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March 14, 2004

Davis Love III


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Davis Love to the interview area, a 3-under par 69 today.

Davis, just talk about the drama of coming down the back nine. Were you watching the scoreboard? Do you know where everybody was.

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, I was watching it for sure. I knew where everybody was, a bunch of guys in it, just somebody had to make some birdies. Unfortunately, I didn't do it and Todd did.

You know, he deserved to win, obviously. He had a big lead and didn't get off to a great start but finished like a true champion and birdied those last two holes when he knew he had to do it. It's pretty exciting for him.

I knew I needed low round of the day and I didn't quite get there.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Starting the day, you were well back. Was it conceivable to catch Todd at that point?

DAVIS LOVE III: I knew that, again, that I had to shoot the low round of the day, probably, to catch him; at least get off to a good start and get him thinking about it.

It looked like a few guys did that, made some birdies at 4,5 and 6 and at least got him thinking that guys were going to catch him.

He obviously had a bad patch in there and it made it close.

You know, I felt like, again, I just needed to shoot the low round of the day and that was my goal. In the tough conditions, it probably would have been good enough.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Wind was pretty big out there, it gusted 25s are 30 miles an hour.

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, it blew hard a lot. It was inconsistent but it blew hard a lot and made it very, very hard. Obviously, we saw a bunch of balls off the greens, off the sides of the green, so it was not easy to get the ball close to the hole and played very difficult.

Q. Honda has been good to you the last two years; will you be back next year?

DAVIS LOVE III: Oh, yeah, keep plugging away at it. I've always enjoyed it. People have been great to me. The club the last two years has been really good to me. I've had a lot of fun and just, again, wish I had made a couple more birdies but it was a great week.

Q. Did the left-to-right wind out on 18 catch your second shot a little bit?

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, I was trying to start it left of the green and I started it to the right of the hole. It's a tough little shot. There weren't a whole lot of balls up there close except for the guy that won.

I just didn't hit a good drive or a good second shot there.

Q. You never like to lose a golf tournament, but to lose in a situation where a guy hits a shot that close on 18, that's got to take a little bit of sting off, doesn't it?

DAVIS LOVE III: Certainly, since I started, what, four shots -- no, six shots behind him, you know and to have a chance to win was nice. I would have liked to have, instead of putting little putts for par coming in, putt some birdie putts.

Yeah, I'm not disappointed because two guys kind of got away from us in the middle of the tournament and I didn't keep up.

Q. Did it rain out there?

DAVIS LOVE III: It sprinkled for a few minutes.

Q. When you finish at 11, what goes your mind do at that point? Are you thinking: "What do I do to myself where, do I go, I have to wait and see?" What do you do?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I felt like I put myself in a position to get in a playoff, so I was just trying to calm down and get ready for that.

You know, thinking about playing 18 again, really, the whole time since I haven't played that hole very well in the past. So I was thinking, you know, how am I going to get a birdie putt on 18 to try to win this thing. They were going, just 18 over and over, was the program. That's all I was really thinking about.

Q. Do you still think the game is trending upward at the right time, your game?

DAVIS LOVE III: Oh, yeah. I'm playing good. I'm running around the lead. I'm not playing perfect golf but I'm playing pretty good and getting a lot out of it, even though I'm not hitting on every cylinder.

But I'm playing pretty good. This week shows that I'm scrambling around pretty good and hanging in there. So I think keep working at it, I'll be ready for THE PLAYERS Championship.

Q. You donated the money to the church the last tournament, can you just give a quick explanation of what was your thinking there?

DAVIS LOVE III: They needed a lot of money to build some new buildings. (Laughing).

It was just the week didn't go as well as I'd liked after playing a great week of golf, and some people were questioning who I was and what I stood for. So I just felt like because of it was the right thing to do and it was the right time to do it. It certainly made me feel better and made a lot of people feel better in our community, certainly, to make that kind of statement.

The fans and other people mean a lot to me, and for people to say that it didn't; that I care for the fans or I didn't care for the game kind of stung.

