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April 9, 2004

Davis Love III


JIM BLANCHARD: We'd like to welcome Davis Love, III, who had the low round of the day. Some comments about your round.

DAVIS LOVE III: I hit the ball better today than I did yesterday, especially with the irons. I enjoyed watching Jose Maria play for two days, playing with a lot of determination, and I think that helped me to get refocused today, and I holed some putts. I had an all around pretty good day.

Q. Jose has won this tournament twice but he's never been on the list of players favored to win; why do you think the American press, at least, kind of underrates him?

DAVIS LOVE III: I don't know why they underrate him. He's very determined. I think something about this place gets him fired up. He knows that he has a chance here as soon as he pulls through the gates.

He's very relentless. It doesn't really matter what kind of shots he hits or where his ball is, he still gets after it and never gives up. He plays a lot like Seve, that he's never out of the hole, he never gives up. That certainly is fun to watch. You can really appreciate a guy who is that focused. He was really very, very focused today.

Q. You talked a lot about how you were going to try to play this tournament this year as relaxed as you play other places. Have you done that so far?

DAVIS LOVE III: I did that one day and didn't the other day.

I was a little bit out of my rhythm yesterday. I hit some bad shots, maybe trying too hard just to hit it. I got a little sloppy yesterday.

But today, I got back into just playing golf and getting my targets and putting to make every putt. That old cliche that we all throw out there, one shot at a time and all that, I did a good job.

I talked to Rotella right on the putting green before I went out, and today I did a good job of just playing golf the way I know how to play. Like I said, I played 20 holes, and 17 got me twice. Other than that, I played pretty solid.

Q. There seemed to be a lot of red numbers going up on the board today. Is that because of the conditions or guys just rising to the occasion?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, the greens are a little softer than they were at the start of the day yesterday. I think the pins, although they were difficult and there was some that I had not seen before today, they were slightly easier than yesterday. I think yesterday's setup was probably as hard as I've seen it set up.

Q. I'm sure you have many things to do in the next couple of hours, but will you go out of your way to catch Arnold as he finishes 18?

DAVIS LOVE III: I was trying to hurry my group along so we could go on 9 or catch him on 10. I don't know, if I could get out there, he probably has a big crowd. Hopefully maybe catch him coming up 18. But Mr. Blanchard might sneak me inside the ropes, but we have to be like the rest of the fans and stay outside the ropes, and it might be hard to get a look at it.

I had a great nine hole practice round with him Wednesday afternoon, the highlight of my week and one of my Masters memories I'll always treasure.

I hate to see him go, but he said he'd be back for the dinner, so maybe we'll talk him into another practice round.

Q. Did you approach him about playing Wednesday? And the other thing I wanted to know is what kind of relationship did he have with your dad?

DAVIS LOVE III: He came out on the range, I could tell he was looking for somebody, and I said, "Are you going to play?" The guy he was going to play with, I guess, had already taken off. I said, "Well, you can come play with me." So I blew Freddie off. I was supposed to meet Freddie at the turn, and I just took off with Arnold.

So when I saw the opportunity, I didn't think I was not smart enough to think that far ahead and ask him to play. But when I saw him out there looking around, we invited him to play and we took off. We missed Freddie by a couple of holes. Freddie said it worked out good because he got to play with Jack. So we both got lucky.

And he did. He talked about my dad in the practice round. It's just amazing, the little things that he remembers, that my dad qualified through the U.S. Amateur to get here in '55, and Arnold remembered and he remembered the matches he won. I think he won that amateur in '54. But he remembered matches that he had won and remembered my dad and where he was the pro and playing the Atlanta Classic. So it makes you feel good. He has a great memory, but when he brings it up, it makes you feel good.

He's been good to me since I was a very small child. So it was an honor to get to play with him in his last Masters.

Q. Can you talk about your eagle a little bit? And were there any other memorable shots you hit today?

DAVIS LOVE III: I remember more dumping that pitching wedge in the bunker at 17.

