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October 13, 2004

Davis Love III


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Okay. I'm joined here by Davis Love, III, past champion. Davis, thanks for joining us. Season's starting to wind down, maybe we could start with talking about the goals for you the rest of the year. You secured your spot in the TOUR Championship and you've had a solid year, I'm sure you would like to get a win under your belt though.

DAVIS LOVE, III: Yeah, that's a good term. Solid year, but not great. I would like to win, obviously. And I would like to get into Mercedes. I don't know, after this week, other than the TOUR Championship, how much I'm going to play, if I'm going to play the next two or not. I'm kind of at a crossroads I could make a lot of money and not really move up that much so really it's just about trying to get a win. And I don't know if 8th or 7th or 6th on the Money List really makes that much difference in the long run. One is, I guess, the only guy that they really remember. Vijay is not going to be -- he's going to be the No. 1 guy. My goal's, obviously, is to win whenever I play. I want to play well here after not playing well last year and wherever I play, TOUR Championship, Tiger's tournament, I would like to get a win before the end of the season. That's really about it. I think we all get run down at the end of the year, but after the Ryder Cup, I kind of hit a lull there. I didn't play well in Ireland and I would like to have a good week this week here. And if I see some really good signs and I come close, I may decide to play another one before the TOUR Championship. First of all I would just like to play good here.

Q. Are you at a point where a year without a win is disappointing? Even if you're making 3 million dollars?

DAVIS LOVE, III: Yeah, the two before last year were disappointing. I felt like I started off pretty good and had some chances to win and last year things kind of went my way. I either ran away with it or I chipped in at the end or I putted great on Sunday or whatever. And I would end up winning. This year at the start of the year I had a fear that "would have, should have, could have" won if different things would have happened. And when you get that, the confidence isn't as high and you're not as much on a roll, it gets harder to get up there to the top. So I think that's kind of where I've been this summer is I'm, on video my swing's good and the stroke's good and I come in with a good attitude when I start the tournament and I feel like I'm well rested and then I make a double bogey and I have some rounds this year that were really strange, two triple bogeys and in a round twice and two doubles in a round starting off on the tournament in Ireland when I was playing, felt like I was playing pretty good. So just kind of flat. Not playing with as much confidence. So that's what I really tried this last week is to say, are you going to play the rest of the year or take the rest of the year off? You can't be anywhere in between. So I kind of got refocused on that I'm just going to go play Greensboro and try to win and make a decision where to play after that to try to get excited about the last month, rather than just getting it over with.

Q. How does the Ryder Cup fit into that? Is that part of the disk appointment or is that totally separate from your individual year? How do you weigh that?

DAVIS LOVE, III: For me, no, it's disappointing. I know that it takes a lot of the, a lot of the excitement out of playing when you get beat and you put so much into it, you put a year and a half into making the team and you put so much energy into getting ready and to playing and it affects you. It affects you the week before, it affects you, we all made the cut the week before but none of us really played that good in Canada and then we didn't play any good at the Ryder Cup and then after that we had a few guys have some decent finishes, but it's just, it takes a lot of energy out of you. And it takes obviously your confidence to get beat soundly like that, you know, don't play well, you come back and say, okay, now what's going on? Rather than I'm sure that those guys after they win they're on a high and the confidence is running. Plus it's been three straight for us. So it's kind -- it kind of deflates you a little bit.

Q. The consensus on Monday was that the course was in really good shape. What are your impressions of it?

DAVIS LOVE, III: It's very good, I guess they took three or four days off and didn't play it over the weekend and I couldn't be happier. It just gets better and better. After seeing a lot of comments and pictures on the Internet with the summer about for people that have played it that were real happy with it. And the members you, I keep stressing that, the members are the ones that are the most important in the end. And they're very happy. They like the course and they keep coming up and saying that they're enjoying it and I get good reports from the club and from the greens keepers. So we're very happy with it. Now that the players here this week, it's like 150 guys all go to an art gallery , we're all going to like different things, some guys don't like these style of greens and some guys jump up-and-down like Lee Janzen was doing putting here yesterday he was so excited. He said this is awesome. It looks like Mountain Lake, which is a course near him in Orlando. An old 1904 course. And guys that like that kind of thing, they're happy this week. And I've had guys come up teasingly say every hole has a false front. Well, yeah, the uphill holes all have false front. But the downhill holes don't. And some guys like Pete Dye and some guys don't. Some guys like Nicklaus courses, some guys like Fazio courses, some like C D MacDonald, because everybody has a different style. But I'm very happy with the way it plays. And the rough is not nice, but hopefully they will mow it for the members next week.

