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CIMB CLASSIC


October 29, 2014


Davis Love III


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

CHRIS REIMER:  We want to welcome and thank Davis Love III for joining us here at the media center at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia.  Coming off another successful McGladrey Classic, let's start off with a quick comment.  Have you taken time to think what you've accomplished at your event there in St.Simons in Sea Island, and just looking back, how proud are you of what that event has become in a short amount of time?
DAVIS LOVE III:  Well, yeah, in five years we've done an awful lot with our event.  It's very exciting to have it over with.  It's a busy week, so we're excited to move on and play golf here.  But it's been a topic of discussion.  I just rode out with Danny Lee.  We talked about the tournament all the way out here and then sat down with some guys at lunch and had discussion of what we're doing next year.  So it's a big part of our life now, and I know the players know that I'm involved, that we're running the event, and that we're also looking out for them, trying to make the tournament better every year.
But it was an exciting week.¬† They ask me every year there, how do you play and host, and I say, I'm really focused on my golf, so now it's nice that I can just come here and just play and look forward to getting my year kicked off because it's been a busy couple weeks to try to play and host, but now I'm 100 percent focused on playing golf.¬† That's why I'm here and why I'll be playing in Canc√ļn in a couple weeks to get my year going.

Q.  Talk about how excited you are to be here in Malaysia playing at the CIMB Classic.
DAVIS LOVE III:  Yeah, it's my first time here.  I was lucky enough to have dinner with the deputy prime minister last night, and he was shocked that it was my first trip here, and so at 50 years old now I can start my world travels, I guess.
The last 10 years I've really been focused on our TOUR, staying home, basically only have played the British Open is the only real trip I've made.  Now family and business will allow me to expand my horizons a little bit, so I'm going to try to play a little bit more all around the world, try to play in some of these events that I get invited to.  I thank CIMB for giving me the opportunity, and I'm looking very forward to my first tournament in Malaysia.

Q.  You've accomplished a lot in your career.  Is there anything else that you want to tick off on your list?
DAVIS LOVE III:  Yeah, I'd like a win in Malaysia added to my resumé.  No, I seriously want to play a lot of PGA TOUR golf the next few years and see if I can get my game back.  I had a major neck surgery almost two years ago, and trying to bounce back from that, my game has been a little up and down.  I'm excited about working on my golf game now and trying to get back in a few of the bigger tournaments.  I'm not in THE PLAYERS Championship, I'm not in the Masters, I'm not in the British Open next year, so I'm working hard on those kind of things.
I had a few years where I was very, very busy with the Ryder Cup with the neck surgery, and now I really want to focus on my golf game for a couple years.  I've got a great opportunity.  I'm eligible for both tours, the regular Tour and the Champions Tour, so I'm going to take advantage of that while I'm still fresh and ready to play.

Q.  (No microphone.)
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† Well, I was out for three months.¬† I lost 80 percent of the strength in my left arm.¬† The surgery I bounced back from pretty quickly.¬† Six or eight weeks, I was ready to go physically, and actually during my first couple weeks of recovery, I was actually putting the day after surgery, but the strength in my arm wouldn't allow me to hit golf balls.¬† So building my strength back up, building my stamina, even at this point I'm still getting better every month.¬† They said two to two and a half years of improvement, so I'm still six or eight months from hopefully my peak.¬† Peyton Manning, who plays U.S. football, had the same surgery, took him about two years to get back to 100 percent, and now he's back to maybe 150 percent.¬† He's playing the best football of his life.¬† It's encouraging that I can come back from it.¬† My ball‑striking has gotten better and better it seems like over the next year, so hopefully that will continue to improve.
I need maybe some brain surgery to get my putting a little bit better, but that's typical for all golfers.¬† If the putting comes around, the ball‑striking is there for me to be able to compete.

Q.  You've accomplished so much in your life; what is the motivation?  Today we've heard Danny Chia, a Malaysian, neck surgery, you've had neck surgery, Jason has had neck surgery.  What is it that inspires you and keeps you going?
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† Well, my father gave me a great challenge when I was going into high‑level amateur golf and looking towards a pro career.¬† He said, let's just see how good you can get.¬† So I'm always striving to get better, whether I've won tournaments or not.¬† I still try to get better.¬† I still try to improve.¬† I was out there on the range yesterday working on my swing tips that my brother gave me last week, and I always want to get better.¬† I always want to play better.
You know, I could have missed the cut easily last week, and I could have not shot 4‑under on Sunday and moved up to the middle of the pack, but I'm always grinding it out trying to get as much as I can out of my game, and I know that that's why I've lasted this long is because I have a passion for improving.
But I can see the‑‑ now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I know that my time in the game will eventually fade away, but I want to take advantage of that for as long as I can and continue to compete.¬† My friend Fred Couples had one of my favorite lines:¬† He goes, everything we go through, it's worth it for the four hours inside the ropes.¬† So all the hard work, all the surgeries, all the travel, whatever it is, things that we have to work hard at, it's worth it to get inside the ropes for four hours and play golf and compete, and I love that.¬† I look forward to it.¬† I'm excited about tomorrow.¬† I'm excited about two weeks from now.¬† I'm excited about playing in Hawai'i in January.¬† I think it's just because we're competitive.¬† When you look at Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson, it doesn't matter what they do, whether it's table tennis or golf, they're competitive at it.¬† Or Michael Jordan; doesn't matter what he does, he wants to compete.¬† I think that's something in us that makes us good golfers and makes us good athletes is we have that desire just to get out and compete.

