home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


August 4, 2004

Davis Love III


TODD BUDNICK: We'd like to welcome Davis Love III, defending champion here at The INTERNATIONAL. Davis, let's talk about defending here at the INTERNATIONAL.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, defending is fine. I've gotten to do it, this is my fourth time this year. It's fun and puts a little more pressure on you and that's nice. Hopefully I can get one of the four defenses right this year. I haven't played great in my three defenses so far. So far I've love to win this one back to back.

This is a great course for me to play. Made a lot of birdies today. I'm excited to get started tomorrow.

Talking to guys last night, I seem to play really well on the weekends and Thursdays have kind of held me back. I'm excited to have an early tee time, great format, great course for me, and maybe get off to a little bit better start than I've been getting off to. Highly unlikely I'll get off to the start I got off to here last year. I have to be a little patient with myself. Hopefully this week will get me closer to a win, if not a win, than I've been this year. I've been playing good but not great.

TODD BUDNICK: Do you feel your game has come back around again.

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, I feel like I'm playing pretty good. Obviously you measure it with wins and I haven't won but I've had a couple close calls. Tiger played some great golf the last ten or 12 holes of the Match Play and beat me. Todd Hamilton birdied the last two holes of the Honda and beat me.

I think last year, other than this tournament, I had some chances for that to happen and that didn't happen. I chipped in on last hole and win or finished good or win and nobody finishes great. I think sometimes it happens right for you and sometimes it doesn't. I think I'm real close to winning. I just need to get on a little bit of a roll for four days rather than two or three like I've been doing.

Q. With Mickelson and Woods and Singh electing to use the week for preparation for Whistling Straits, a course that a lot of you haven't played or seen, did you give any thought about maybe doing the same thing, seeing them doing that?

DAVIS LOVE III: No, I wouldn't . I have done that before where I don't feel up to playing this golf course the week before a major and I've skipped.

This is one where you really want to play if you feel good about the tournament and the golf course. I had bouts that I took two weeks off before this week. So I'm rested and ready to play and excited about playing, rather than feeling like I've got to be careful not to wear myself out. You won't see me on the range for two or three hours every day, but I need to play to get ready.

I played Monday at Whistling Straits, so I feel like I can make a run at this tournament. And if I play five straight days and I'm in contention and I'm tired, I can take a day off at Whistling Straits Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday and not feel I missed anything because I've seen the golf course. I've gotten over the initial questions of, where does it go and what do I do. I have a plan now to play the course where I can even go and play one practice round and be satisfied next week.

It would be easier if last week was the tournament before, because it's a flat golf course and not hard to walk. This one will wear you out and next week will be hard, too, so I can understand it.

Q. You said you played Whistling Straits, without giving away any secrets, what was your plan that you were just talking about?

DAVIS LOVE III: There's a big secret there: Just hit it long and straight. I said to one of the caddies that was caddying for us this there, he said, "Well, it's the same for everybody." And I said. "Well, yeah, it is, except for the ten guys that hit it farther than everybody else." The big strong guys like Vijay and Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, are certainly going to have an advantage. If you wanted to negate that advantage, you ought to go play Marion, not Whistling Straits.

I think other than a few greens like 18, it's a very playable golf course and a pretty fair golf course if you don't get a big wind. If you get a big wind, it's going to be like if you got a wig wind at Turnberry or Carnoustie. It's okay, until things get bad and then it gets very, very difficult. As long as it doesn't blow over 15 or 20 miles an hour, it will be okay and it will be fun to play.

Q. How does it vary from a typical British links course?

DAVIS LOVE III: I would say the difference, there's a few more penal areas where you just cannot hit the ball, like left or right of some of those holes on the lake and the 18th green. You don't see anything like the 18th green anywhere in Scotland or Ireland, England. But it's a little more severe, I would say, if you miss wide.

Q. How much more intense or competitive is it from international players on this tour now than when you first came out on TOUR for wins, tour money that kind of thing?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, it's a lot more. Back when I first started, we had a few guys who lived over here and played week to week and now there's a lot more of them.

Certainly the growth of the game has brought more good athletes to the tour to the United States and you've got a bunch of guys, you know, starting with the A's: Allenby, Appleby, just right on down the list that have moved their family to the United States to play our tour and they are great players.

That's what Tim wanted. That's what the tour wanted. We want the best players in the word. We don't care what flag they are playing under. The Vijay Singhs playing the European Tour, we really have a hard time comparing ourselves five or six times a year.