Q. Is that the biggest difference from this year to last year?

DAVIS LOVE, III: Yeah, it's more mature. I think some of the fairways that didn't quite get good, like 5 and 6 last year are much better this year. You can see last year the guys that are, that have been around a long time, they could see which holes were planted first and which holes were planted last. And that's not what you want when you're playing a golf course. You want it to look finished and ready and done. And we had the out of play areas where the guys that drove it in the fairway every hole, they shot 22-under like Shigeki. If you're on the fairways and the greens it was very nice. But if you were spraying it around a little bit you got some bad lies and some funky stuff happening and it wasn't the best conditions. I played outside the ropes some and off the greens some and it wasn't as good as obviously being in play. So this year there will be more rough, more consistent conditions than we're used to and pretty much even anywhere around the fairway or around the green you're going to be on grass.

Q. 22-under wins it again?

DAVIS LOVE, III: I wouldn't doubt it. Last year with no rough if you were inside the ropes you were playing, you were still playing for birdies. This time and we did it today in the pro-am and yesterday, just playing the round, if you hit it in the rough you got to go look for it. It's not going to be sitting up for you every time. It reminds me of the rough when we played the American Express in Atlanta last year when the ball would bounce along and you would see it and you would go oh, it will be okay and then it kind of went down, it's not that deep but the ball just disappears.

And that type grass is kind of matty fluffy grass, the ball just sits down in it. And it's going to be tough. A lot tougher. Especially around the greens. Chipping out of it is a guessing game.

Q. How is the rain affected it?

DAVIS LOVE, III: I didn't think it was that bad. It was softer, the greens were softer today than they were yesterday. But I think that if the sun stays out and we get a little bit of wind, which they're predicting, a little bit of wind for tomorrow, it will dry back up.

Q. Tiger got married and there's a lot of discussion if when he's going to return and he's having too much fun and all those kind of things. Considering the time of year and reflecting back on when you got married, can you understand that, that maybe it's, there's only a couple more events left and you can understand just kind of kicking back and having a good time?

DAVIS LOVE, III: Well, I think that's what I was saying earlier. He knows he's not going to win the money title or Player of the Year and I know I'm not. I went hunting last weekend and with a couple buddies at home and then with my son yesterday. And/or day before yesterday. And I'm like, you know, it would be nice to stay home the rest of the year. So I can see a big event like that for him it would be hard to come back. It's that time of year where you are either chasing something or you're trying to figure out what to do for next year. So I can understand him not wanting to play much the rest of the year. We're all in the same boat. We kind of like got the after Ryder Cup kind of blues a little bit. You got to get your self remotivated.

Q. Do you think that maybe, I mean they just released the schedule for next year and it's again, the same and the of tournaments, basically, do you think the schedule is maybe too long?

DAVIS LOVE, III: Well, the schedule is basically been the same length except for the fact that there's opposite events since I've been playing. But the TOUR and I, I tell this to a lot of the sponsors that we want to do better, we want to do this and that and we want a better date.

The TOUR's a victim of its own success. A lot like NASCAR. Like every week's really good. And you just can't play, if you said well I'm just going to play the four and a half million dollars to five million dollars tournaments, you got a full year, you know. So it's, there's a lot more really good tournaments and now every one of them is on TV instead of -- I remember coming to the fall and Thursday, Fridays, they were definitely not going to be on TV. So it's just the growth of it. That's why you see so many tournaments fighting for the prime spots because they know that the top players in modern golf since Jack Nicklaus laws and Arnold Palmer, the top players have only played 20 to 24 tournaments. Jack Nicklaus never played 40 in a year. And Vijay Singh is the greatest thing that ever happened to the TOUR in the last 10 or 15 years. A No. 1 player that place a bunch of tournaments. And he's a sponsor's dream. So we need more guys like Vijay that are super human. Can play every week. We keep thinking he's going to just one day he's just going to self destruct. But obviously he's physically more talented and stronger than most guys, to be able to put up with the -- you know, mentally is the hardest part and then physically. Mentally I can last longer than I can physically during a year. I just get worn down. But there's a lot of good ones. There's too many and it's hard to say no. That's the hardest thing is who you say no to. I really want to play at Tampa, because a friend runs the tournament, he's always been nice to me and we're talking about next year already and I want to play Ford, I want to play Honda, I want to play Bay Hill, I want to play Players, I want to play in Atlanta. I'm like I can't play them all or I would be dead for the Masters. So it's just a lot of good tournaments and we can't play them all.