Q.  Just a thing or two about course design:  What do you think of the layout here, the peculiarities, the character of this course?
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† So far I love it.¬† I haven't been on the course yet.¬† We got rained out yesterday afternoon.¬† I've heard a lot about it.¬† You know, different‑‑ seems like there's a lot of variety of holes.¬† You have to hit driver all the way‑‑ some guys are saying watch out on this hole or that hole, you might just want to hit a 4‑iron off the tee.¬† I talked to Billy Horschel at dinner and he told me a lot about the golf course and told me he really likes it, so I'm excited to see it.
Again, I've never played in Malaysia so I don't know the style of golf courses, but I'm interested to see it, and hopefully we get the full pro‑am in today because that's going to have to be my practice round because of the rain yesterday afternoon.

Q.¬† As a co‑sanctioned event here in Malaysia, how important is it to expose the folks in Malaysia to some of the best players in the world and kind of grow the game?
DAVIS LOVE III:  Well, I think being on the board of the TOUR four times and seeing our commissioner really focused on spreading the game around the world, playing in China, playing in Malaysia, playing in México, this Fall Series really shows that the U.S. PGA TOUR is working with all the other tours trying to grow the game and expose the game and expose players like me to new places to play.  It's working well.
I think with television, with travel, it's really amazing where golf has gone, and over half the players on our TOUR are from around the world.  It really is a global game now.

Q.  You mentioned before Champions Tour.  What are your plans going forward on that?
DAVIS LOVE III:¬† I don't know what my balance is going to be.¬† Fortunately CIMB invited me to play this week, or otherwise I wouldn't be in, so I'm getting some exemptions into some nice tournaments based on my past record.¬† But you can't get that for THE PLAYERS Championship or the British Open, so if I'm off some of the major‑‑ the bigger weeks, I'll take advantage of my eligibility on the Champions Tour and plug those holes so I can keep playing.¬† I did get invited by Mitsubishi to play in Hawai'i at the start of the year, so I'll play a regular Tour event one week in Hawai'i and then the next week play a Champions Tour.¬† I'm going to do a lot what I see Vijay Singh doing, cherry picking the good ones on both tours and enjoying the benefits of being a lifetime member on both tours.¬† I'm excited about having a place to play.¬† That's I think the benefit of having a really nice career is you have a place to play when you're 50 years old, and I'm going to take advantage of that for sure.
But there's great tournaments on both tours.  When I sit down and look at my schedule, there's weeks like the John Deere Classic that have done so much for charity, have done so much for me, Zach Johnson is a part of it, one of my best friends, I'll have a hard time not playing John Deere.  I have places like Memphis that do so much for the children's hospital.  It will be hard for me to skip Memphis just because of a personal connection to it.  Obviously playing in the Southeast, a lot of those tournaments like Hilton Head that have been so good to me, but then on the flipside, my son is at school in Alabama and there's Champions Tour events in Alabama, so there's reasons to play everywhere, and I'm just going to skip around and play both tours.
But I think for this year, I'm going to really focus on, and maybe even the following season, focus on trying to get some FedEx points, try to get in THE PLAYERS.  I'd like to play THE PLAYERS or all the majors obviously one or two more times, so I'm going to have to focus on our TOUR to get into those tournaments.

Q.  Just wanted you to recall, I believe 1997, a tremendous year for you, your launched your book, as well, you won the PGA.  Would you like to share your thoughts on that hallmark year for you?
DAVIS LOVE III:  Well, yeah, I'll always be remembered for the PGA Championship and certainly the way it finished with Justin Leonard had won the British Open that year, one of my great friends, coming down the last hole with a rainbow over the clubhouse, and Jim Nantz so eloquently reminding people of my father who had passed away almost 10 years before.
It was an incredible week to shoot three 66s on a place like Winged Foot and win a major championship and have a great year.¬† Tom Kite was involved not only in that tournament but as Ryder Cup captain, one of my great mentors, so it was just an incredible‑‑ a lot of great story lines that year, and it was a great year for me and really launched me into having confidence to play at the highest level for years to come.

Q.  You've had to sacrifice so much.  How could you sum up advice to young Malaysians who aspire to reaching greater heights?  What's the biggest single thing they need to have?
DAVIS LOVE III:  Well, I think practice and determination I think are the biggest things.  The thing I see is with the best players is just a commitment to do the little things day in and day out that make you a good player and stick with it.  When I see all the way from Greg Norman, Nick Price, Tiger Woods, the best players that I've played against, the world No.1s, is they just relentless with their commitment to doing little things, whether it's in the gym, on the practice tee, or traveling around the world and playing, doing everything they can to improve their game day in and day out, and I think just a commitment to working hard is the biggest thing.  Obviously good instruction and good teachers and good trainers and sports psychologists, all those little things add up, but you have to be committed to working hard, and I see a lot of young players coming out of Sea Island where I live now, and you can tell the difference between the ones that are 100 percent bought in, they want to do everything they can to get better, and the ones that just want to play golf for fun.  I think that little bit of commitment and perseverance is what the kids need.
CHRIS REIMER:  Thank you, Davis.  Good luck this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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