I think there's just more good players from everywhere else other than the United States when it used to be we had all of the top players, or most of the top players.

I think you see the difference now, even in this tournament, that you don't have them all coming for one week for a major because they are overall the time now. Darren Clarke says: Well, I don't need to go to The INTERNATIONAL to get used to playing American style golf because I do it all the time. It's changed a lot.

But we like having them. I just don't like when they put one flag up and then we play against six or seven. I'm still having a problem with that. The rest of it is fine with me, one on one, is okay.

Q. So you're not looking to restrain foreign players the benefit of your pocketbook?

DAVIS LOVE III: No. If they all went back to their home tours, my pocketbook would shrink because they are not here to make the Tour as good as it is.

I was on the board awhile back when that was foreign exemptions was a big issue. We said, look, if we don't get Colin Montgomerie to come over here and Nick Faldo and whoever at the time, Jose Maria Olazabal, we are missing out. If we want to grow our tour, we have to have the top players in the world. We can't just say well these guys are pretty good and we are best, because they are very good. I.

Think the World Golf Championships, things like that, have spread us more on their side and them more over here. Maybe if we have this conversation in 20 years, there will be one big tour that goes all around the world and then there's a whole bunch of other feeder tours to it, and it's still the PGA TOUR, but it just it does now; it's the worldwide tour, it's just that most of the tournaments are in the United States.

Q. Keeping with this theme, how does being so familiar with the European players change the Ryder Cup and what do you look forward to seeing this year?

DAVIS LOVE III: You know, this will be my sixth, I guess, in a row and I think it's changed a little just because you say, I don't know Ken Brown or Mark James, and then you show up and you play them and you don't know what to think when you're playing them or what to say.

I have a lot of friends that play on the other team that I play practice rounds with, like Darren Clarke. I've got Darren Clarke cigars this week and he's not here; hauled them all the way out here and I've got to hold them for a week until next week.

There's a lot of guys right on down the list that are friends of ours that we play against all the time. If I have a match with Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn, I'm just as excited about it as if I had a match over here or a pairing with Fred Couples and Justin Leonard. They are fun guys to be around and fun guys to play with, and it's a pairing I look forward to.

So it's changed it a little bit. It's more friendly in the hotel, certainly, than it used to be. And my wife was a big part of that, saying, look, we can go down to their hall and go to their party and play cards with them and play a game with them because they are our friend. Sure we want to try to beat them, but let's be friends and have fun. If they have a party when they win or we have a party when we win, let's do it all together and make it fun. And the Presidents Cup has helped with that because that is inherently more fun because it's all the guys that play on the same tour, basically.

I think it's changed a little bit. The competition is just as fierce and we're just as proud to win, but I think it's a lot more friendly; whether the fans believe that, it is. We look forward to it from the competition and from the big trip for us, it's fun to go hang out with all your friends.

Q. Are you anticipating how this year is going to play out, with the course and the different players?

DAVIS LOVE III: It always seems to be close no matter how much we analyze it. It always comes down till, it's real close. I think our team is very strong. We've got a lot of youth that are excited about their chance to play their first or some of the guys, second Ryder Cup, and some guys get their first win. I think we have a lot of youthful enthusiasm and experience, especially we get Jay Haas on there, between me and Jay and Phil, we'll have a lot of Ryder Cups and a lot of experience, so it will be fun.

Q. Speaking of Ryder Cup, you have reached that point of your career, where now your captains are also former teammates. Give us an idea of what it's like with Hal as captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team?

DAVIS LOVE III: We were sitting around talking maybe Saturday night of last Ryder Cup. I was Ashley Sutton if she was ready to be a captain as wife, she said, not me, not me, we're not ready, I said, well, you've got about three days to get ready because they are going to tell you. It hard to imagine making that transition from player to captain. I mean, Hal and Ashley, when I've been around them have been team leaders and fun to be around and positive influences, not only on the Tour, but off the Tour as parents and community leaders.

So I think he's going to be a great captain, it's going to be a lot of fun, and he promised my son he could come deer hunting again this year so I have to get some points so that doesn't change. He's as positive and as enthusiastic as a guy as you can play golf with in a match like that, so I know he'll be great as a captain.

Q. Obviously, somewhere down the road, your name is going to come up in that list and you've played for six different now seven different captains. Have you started thinking about that day when Davis Love III is the captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup Team?

DAVIS LOVE III: I've been trying to figure if I can play good enough to go all the way to 50 and confuse the PGA. That would be my goal first, to try to be like Jay Haas and stay competitive all the way till I get eligible for the Senior Tour.

