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November 17, 2015

Davis Love III

Dru Love

Sea Island, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome everyone to the RSM Classic, the sixth edition of this tournament. We're excited to have tournament host Davis Love, III with us, and got Dru love playing this week as well.

Davis, first of all, talk a little bit about this tournament and what it means to you.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, before we start, there is a white pickup truck blocking the office with and Alabama sticker on it. If anybody knows who parked right in front of the media center.

We're very excited to kick the week off. Obviously new name. Same great sponsor, just a new name. We're excited to start the era of the RSM Classic. Obviously another beautiful day. We've had great start to the week yesterday with a pro-am on Seaside. We're off and running.

Obviously a lot of changes this year with the name change. We've got a bigger field. We went to 156 players, which has been very popular with the TOUR players.

Then using two golf courses, playing Plantation and Seaside. So that's a nice change. We have obviously a lot more flexibility with the weather, with the short days, when we can play two golf courses and play one wave in the morning.

It allows us to get more players and be more flexible. Both courses are in great shape, even given a huge amount of rain last Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. Actually blew one of our chalets over on 18, and Tony Schuster's crew had to rebuild it.

Berry Collett's team has done an incredible job with the golf course. All the bunkers washed out on Seaside on Monday and they completely redid them.

There was more water really honestly than I've ever seen around here on Monday mand they have got it in good shape. It will be a little softer than we wanted, but it's in beautiful condition. The greens are good, as Dru will attest to. They putted really well on Sunday over on Plantation, and Seaside were great yesterday.

It's our strongest field for all the years we been playing here. I thank the TOUR players for supporting this event. We always try to make it a fun intimate place for the to come play and a fun week and great southern hospitality, and that's paying off for us with a great field.

We're excited Graham McDowell, his win last week, and he's here. Off to a great start. One amateur in the field, Dru Love. We had Austin Connolly who won the Jones Cup over at Ocean Forest was an amateur and he's since turned pro, so we replaced our amateur with Dru. We're very excited and looking forward to a great week.

THE MODERATOR: Dru, get some comments on what it means to tee it up with your dad this week.

DRU LOVE: Yeah, it's going to be a great time. I thank everyone for giving me a shot. I hope to prove that I was worth the chance. Looking forward to a great week.


Q. First of all, they let North Carolina play offense with 13 guys lately?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, you know, there are a lot of rules violations in sports that go unnoticed. We're excited about North Carolina football and basketball this year.

Q. Okay. Was going to ask you, now that you're kind of on top of it and you know the kind of rain you've got and with the forecast for the weekend, how much tougher will the Plantation play, if at all, than the Seaside?
DAVIS LOVE III: You know, I don't know. Dru played very well on Sunday and shot -- only shot 3-under. We had four guys, all really good players, and nobody really shot low because the wind was blowing.

So I think that if the wind blows, as Stuart just told me, it's going to be pretty windy, especially after this rain front goes through on Thursday.

I think they're both going to play tough. Guys don't know Plantation. That's a disadvantage. Seaside we know where we're going and how to play it.

But that's one of the interesting things we're going to see this week is how Plantation does play in a tournament with pros on it. It being soft, I would suspect scores would be better in the morning probably on Plantation, and then if the wind gets up they'll both play pretty tough.

Q. Davis, I have a vague recollection of a story you once told. I kind of need you to tell it again of when Dru first started playing and how hard he used to go at it. Do you remember that at all, how he started swinging the club?
DAVIS LOVE III: A couple days ago? No, no. He was going at it pretty hard.

Q. Just starting out. Years ago at Augusta you almost predicted this 20 odd years now that kids coming through were so much wider and going at it.
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, we had a lot of things. My mom actually started him playing. Gave him his first club and he was whacking at the ball down to her yard. He didn't have a club at my house, three houses down.

We did some neat things that we kind of got lucky with, I think. My dad obviously told us to swing hard and keep your feet on the ground and don't lose your balance. Dru, we had this little ball from the grocery store that he had to pull out of that big basket that was always at the grocery store.