The eagle was good. I finally hit the fairway at 15. I have to almost cut it a little bit off that tee to get it to stay in the fairway and had a mid iron in. I hit a 5 iron, got up in the wind a little bit and got on the front of the green. Like I said, I've been putting good and putting to make putts, rather than lagging them. I tried to make it and got lucky and made it. It was exciting. I had not made an eagle in a while, it seems like, and that was a big boost.

It was disappointing to bogey 17 after that, but still, it got me up on the leaderboard. I had not been on it all week, and the eagle jumped me up there. It was nice to see my name up there. Hopefully I can build on that eagle and say that, hey, I can play these holes aggressively and make some birdies and eagles.

Q. About how far was that putt?

DAVIS LOVE III: It was from the front of the green. It was probably 50 feet at least.

Q. You said 17 got you twice. How about the other time today?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, this morning and this afternoon, I hit it in the right trees. I don't know why. I hit cuts off that tee when I usually hit a big, high draw up there.

But this afternoon, I had an easy shot. I just had to hit a big, high pitching wedge and I was trying to hit it close rather than just get it over the bunker, and I dumped it in the bunker. I hit a good bunker shot and a bad putt.

Two bogeys there. I don't know what other hole I bogeyed maybe not any other bogeys.

Q. Were you pretty happy with the round today, the round you needed to get back in the tournament?

DAVIS LOVE III: I needed especially, I got 3 over in the middle of the back nine yesterday and didn't come back from it. I needed to get under par. That was a big thing. I'll have a chance now, no matter what these guys do. I think anybody under par has got a good chance going into the weekend.

Q. You said the moisture in the greens made them softer and more conducive. Is there anything about the moisture that made the course tougher, and can you speculate on what the numbers might be for the weekend if conditions stay the same?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I don't know if I can speculate.

The mud on the ball, both yesterday afternoon and today, was difficult. I hit an 8 iron from the middle of the fairway at 10 that went 15 yards left of the green. I didn't hit a bad shot. We had a few of those, a few mud balls and a few balls that sucked off the green. I saw Mike Weir do it at 13 behind us. Retief Goosen sucked it in the creek at 13. Shots that certainly on Wednesday and Thursday morning were not sucking off the green.

You know, it made it difficult in spots, but it also made it where you can throw a ball in there and have it stop by the hole, like you've seen quite a bit, like my shot at 16 yesterday. I could fire right at it and stick it right by it rather than trying to play a shot that runs up to it. It gives you some and it takes some away, as this course always does.

Q. You've finished here second twice. What sticks in your memory here about those two tournaments?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I certainly have great memories of both of them. They were both special tournaments for me. Jose Maria played great and ground out a win. I had a great chip in there at the end that kept me in the tournament.

And then, of course, Crenshaw's Masters was just a great story all around. I shot, I think, 13 under and a good enough score to win a lot of Masters and got beat by Ben in kind of a very special, and sad at the same time, week.

I've got a lot of great memories here. I've shot scores that can win, so I've just got to keep after it.

Q. Eagles on 15 and 13 are so much a part of the Masters, but yesterday they almost disappeared and today they seem to be back. Is that a function of hole placement or do you think it was a fluke?

DAVIS LOVE III: I've been saying it for years, there's not as many eagles, certainly in my score card.

You know, the holes are harder, that's just all there is to it. 2 is longer, 8 is longer, a lot longer. You hardly ever see anybody on the green at 8 anymore, in two.

13 is a tougher drive.

15 is a lot harder drive. 15, you used aim anywhere to the right and just hit it hard. You would have a 6 , 7 , 8 iron in for the long hitters. Now you have to position a drive and you've got a 5 iron. I killed a drive today and had a 5 iron in. Yesterday I hit a really good drive but it ran off in the rough, and I had a tough lie trying to hit a trick shot out of the rough to the green that you can't miss short and you can't miss long.

I think it's just more and more difficult. I haven't ever seen a stat but I know that there are less eagles in the last four or five years than the years previous.

JIM BLANCHARD: Thank you, Davis. You are a great favorite here. Good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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