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August 7, 2018

Davis Love

St. Louis, Missouri

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everybody. So in the history of golf, there have only been 14 people, 14, who have ever played in 100 major championships or more. It's a pretty elite club, as you can see from the television monitors there. Some would argue that it's easier perhaps to get into the World Golf Hall of Fame than to get into the 100 major championship club. But on Thursday this week, Davis Love III will add this amazing accomplishment to his resume.

Davis, welcome back to Bellerive Country Club. First off, what goes through your mind when you see a list like that?

DAVIS LOVE III: It's amazing to be in that group, to make it that far, and I don't see very many guys on that list I can catch, hopefully a few of them, but it's amazing to be in that group, and when Julius reminded me that it was my 100th and then that only 14 people had done it, it's pretty amazing. Another reminder that you're getting older and you played for a long, long time, but I've been blessed to play this long. When you think about it, if you played all four of them for 25 years, that's pretty incredible, and I spread it out over a little bit longer than that.

But I'm excited to be in another one. I've been working hard this summer to get ready to play again after another injury, but to get ready to play in the only Major I knew I was in this year and compete. And then obviously next week's been a great week for me on TOUR, so I'm looking forward to this week and next week and getting back out there and competing.

THE MODERATOR: So at the '92 PGA Championship here at Bellerive, you finished tied for 33rd. That's a long time ago. What do you remember about the championship then?

DAVIS LOVE III: Not a whole lot. I keep trying to get out on to the golf course and play today and re-learn the golf course. I think the grass is a little bit different than when we played back then. But the course looks the same, and obviously it's a big, long, tough test, and with it wet, it's going to be at least long for a couple days. So I don't remember a whole lot about it, but it's a straightforward golf course. Major championship looking, long and tough golf course.

THE MODERATOR: So speaking to PGA Championship, we have another list for you to ponder. This week you will have played in 31 PGA Championships. What do you think of this list, and is there a chance that you can catch anybody on this list? Realistically.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, if I don't get injured again, stay healthy and hitting it the way I'm hitting it right now, I would think I could play a few more competitively. I would like to compete in some more Majors. I don't want to just play. If I feel like I'm just showing up to catch Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, I wouldn't do that. But if I feel like I can compete and have some fun and not get in the way, I would love to keep competing and break that record.

And then there's a guy, Mark Brooks, in there that has on the PGA TOUR stats, has the most PGA TOUR starts, so that's the guy I'm gunning for. I would like to try to hang in there long enough to get over 800 PGA TOUR starts and pass Jay Haas and Mark Brooks.


DAVIS LOVE III: So hopefully whatever that is, 50 more. That includes a lot of Majors.

THE MODERATOR: Before we go to Q&A, we listed some special accomplishments in your life since you turned professional in 1985. Take a look at this list and maybe just tell us what you're maybe most proud of.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well caddieing last year in the U.S. Open, I think that should count as a Major to me. But a lot of them that say Ryder Cup included in there I think are some of my most memorable moments and my most proud moments. I think being named captain in 2012 and 2016, Bubba Watson said it eloquently a few times that's like getting in the Hall of Fame, if you're named Ryder Cup captain, and that's a big goal for all of us is to not only play on the team but be a part of the team.

And I never thought early in my career I wanted to be a captain, but once you play in some and you watch your mentors be captain, you really want to do it. So I think all that Ryder Cup -- obviously, winning Wyndham in 2015 was a pretty cool thing, but now it's on to -- I mean, watching Justin Thomas come from staying in my house as a teenager and playing college golf and all the way to world No. 1, the things that I've gotten to see in golf, it just never ends, the cool stuff.

Justin walked up on the 1st tee today and teed off, and I went, it's just amazing that I've literally seen his whole professional career. He was a junior player at the Wyndham playing in his first PGA TOUR event, son of a club pro, and they introduced him to me, and now I'm going to dinner tonight and he's big buying me dinner as a PGA Champion. So it's pretty incredible what I've gotten to see. So there's a lot of neat stuff on there, and it just keeps coming.

THE MODERATOR: That's really neat. Questions folks.