I would roll it to him and he would hit it while it was rolling. Once he did it four or five times we both got in trouble with Robin.

But once I saw him do it, I said there is no better way to -- hand-eye coordination and free up your swing. At, I don't know, four or five years old at the ballpark he was hitting off the pitching machine because he was hanging around with the big kids.

I think some little things he did at a young age - obviously he had a lot of hand-eye coordination - that really got him swinging free. I just took what my dad told me. You're not going to make a perfect golf swing at 10 years old. You're going to grow.

Let's just swing for the fence for a while and then we'll kind of reign you in later on.

Q. Talk about the strength of this year's field. As far as the date goes, are you happy being in this position on the schedule or would you look to change it up?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, again, just like playing two golf courses. It's new for us. I played a great pro-am yesterday. I had a mixed bag of answers like we been wondering. Like some guys are ready to go on vacation this week. Some sponsors, some of their guests, some of the players are ready to start Thanksgiving vacation.

But, a lot of them look at it the other way: I'm going to come to Sea Island to start my vacation for Thanksgiving.

All in all it's been a win for us so far. I think we've gotten a better field. The guys that I've been around from RSM, their clients, their guests, have been very happy. We're happy so far, and it looks like it's working. We're getting -- Stuart says if we can get through Thursday we'll have another nice weather week.

I think it's worked out pretty well so far.

Q. When is it that Justin Thomas first crashed at your house for Jones Cup or the tournament? What's it like that a guy that was sleeping at your house a couple years ago now may be a contender for your Ryder Cup team?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, he started staying -- was it Jones Cup first time or college golf scholarship? We've had a lot -- I'm getting a lot older and I've had a lot of kids that are on tour come through my house or that I've known for a long time.

It's exciting for Justin. He was one of the guys that recruited Dru over at Alabama, and Dru got to play over there for a couple years with him and watch him improve.

I remember asking Dru, Who's the longest hitter on your team? I was saying he was going to save Trey Mullinax. He said, Well, I think Justin is the longest on our team. And he wasn't the tallest guy on the team. So I been watching him for a long time.

He already had a room, and then Dru actually got a room Sunday. We thought he would be at school, so Dru kind of bumped Justin out of his room into his sister's room, so...

Excited to have him. It's great that we're all three going to play together staying in the same house. It's going to be a fun week.

Q. What is different about 22 year olds now than when you were 22 out on tour?
DAVIS LOVE III: I didn't know what I was doing when I came out on tour. I think I was still learning. But I think they're more polished. I watched Randy Myers a few weeks ago, and he had two brothers. I think they were 11 and 9 in the gym working out. They wanted to be better golfers. They weren't even teenagers yet.

They're getting training, playing on a Trackman, better equipment. They're just more prepared. Obviously the AJGA has done an incredible job of preparing them as golfers to go to college. I learned to play competitive golf basically and amateur golf in college.

They've already figured it out by the time they get to high school. So I think just a lot of reasons: They're more prepared; they're ready to go. Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, all very, very mature and ready to go when I they come out on tour.

They feel like they belong rather than they're trying to figure their way around.

Q. Dru, first of all, just housecleaning here. How old were you when you first beat your dad? You've beaten him, right?
DRU LOVE: I have beaten him. I think the first time I beat him was this summer or the summer before.

DAVIS LOVE III: Summer before.

DRU LOVE: So about a year and a half ago. I was 20 I think. Maybe 19. So it happened very recently.

Q. You remember the details?
DRU LOVE: Oh, yeah. Definitely. I was playing with one of my good friends, Craig Allan, who is a club fitter here. We had a great front nine and we went in for lunch. He was telling all the people to make lunch be longer to slow me down and cool me off.

Got to the back nine, and on 18 we both made -- he made a 40-footer and I made an 30-footer for eagle. After mine went in we looked at each other and he said, What was that one for? I said, 65. What was your for? He said, 66, and turned around and walked off. (Laughter.)

So I'll never forget that one.

