(Reuters) - Davis Love III, winner of the 1997 PGA Championship and U.S. captain at the 2012 Ryder Cup, was named as recipient of the U.S. Golf Association's Bob Jones Award on Wednesday.

Presented annually since 1955, the award, considered the USGA's highest honor, recognizes an individual who demonstrates the spirit, personal character and respect for the game exhibited by Jones.

"Throughout his impressive career, Davis has distinguished himself with his sense of fair play, integrity and reverence for the game's traditions," USGA president Glen D. Nager said in a statement.

Love, 48, has represented the United States as a player in six Ryder Cups, six Presidents Cups and in the 1985 Walker Cup Match and has won 20 PGA Tour events, including two victories in The Players Championship.

He also finished second in the 1995 and 1999 Masters, as well as in the 1996 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills Country Club. His poise and graciousness after those disappointments were also factors in his selection, the USGA said.

Love's service to his local Georgia community and to the golf world were also noted.

He established the Davis Love Foundation in 2005 to assist programs working to build a better future for at-risk children.

The foundation hosts the PGA Tour's McGladrey Classic, which benefits the Special Olympics and Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Georgia.

"From the time I was first introduced to Davis by his dad, Davis Love Jr., I was impressed," said Tom Kite, the 1992 U.S. Open champion and 1979 recipient of the Bob Jones Award.

"But as much as I have been impressed with his wonderful golf swing and his tournament record, I treasure our friendship so much more. Davis has conducted himself with such style and grace that everyone in the game respects and admires him."

(Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Ken Ferris)