in the world.”