Q. In terms of playing this week and the way it came about with Sunday, knowing what was at stake, was that more pressure than you normally feel?
DRU LOVE: Yeah, I mean, I think so. I've had more pressure. I wasn't worried about playing in the RSM Classic. I wasn't worried about playing in my first PGA TOUR event. Just wanted to get out here in front of all my family and friends and share the experience with all them. More importantly, I just want to try to go beat him again.

That's what I been telling everyone, so...

Q. Dru, you probably played both these courses a million times. How much will the experience of playing in a high level competition, like the Georgia Amateur, winning out here, help you if it would been someplace where you hadn't won it?
DRU LOVE: I know these courses good enough without having a tournament here. To know that I can come out at high level event and perform, finish the way I did, in a playoff, and, yeah, make the putts I had to make, gives me just a lot more confidence than I would have if I hadn't played in the tournament out here.

I think I'll really rely off that my first round in Seaside, and also knew experiences over on Plantation playing countless junior tournaments over there, too.

DAVIS LOVE III: He was telling me what clubs to hit off the tees on Plantation. He knows his way around here, especially Plantation, better than me. Honestly he probably has played in the last six or eight years with the Junior Jones Cup.


DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah. Seems like he's played Seaside probably more than me as well.

I had to back him off a couple clubs during the State Am because he was hitting it so far because he didn't know what if hit.

But he really did. We talked a lot about a couple holes over there on Plantation. What do you hit off this hole? He knows 'em very well. I think that's why we were getting a lot of push to give him an exemption after he won the State AM.

You know, this is his home course. He's played here so much and he's won the Club Championship and all the Junior Club Championships. It would be a neat story.

But we felt like -- you know, the way we ended up doing it, like the way we did Patton Kizzire last year. It was more fair to more people to give a bunch of local guys a shot.

We had a few other guys that couldn't make it because Q-School got messed up for them. It's a great way to do it. Comfortable place for him. Be uncomfortable maybe on the first tee, but I think once we get him off the first tee, get his dad of the first tee, we'll settle down and have fun.

Q. Davis, at what age or moment with Dru did of an inkling that he might be able to get to this stage where he is now?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I think when he was playing some junior golf. He won his first AJGA tournament he entered. They were like, Why don't you let him play? He's not quite ready. And then they gave him an exemption and he won. They said, Well, I think he's probably ready. You're holding him back.

I said, I'm not really holding him back. He's just got potential to play really well.

We just didn't want him ahead of his ability just because I could ask somebody to give him an exemption to the tournament. He's basically -- every big amateur tournament or junior tournament he's gotten in he's earned his way in or been at a level that he belonged there and he wasn't put under pressure.

Maybe this week he might have stepped over his head, but I told his coach when I sent him over there, I said, If you can help him learn to play golf, this kid can really help you. He's got a lot of ability. I would not send him over his head in any level. He went over there and has proved he can hang in there with the big boys.

He's playing with the best player while Justin Thomas was one of his teammates in the country. He can hang in there with him. I think I realize, like my dad did about me at a young age, that I really wanted it bad and that he has a lot of ability. He makes more birdies than most people I play golf with. He's like his dad. He makes a few bogeys here and there, too, but he's got a lot of potential.

Mark and I both agreed that giving him a shot to try and play his way in was better than giving him an exemption. Obviously proved he can step up. He's won some golf tournaments. He probably hasn't won as many as guys in his category or age group obviously, but he started late. When he gets a chance, he does play well coming down the stretch.

Q. Was there reluctance to give him a spot in this field?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, there was a lot of sentiment to give him an exemption. I think that's the distinction we tried to make, like with Patton and some of the Alabama boys last year. You know, there was a lot of reasons to give a lot of these -- we have a lot of guys living on this island that we wanted to play in the golf tournament.

We talked to the tour last year, talked to RSM, and said, What do you think about this? If we let Patton and Bobby Wyatt, Trey Mullinax, Corey Whitsitt, guys play for this spot last year. Patton obviously won it; had a great year; was a great story.

We got down to the wire again. We had a lot of names on the list of unrestricted exemptions that we wanted to give to, and we felt like if we put Dru in that position he would have earned it rather than being giving a spot.