Q. Do you remember anything at all about your first Major experience, '86 PGA?
DAVIS LOVE III: A little bit. Guys were asking me about the golf course this week, and I said '92? I can't remember anything. I don't even know which way the holes go. But, yeah I remember how excited I was to get in the PGA Championship, and my dad as a club pro, the PGA Championship was a big deal to him. I got to go to some PGAs with him, so that was pretty neat. The way that one ended was very exciting, and so it was a memorable tournament. I don't remember what I shot, which is probably a good thing, but it got me started in wanting to play major championships for sure.

My first U.S. Open was a couple days after my daughter was born, and I had a slow start getting into the Majors, but then once I did, I played a lot of them, a lot of them in a row.

Q. Go back down memory lane. What do you remember about 2001? You're in the Am Ex field here. Is there anything that comes to mind? Obviously, the tragedy and where you were?
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, I didn't make it here. My caddie that week -- told me today, he actually walked the golf course, and I didn't. But I was on my way here, and like a lot of people, got grounded on a flight and had to drive home or find your way home. But I did a lot of work for American Express, and the vice chairman of American Express and I were good friends, still good friends and I immediately called to check on him and the employee friends that I knew in the city, and he said, we will not be playing golf. You can go on home. So I went on home.

A lot of guys came on out here, but I knew from talking to him that there was bigger things than golf and that we weren't going to play.

The golf course, I just remember it even back then being a big and long golf course and tough but also very fair, and I've only seen a few holes in and out because of the weather, but it looks like it's a good setup, but it's going to play long this year, too.

Q. A quick follow-up on Tiger Woods was just in here asked about possibly being a pick. Having gone through that process as a captain twice, right now can you imagine making the argument for a Tiger Woods to get a pick this time around if he doesn't qualify?
DAVIS LOVE III: I think it's a big if, the way he's playing. He's moving up the list pretty steady. I don't know what he's got, one of his favorite tournaments this week, so you know, if he doesn't, yeah, I think he's got a good case. I think there's a list of points per start, and he's done really well in that. He's got a lot of top-10s.

But I go back to looking the way I looked at it, if I was a captain, I'm looking to make pairings, and everybody on the team wants to play with Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods or some veteran player that's done it a lot. So I think he's an easy pick from that regard, and the way he's been playing, if I was on the other side, I wouldn't want him picked, so that's another good reason.

So when we get in the room and we start talking about it, I'm sure he'll be definitely up on the list, if he doesn't make it.

Q. Jordan has got a chance to complete the Grand Slam this week. As a guy who has won a Major and come close in a number of other ones, can you talk about the accomplishment of picking off all four of those in a career? And, obviously, it's a pretty elite list.
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, when you're still a kid. He's got a lot of time to do it. But, yeah, Jordan, Justin, Dustin, they're accomplishing so much so fast, it's incredible. Nothing's for sure in this game, but I would think he would eventually do it and win a bunch more. But I know what it's meant to him, and now it seemed like Jordan pushed Justin to get going and now Justin's pushing Jordan to get going again, and I think they're going to go back and forth for quite awhile and probably win a lot of them, but I wouldn't be surprised if both of them get the slam.

Q. Two things, when did you feel comfortable playing in a major championship?
DAVIS LOVE III: Probably from '97 on, it was a little easier, but you're never really comfortable. I felt like I belonged more, like maybe in the mid '90s, but that was obviously well into my career, eight or ten years. But again, I didn't play them steady until probably in the '90s. I was in and out of the Masters or in and out of the U.S. Open.

But, yeah, it took awhile to get comfortable, but you're still -- I mean, I'm 54 years old, and I'm excited for Thursday, you know? And I'm not on the favorites list. So the guys that are favored, titles like best player to never win a major or a guy with three of the four, everybody's got a goal, and it's winning major championships and being a part of history, and I think everybody gets jacked up about it. So you're never really quite as comfortable as a regular week, but I think Tiger or Phil, their preparation and everything gets them prepared, but they're still excited and nervous about it.