You know I would definitely love to play eight or ten teams in a row, so that's my first goal. And then once they run through the long list of Freddies and Azingers and all the guys that deserve it, I hope maybe I'll get a chance, but maybe I'll play my way out of it.

Q. When you look around and see only one other guy in the Top 12 in the World Rankings, does this tournament have a different feel this year and do you approach a tournament any differently when you don't see Phil around or some of the others?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I've played a lot of tournaments where guys that were not in the Top 12 or 15 in the world were the guys that beat you after the first or second round. I don't think it changes the winning score at all. It might add a little pop to the field in the beginning.

I don't think it's that much different from the last few years here. We are missing maybe one or two guys, but you've got the British Open Champion which is exciting, I guess his first week back since he won. And you've got Els and Norman and a lot of good names and a lot of major winners and a lot of guys that are playing good like Jay Haas. I assume Scott Verplank is still here grinding for points. You have a lot of guys trying to make the Ryder Cup Team and a lot of guys like Stewart Cink and Jonathan Byrd. I this it's pretty dang strong, so I don't say: Good, I can relax, because one or two guys can missing.

It obviously hurts the week before a major. You add some guys that are trying to do some things and you lose some guys that are playing to rest up. But it still is The INTERNATIONAL and is still a fun format and there will be a lot of great golf. I think when a guy is coming down the stretch on Sunday, I don't think they will be saying, dang, they only had 1 out of 12, they had a guy at 38 and 39 and 40 and it's going to be an exciting finish. Although if the greens keep getting faster like this, it will be in the low 30s rather than the low 40s.

Q. Talking about the depth of field, Jack used say you could eliminate 80 percent of the field before a tournament started. Is it getting increasingly difficult to try to figure out who can win the thing?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, yes, sure, I think if you're at a big tournament and you're at the British Open, you can say, here is ten guys, and five or six of them will be around Top 10. But then you can't pick the winner. I mean, it's almost impossible. There's too many good players, too many guys that can win. And there was a point on the leaderboard last week where it looked like a who's who at the British, and then there was also a time when there was a bunch of names from our tour that looked like just a regular tour event. There's a lot of guys, and we've seen it in a lot of majors recently, our tour, anybody in the top 150 can win any week, any time.

So when I come in here I don't look and see, oh, good, Mickelson is not playing. That doesn't open up a spot for me, because you know there's ten guys that are going to shoot the same number he is going to shoot unless he plays great. I'd say you can eliminate ten percent maybe, now or 20.

Q. Just wondering if you've had much contact with David Duval since he's come back, and if you've seen him as a changed man in any way.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, he's certainly changed in a lot of ways. He's obviously not playing the way David Duval plays because of some injuries and swing change he has not perfected or still working on.

Off the golf course, he's a completely different guy. He's very happy and content. I've known him since he came out on TOUR and known him very well the last five years and he's changed a lot in the last five years. I know most people that know him very well have seen a big change in him. I think people that don't know him that well might not have ever known him one way or another. But he's very, very happy and I'm excited for him and I hope that now that he's been to a couple majors. I guess he withdrew at the British, but he's been to a couple big tournaments, got his feet wet and said hello to everybody and got a couple rounds in and kind of knocked the newness off of it; that now he can come out and start playing, play some regular Tour event and play golf.

He's got to work his way back. We all do when you're not playing well. So it's going to take him a while. He's going to have to string some shots together and a couple good rounds, but I think he'll be back because his attitude off the golf course is so good.

Q. We've had a wide array of major champions, from Ben Curtis to Phil Mickelson; is that just a matter of parity on TOUR from top to bottom?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think so I think it's what we said when Tiger was winning every other one. We said, now, look, this is unusual; you guys don't understand, this is phenomenal. It's going to go back to normal sometime when we get a streak of different guys winning.

But, yeah, as far as Shaun Micheel and then Phil Mickelson and then Ben Curtis and then Retief Goosen and Ernie Els, you know, you go back and forth, that's the way it should be. There's so many good players. They are setting the majors up so hard now, it takes a lot of patience, perseverance, good play, scrambling, luck, it takes a lot to win, and you see all different types of players being able to win for that reason. There's not just, you know, all of the long hitters to do well in a major, all of the good putters. It takes every good part of your game, and I think really, guys should feel like going in, anybody can win, not just the big names.

TODD BUDNICK: Thanks for your time, Davis.

End of FastScripts.

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297