Josh Teater was going to be a challenge for him. They're playing for a job. Dru is playing for fun basically. Maybe he had a little bit less pressure on him.

But all those guys are local and know the golf courses, and we thought it would be a fair way to do it.

Yes, I have been reluctant the whole way to use your word.

Q. What are your reaction to seeing your dad win at Greensboro?
DRU LOVE: When he was winning all his tournaments, the majority of the 20, I never really got to see any of them. I was at TPC I guess, but I was very young when he won in 2003. When he won Disney in 2008 I wasn't there either.

I don't really remember much. Sorry. To sit there and have him play great the first round and kind of get excited about it and then to see him keep going and keep playing well, it kind of -- I was very proud.

I guess that's a good word to say, proud. I know how hard he worked with his foot, how bad it was and all the surgeries.

So to witness firsthand all the work he put in over the summer off the golf course, you know, to see him come back and get back on top, I was just very proud. We were sitting there with all our team in our living room in Tuscaloosa, and when made that long putt for eagle on...

DAVIS LOVE III: Wasn't that long.

DRU LOVE: Long enough. 14? 15? We all went nuts. It was just a great experience for me to see, for my game, to see someone work as hard as he did to get back.

Q. Dru, where do you feel like your game is heading into the event and any big shots down the stretch that allowed you to beat the other three guys on Sunday?
DRU LOVE: I just got off to a really good start. I birdied the first four holes and I guess I had a four-shot lead through four, or three-shot lead through four.

Once I got up I did everything I could to sort of stay out of results, stay out of the fact that I was leading and had a chance to play in the RSM Classic. Coming down the stretch I made a couple bogeys, but 18 is really where it set in.

I had some people show up to watch and realized it was getting close. I didn't know exactly how much my lead was. I assumed somewhere around two. 18 on Plantation is a very reachable par-5, a very fun hole to finish on. I hit a great drive and hit it on the green to about 15 feet.

I knew right then I had it won after I hit my second shot.

Q. Another story Davis, because I forgot what it was again.
DAVIS LOVE III: I forget, too.

Q. I know you're 51, but give us a break here. Didn't you use Dru's old putter at the Greensboro, and didn't you say Dru used one of your old putters to win this year?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, something happened to his putter and it broke. I was out with surgery and actually somebody else on the team needed a putter, and so I just rounded up some of my old putters.

I went, You know what? The putter in my bag is almost exactly what he was putting with, so I pulled it out of my bag and put them all in a box and sent them over there to see if they could find replacements.

I sent four.

DRU LOVE: Four or five.

DAVIS LOVE III: I think I got two back, or one back.

So I had to go for surgery -- I mean, I had to go to rehab, and they finally said, You can putt. I went to my bag and there was no putter in my bag and all the good ones were gone. I went in Drew's old stuff and pulled one of his out.

Actually it had a Jordan Spieth size grip on it, and so I putted with that for a while.

And the story at the PGA when Tiger said, What are you doing with that big ole grip on that putter? And I took it off.

Yeah, he won once or twice with my putter and I won once with his putter. Good trade for both of us. I'm still putting with the DL 4 putter. The Scotty Cameron guys think it's pretty funny.

Q. (No microphone.)
DAVIS LOVE III: Says DL 4 twice on it.

DRU LOVE: On the back of the putter has it stamped on it.

DAVIS LOVE III: It's funny yo watch somebody feel in your bag and pick it up, What is that? Yeah, I had to borrow it.

Q. One last one for Dru. You're here not because your dad is a great golfer but because of what you put into it and your own desire. Where does that come from? What is it about golf that you liked that made you work at it like you did?
DRU LOVE: Well, just traveling around for my entire young life seeing the PGA TOUR, the way of life on the PGA TOUR. I love it. I love being out here. I love the grind and traveling and coming so see all these great golf courses.

I think that he what it is for me. I just love the sport. Obviously I have a lot of good connections because of the golf my dad has played and who he is, and I've used some of those to help my career advance. But obviously I learned my own love for the game. I love everything about it. I love the grind and just everything you have to put into it to become a good player.

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