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May 19, 2004

Davis Love III


Q. Talk a little bit about how happy you are with the beginning of your season.

DAVIS LOVE III: I'm off to a good start - obviously not as good as last year. I feel like my game's real close, and we're hearing that from a lot of guys, like they're real close. But I've been close a few times. You know, I should have, could have, won a couple of tournaments. I've been making enough birdies and enough eagles, but I'm just having a bad hole here and there, a bad day here and there, keeping me from winning. I'm looking forward to the summer - obviously three more majors and a lot of big tournaments coming up. So I'm pretty positive about the years' start.

Q. We have another big tournament this week with three of the top ten players. How much more does this get you up for playing?

DAVIS LOVE III: I know, from the inside, that there are great players every week, no matter what the rankings are - that it's hard to win, no matter if it's one out of the top 10 or 10 out of the top 10, it's still hard to win. We saw that last week with a playoff on a hard golf course with a lot of guys that could have won right behind them. It's nice when the big names are around, but when you come to a place like Colonial, it's a great course and a great tournament, a lot of history and a lot of great names on the board - it gets you motivated to play when you come out and see that there are a lot of great players who have won this tournament.

Q. Talk a little bit about how you find the course this year.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, this course - for the best - doesn't change very much from year to year. It's firmed up a little bit today, I think. If this weather continues, it'll be firm and fast like they like it - hard to keep the ball in the fairway and hard to get the ball close to the pin, and the greens are pretty fast. So, it's in good shape - like we're used to here, windy and hot and dry ... hopefully dry.

Q. Has your physical condition been a little less consistent this year.

DAVIS LOVE III: No, I've been feeling good. I got tired and worn out after the match play. That was a tiring week, and the week after was very tiring. Physically I've been good, but my teacher and I have been going back and forth on where I should be going with my backswing. We finally figured something out this weekend. I think I've been playing enough good golf to be close, but I haven't been swinging quite good enough to be consistently consistent. After the Wachovia ... you know, I made a double and two triples on the weekend along with a ton of birdies and an eagle. And when you're playing like that you know that something's not quite right - you're mental side or your physical side. But I think I was a little off - something I was doing with my backswing. I've worked on that, and have kind of gotten my confidence back to hit shots rather than swinging the club, trying to put the club in position. I think I'm in better position with my full swing. I think I'm better than I've been all year. It may not pay off this week, but I know it'll pay off this summer. I'm feeling good and playing good, and sometimes when you're playing good you let something slip. I just think I've been letting something slip, whether it's been mental one week or being a little bit off in my swing one week. I feel good and I think I can play good, but I'm just not quite doing it.

Q. What are your thoughts on the U.S. Open at Shinnecock and what part of your game would have to be 110 percent?

DAVIS LOVE III: That's a good question because that's what I'm working toward right now. I felt like I wasn't driving the ball straight enough to be consistent. At Wachovia I hit some bad drives and it cost me some big numbers, some bogeys. I think driving the ball is obviously important at a U.S. Open, whether it's with a 1-iron or a driver, a 3-iron or any club. That's what I'm working on - being comfortable with my full swing to hit enough fairways. I know I'm playing good enough if I can get the ball in the fairway. You see a tournament like last week - deep rough and guys who can hit the fairway had an advantage, didn't have to scramble around as much. That's what I'm looking for.

Q. How has it been for you this time of year (about the same time as death of brother-in-law last year)?

DAVIS LOVE III: That's why I withdrew last week. I wanted to play and had planned on playing for a long time, but then the closer it came to the year anniversary, I felt it would be better for me to be with my family at home and it turned out to be a great weekend - spent a lot of time with the family and a lot of time on the driving range. I'm not much on dates - the day my dad died or anything like that are no different to me than any other day, but for a lot of the family it was an emotional week. It was good to be home. This time last year I withdrew from everything basically for a month. Some of the amateurs today said, "Why didn't you play last week" or "Why didn't you play here last year." Those kind of questions - you really don't want to go into it. "I had to be at home this time last year," is kind of my stock answer. But we got through a year, and now we can move on. I miss my dad every day, and I miss my brother-in-law every day, but I don't really change because it's the 15th or the 20th or it's a Thursday. But I'm pretty good at playing golf Thursday through Sunday, and I love Colonial. I'm happy to be here and ready to play. I think this summer will be a lot more fun for my family.

Q. Can you compare the Byron Nelson and Colonial? This tournament had the history, but the Nelson has really ratcheted it up.

DAVIS LOVE III: It's what we've been stressing, whether it's in golf course setup or in places we play is variety. We have a variety of different kinds of tournaments. I know what happened is that Dallas was over there thinking, "Why is Colonial so good? Why does everybody play Colonial and skip Dallas." And they figured it out. They got a very competitive purse and a good sponsor. They used their resources in town, which is their volunteer staff and obviously their leading golfer in town to put some influence on guys, and they're very smart. There are tournaments that are saying, "Wait a minute. We just can't sit around and hope guys come." Look at Wachovia. There are a lot of tournaments mad at Wachovia. They found a great sponsor and a great golf course and a great volunteer staff and said we're going to do everything we can, and it makes all the tournaments take notice. Why do guys like the International? Is it milkshakes? No, it's the attitude that we're going to give these guys milkshakes. We're going to give them a fun time when they come here. Woody Austin ... I played a practice round with him yesterday. He said, "I got here at registration yesterday and they said, 'Do you want to go drive a race car.'" Things like that. It's competitive to get guys to play. Byron Nelson himself has been a big influence on guys. It's just a great week. You stay at the hotel right there on the course - restaurants and workout rooms. This week is a different kind of special week. You've got history. You've got the names on the wall. You've got Ben Hogan's legacy. The golf course is kind of the draw this week - the good, old traditional classic golf course. Last week you had deep rough and kind of long, blowing hard. This is more different style golf - for shotmakers - a lot of doglegs, laying up, lot of strategy.

Q. Would you agree with those who say technology has caught up with Colonial, looking at the record scores last year?

DAVIS LOVE III: For this course to play like it was designed - play hard for us - it needs to be fast, windy, and they need a little rough. Now, they don't have the rough this year. If we got a rainstorm tonight and it was calm, the guys would probably shoot it up. Last week we just had brutal rough, and if you missed the fairway it was hard to recover. You know, I don't have a problem with low scores. I actually think that's part of it. I remember the Atlanta Classic - I guess I was in College - Andy Bean shot 23 under on a course I grew up on, and I thought, "I'll never be able to shoot 23 under on this course. How can I be a pro?" It's not like it's changed that much. It just happens more often now, that when conditions are right, guys shoot real low scores. It's like saying, "All these guys are dunking (in the NBA). We've got to move the basket up to 12 feet." Well, we wouldn't go to the games, would we, if nobody dunked it? Again, variety is good. At the U.S. Open nobody's going to shoot 61, so it'd be nice if somebody did it this week or in Memphis because we're not going to see it at Memorial or Westchester or the U.S. Open.

Q. Speaking of the U.S. Open, Shinnecock's kind of a linksy course. What are your thoughts?

DAVIS LOVE III: It's a little bit linksy but it's a different kind of links. Even though it's out there, it's more of an inland kind of links like the Chicago Golf Club - false fronts and neat greens and up and over hills, stuff like that. It's a classic golf course. I love Shinnecock. I've been there I guess four or five times since the last Open. It's like Pebble Beach on the east side. It's the classic, coastal course. Kind of an icon of what the old, classic golf course - places that guys want to play.

End of FastScripts.

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