Q. But the reaction from fans here with the Carolina roots, is it pretty much stay consistent?

DAVIS LOVE, III: Yeah, they have always been very supportive. They want me to do well and that's probably part of the reason why I haven't done that well up here is especially after last year redoing the course and everybody excited about it. Just too many other thoughts in my head. So this year I made a promise to myself I was going to be more patient, more relaxed and just play and enjoy it. Last year there was a lot going on. So hopefully this year it can be better. The fans have always been very supportive and they want to see you do well. Hopefully I can do better this time.

Q. If guys aren't going to play in more events, add events to their schedule, is there a responsibility to play different events?

DAVIS LOVE, III: That gets brought in a lot. You know. Jack pretty much played the same schedule every year. He played the big tournaments and the Majors, it's hard, again, you play the four Majors and the players, and then you play three World Golf Championship events, and you play your Wachovias and your other ones Colonials, Hilton Heads and Memorials, next thing you know you got a full schedule. And think where do I start add in? It's hard you want to do places that do a great job with charity like Dallas or places like FedEx where they have great story with the hospital or your friend's the tournament director, things like that. But it's just hard to what do you say to a guy you played 15 years in a row and then you say, well, I need to play over here because I never played this guy's tournament. He goes, now you're leaving me hanging. I built a fan base around you. You come here every year. And so it's hard. The top players are kind of in a tough situation because everybody wants -- there's a list of 15 to 20 guy that is every tournament wants. And they need to realize that if they get half of that 20, they're doing good. And then there's a hundred other guys that are going to take those 20 guys spot, you know. And that's what the TOUR really does a good job in saying, look, these guys are stars too. You just don't know it yet. And you need to learn that these are going to be the guys that you're going to have to go to in the future. Like you said, 6 to 12 Ryder Cuppers, that's awfully good this time of year. So I don't know what the Money List is, but it looks to me like there's a lot of, a very very good field here for this time of year. Just because you don't have Tiger or Vijay or David Duval or Fred Couples doesn't mean that there's not a bunch of good, great players here.

Q. There was some discussion about the Ryder Cup, obviously you've had a chance to kind of reflect back on it. Do you think it's time to take a look at making some changes to either the selection process or maybe how from a captain's viewpoint how the captain approaches it or how the PGA of America approaches it?

DAVIS LOVE, III: I know there's been a lot of discussion certainly like go to the Super Bowl three years in a row and you don't win or like the Braves this year, what do you do? What do you do to get to the World Series? But you know, I don't know what different team you would have had. You would have had maybe done it a little bit different. You might have had Steve Flesch rather than Fred Funk or whatever. The 12 guy that is go just have to play better is what I keep saying. The captain, I thought Hal took a look at everything that had happened the last few years, because he was on the team, and he said look, I'm going to try something different and Hal's not a guy to sit back and just let things happen. He goes, look, let's try something different. And we didn't play very good. And the way it works out is if we win the Ryder Cup, the players that hit the shots and make the putts and won the last match are the heroes. If we lose, the captain's the goat. And that's just the way it is. I am realizing that if they're going to be asking me to be a captain one day I'll go like, you guys go win and if we lose I'll take the heat for it. That's the head coach's job. So what you can do different? I don't know. We need to birdie the first hole rather than letting them birdie the first hole. That seems like every day that happens to us. We need to win the first match rather than losing it. And I take a lot of responsibility for the way I played on Friday and I think a few other guys do as well, that if I would have done my job and made Chad Campbell relax and play his game the way he normally does and we would have won that point, or Tiger and Phil wouldn't have got beat, that first match, I think it would have been a lot of, a big difference, you know. I think we could have made -- if we would have been 2-up Hal would have been a hero, you know. I said, look, he took a chance, he through everything he had at them and they got ahead, finally they won 3 to 1 in the morning on Friday rather than losing 3-1. And it's momentum. And they have got it. And so I don't know who was sitting at home that we needed and what Hal could have done different. Obviously I looked at it a million different ways. I'm like Tiger and Phil and Jim Furyk and whoever else, David Toms, that have played a bunch of them in a row, and it's no fun. We want to win worse than anybody else wants us to win. So what do we do next? I don't know. There's a lot of ideas. But every captain's done it a little bit differently. I played for 11 different captains. Everybody's done it a little bit differently. But if you don't play good, it really doesn't matter. And we played great three or four President's Cups, and we played great maybe three days of the Ryder Cup since I've played. We just haven't played that good. That's just all it boils down to. And there's no excuse for that. It's just look you go -- I went to the PGA and I was playing great and I shot 78 the first day. What are you doing different? Like the old school guys Jim Colbert and them, they say play better. I think that's it. That's a very boring answer, but I think it's what it boils down to. We're pressing too hard and the not playing good.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Okay, thanks Davis.

End of FastScripts.

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