Q. And something else, you mentioned about Tiger and all the pros of why you could see him being on the team. Are you willing to give us some of the cons?
DAVIS LOVE III: We would have to kick him out of some meetings, probably. He's been so instrumental. Even in 2015 when we were in Korea, calling us and asking questions and giving advice on pairings and what was going on, but '16, '17 teams he was so instrumental in helping us with pairings and ideas and game plan, but if you're talking about him, you need him out of the room for picks or for making pairings. So it would be a little bit awkward. That would be the only negative.

But I think it's -- you get a team leader -- Phil's been that basically the last four or five probably Ryder Cups. He's been a playing captain. He's been a leader for the team. So I think he'll fit in. But that would be the only awkward thing is talking -- having to leave him out of some conversations on the picks. You don't want him in the room if you're talking about pick him or somebody else. So that would be the only awkward part.

But he's added so much value off the golf course for us the last two that, if we could have him for both this time, it would be great.

Q. The task force when it was created a few years ago or whatever, a lot of talk was about -- it wasn't about the next Ryder Cup. It was about the next 10, 12, 20. With the future in mind, as a former captain, was there a set number of rookies that you wanted on the team? Because right now there's only one that's qualified for an automatic position. So was there a certain number, or did it not matter?
DAVIS LOVE III: No, it didn't matter. We want the 12 best players we can get. I know Darren tried to kind of spin that as exciting that he had so many rookies, but it was a nervous thing for them that they had so many guys that hadn't played before. Obviously we would like to take the 12 guys that played the Presidents Cup and played unbelievable golf and just tee them off again, but you're going to get a slightly different team every year, but I think we're going to -- we'll probably end up with some guys that are rookies and some guys that are a little bit less experienced, like a Justin Thomas.

But, no, we want whoever is hot and whoever we think is going to be hot. Like Ryan Moore, he got hot kind of late, but we felt like he was going to stay hot through the playoffs and then in the Ryder Cup, and he proved that he did. So that's what we're looking for, doesn't matter if they played or not. I remember picking Rickie Fowler as a rookie, with Corey Pavin, and he was the hottest putter going. You know, that's what you want.

Q. We all can assume making the winning putt under the rainbow at Winged Foot would be your No. 1 Major moment. What would you list as No. 2?
DAVIS LOVE III: I think caddieing for my son and teeing off at 6:50 at Erin Hills Thursday morning, having Bob Ford send him off on the first hole, that was, that might top the rainbow. If we would have made the cut -- and I say we because I screwed him up -- but if he would have made the cut, maybe that would have been a little better, but it was pretty neat to see him go through both stages of qualifying and then to play in the championship and then let me caddie for him. So that would be right up there. That was pretty neat.

Q. With your Winged Foot moment, having Mark on the bag was extra special, but did that also make it tough on that last hole that day?
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, it was very emotional. Playing with Justin, Justin had just won the British Open and watched him literally stand out there and watch him and watch him get the trophy, and then you want to win, but I felt bad for him the way it was ending for him because two or three holes to go like it was pretty much over.

But, yeah, and my mom was there watching and had a lot of family that had come in, and so it was a very emotional win, especially my dad and Jack Lumpkin coming out of the Met section and Claude Harmon, and there was so many great stories that people don't even know about that tied the club professionals together and what it meant to my family. So, yeah, it was an emotional thing for all of us.

Q. In a hundred Majors, if you could have a mulligan on one swing, what would you take?
DAVIS LOVE III: That's a very good question. The 17th hole of Oakland Hills when I bogeyed the last two holes. I had something happen in the gallery. They said it was a pipe broke or something when I was hitting, and I hit a bad iron shot, missed the green, didn't get it up-and-down. So I would like to go back and hit that one again. Then maybe I wouldn't have bogeyed both 17 and 18.

I 3-putted 18 after two good shots, so it was an unfortunate way to finish. And my caddie and I got a bad yardage on the first hole of that championship and made a double, so if you ask my brother one swing he would like to have over, it would be a yardage, not a swing.

THE MODERATOR: So for photographers, we would like you to get this shot. We're going to bring in something right now not only for you to take a photograph of and all of those that don't have cameras, you can eat this photo opportunity after we're done.

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