You know, the fans this week were great all the way through. Security people were out there and I ended up talking to them all the way around because they didn't have a whole lot to do. I had a big team and they did a great job and they made me feel comfortable and the fans made me feel very comfortable. It turned out to be a very, very good week.

Q. Is it pretty fair to say that of all the guys out here, you kind of know a little bit best of how to put a second place finish into perspective with the bigger things in life that go on?

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, I think unfortunately the last 14 months, I've had a lot going on. It seems like even when I play good, crazy things are going on.

So, I know how important my family and my friends and the game is to me. You know, winning is almost everything, but it's not everything. Being consistent and playing well and being in there and competing. You know, I competed all week. I was right in it all week and that's a lot of fun. So that's why I'm here.

I could put it in perspective. It's where I want to be every week, right around the lead.

Q. Kevin Na is 20 years old and in position to challenge here. Do you remember what it would have been like for you to have a shot at something like that?

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, I qualified when I was 20. It was a long time ago. But, yeah, you're chasing dream then and it's a lot of fun. I've been around him some. He's a wonderful player and got a good head on his shoulders. He's going to be very, very good. He's very talented.

Q. You said chasing the dream; do you think people can appreciate Todd's story, just the number of years it took him to first get here and then to win?

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, it's a great, great story. That's why I don't feel bad when he birdies the last two holes because I know he's worked long and hard for it. He put himself in position for an easy day and he made it a hard day. You've got to give a guy a lot of credit for hanging in there that long and working that hard. It is. That's why guys don't give up out here because they are dreaming and they are wishing and working hard to try to get somewhere, and it's nice to see a guy have success like that after that much effort.

Q. How much does a guy love golf when he doesn't make it initially out here on TOUR and goes to all corners of the earth and plays anywhere he can; does somebody like that love the game?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, he has a lot of faith in himself. He knows that eventually he's going to make it if he keeps working hard. Sometimes it's hard work and sometimes it's catching the right breaks and being in the right place at the right time.

You know, obviously, he was very patient and worked hard until he hit the spot. You know, this is going to propel him on I'm sure for a long time because getting on the tour is very, very hard. Staying out here is even harder. So he'll relax now and play with a couple of years to continue to get better and relax and enjoy competing rather than trying to survive.

Q. Overall on the golf course, your final takeaway from it?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, maybe we'll play the other 18 next year. (Laughter.) The old 18 is still giving me problems.

No, I think the golf course stood up real well. Today was a very difficult day and you still had some guys shooting three and 4-under par. I think we learned a lot about the golf course this week. I think, you know, when I go away from here and guys say, well, I heard the greens were very hard at that tournament last week, you know, the conversation around the locker room, I'll be more supportive probably than most guys.

I think you can learn to play it. It's certainly extreme, but so is Pinehurst No. 2; and there were lot of guys that were struggling on Pinehurst No. 2 at U.S. Open. But the best players came up to the top and the guys that were playing the best that week.

I think this course, certainly, although it's different and it's difficult, it brought out the guys that were playing the best.

Q. When you said the "old 18," you meant the 18th hole of the Fazio course?

DAVIS LOVE III: The real 18 for the course we played, the one we skipped over and kept walking around it.

Q. Can you reiterate what you said about making courses more difficult? What Fazio did, not always having to go with length?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think the fairways are so firm and fast. It played long because of some of his doglegs where we had to kind of play lay-up and not really blow it around corners, which everybody in the architecture business is trying to do a little bit more of that. Instead of sweeping 14 around the corner, he just blocked the whole corner basically for the long hitters. If you want to hit it over, you're going to go through into the Marsh. He made it where the guy that carries it 300 has to be very, very precise and he's taking a big risk.

The guy -- I think Todd hit an iron off the tee and kept it way back and put it up where he had a long shot but he played it safe.

It will give you more alternatives to play. I think Tom, he used the -- he doesn't have a whole lot really to work with with the land, with the restrictions of the, I don't even know what they call it, the preserve out there.

I think we want it hard. 11-under par, 12-under par, you don't see that a whole lot on TOUR. I think it's nice, even though some guys complain about how hard it is, still shot 11-under; and USGA wouldn't be happy with it. But if they had deep rough it, would have been very, very difficult.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Davis, thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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