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


February 28, 2004

Davis Love III


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Davis Love, III, thanks for joining us. Congratulations on your two wins today over Phil Mickelson and Darren Clarke, two hard fought wins gets you into the finals. You get to play Tiger Woods 36 holes tomorrow. Talk about the day today, obviously an exciting one for you.

DAVIS LOVE III: It was very exciting. I think all of us -- the guys I saw play today and myself, they were getting -- pressing a little and getting mentally and physically tired. We hit some shots that we don't normally hit and you can get a little frustrated.

I know Phil made four or five bogeys. I made some bogeys, but we all made enough birdies to stay in the matches, and I just hung in there longer probably than Phil or Darren. I felt like I gave him the match at 16 in regulation when I tried to make that putt and ran it by and missed it coming back and it was frustrating. I knew if I could get it up there a foot and a half or two feet he'd give it to me. I was trying to make it and I ran it by. I felt like the match was really over.

And then walking over to 17 I said, you can't give up, you never know what will happen. And sure enough, he hit it right and made a bogey. Then I won 18 and it's another little match. So it was an exciting day and obviously I'm going to have to hit the ball a little closer to the hole than I did the last 10 or 11 holes I played. But I feel pretty good about it.

Q. Let's go through two shots real quick. On 18 against Darren Clarke you hit 3-wood on the green and put a lot of pressure on him. Maybe go through your thought process there.

DAVIS LOVE III: I knew once I got back to 1 down and I could play 18, that I hadn't been hitting good drives on 18 so I needed a good drive, so I hit a really good drive. Then I had 259 to the front, and I said at least if I don't kill it, I can get it up there around the green where I'm not hitting another shot where it goes behind the hole and it swings back. You hate to lay up and hit spinnie pitching wedge or 9-iron shots. I hit a really good one.

I was thinking about 18 at Pebble a couple years ago and I hit a 3-wood on the green from a long way away. That 3-wood has been good to me since the early 90s. I love hitting it off the tee and the ground. My son was teasing me about hitting driver off the deck. After I hit that, I said, Drew would have rather have seen driver off the deck, but I have to hit that 3-wood. When I need to, I hit it good. It was a nice shot. And then obviously, I felt like I needed to make the putt. Darren was putting so well, but luckily I didn't have to make it.

Q. How old is that club?

DAVIS LOVE III: I'm thinking it was the early 90s when I got it. It's an old PT 13.

Q. I know every situation is different. Were you surprised Phil didn't go for the green on 1?

DAVIS LOVE III: No, that was the play. Again, you don't want to lay up and hit a wedge. You can see what we're trying to do. You can see his hanging on to these knock-down trap shots and hit it up there and the ball spins back off the green or down the hill and then you see us knock it over greens trying to hit it to the back of the green trying to spin it back. You just don't want that shot.

It was a perfect yardage for him. He just turned it over. He's doing a great job of putting the ball in the fairway. He's really swinging good. But again, we're all getting kind of tired and we jump at them every once in a while and we don't hit them like we want. That was the right play, he just needed to hit it easy and not try to kill it. It looked like he jumped all over it.

Q. Davis, how emotionally taxing is the day? I think you played 39 holes and maybe 8 or 10 holes were halved the whole time.

DAVIS LOVE III: We were both back and forth. We were making some bogeys, but we were also making some birdies. It was up-and-down. I think Phil and I had maybe two halves the first nine, started right out of the box like that, winner, loser, winner, loser, and it wears you down. It was fun. Phil is a great competitor and he's fun to play against. He's got that gleam in his eye all the time like Ray Floyd did, that I'm going to get you.

And then playing Darren, he and I have become good friends and very respectful of each other, and it's a treat to play somebody like that that's passionate about playing and still loves to be friends afterwards, doesn't take it hard. He congratulated me and said I should have won the hole the whole time instead of feeling like he gave it away. It was good to play those guys and to come out on top. They're both great players.

Q. Do you relish the final more because Tiger is going to be there?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, again, I read in the paper this morning when I looked at it that no one looks at the brackets. I don't believe that. You've got to look and see who you're going to play where. It's like Duke coming out of the east. You know you're going to see him in the final game. So you've got to plan ahead. I told Butch on the range, it seems like I'm going through Butch Harmon students every match, and he told me this morning, You're going to get another one this afternoon in Darren.

You map it out. You know there's going to be upsets. You know they're not all going to be there, but you've got to plan on going through guys like Freddie Couples and Darren Clarke and Tiger Woods to win this tournament.

Q. Do you still embrace that more because it's him?

DAVIS LOVE III: I want to win. You know, you've got to beat whoever they put out in front of you, and it's a very tough road already, so I'm pretty happy with the way I've played so far and I look forward to playing him tomorrow. He's certainly the guy to beat in this tournament.

Q. All the talk about elevating oneself to beat the demands of playing against Tiger aren't quite as much as they used to be, but you won three times last year -- four, excuse me, four wins last year. This is your first opportunity to sort of test yourself against the best player in the world. Do you feel any differently about it now? Do you feel any differently about playing him now than you might have a couple years ago; and B, do you feel like you've got to win to prove something to yourself?

DAVIS LOVE III: No, you don't have to -- in this tournament you don't have to win the first match to prove anything because it's match play. I would like my chances pretty good so far if it were stroke play because I've made a lot of saves and been in a lot of holes, but it's match play. It's one week. If I beat him, he's not going to quit and not play The Masters, you know, and vice versa.

When I saw that I was going to play Fred Couples, I said, all right, you've got to put everything aside and play to win, because I did that against him, I did that against Darren, playing another friend and tough competitor, and I've got to do that tomorrow. Tiger is a friend and a tough competitor and you've got to put that aside and play golf, may the best man win. Does it mean much for this year? It means a win. That's what we play for, so it's important.

Q. The way you got into the finals -- you win the last two holes, when it looks like all is lost, does that mean anything tomorrow, any sort of --

DAVIS LOVE III: It means I better get back and get to bed early. I'm tired.

Q. Is there any momentum or any --

DAVIS LOVE III: I liked making that putt, hitting a good shot and making the putt, because I haven't done it for about 12 holes, so it's nice to hit a good shot and make a putt and come out with confidence. But just getting by is good. I'm excited about tomorrow. I'd much rather -- I got out there in the middle of the round and I was 1 down and I said, I don't want to play 18 holes tomorrow, I don't want to play a consolation match. I want to play for the championship. I've played a consolation match and it's not fun. So I'm excited about it and I'll have plenty of energy maybe by 7:30.

Q. When is the last time you've played 36 three days in a row?

DAVIS LOVE III: Never. I don't know anybody that has.

Q. Were you surprised this morning when Phil went for it at 18 in your match, and did you give that shot any thought this afternoon?

DAVIS LOVE III: Phil's shot?

Q. Yes.

DAVIS LOVE III: No, and no, I wasn't surprised. It was the perfect play.

Q. If you're playing Duke tomorrow, who are you?

DAVIS LOVE III: I'm North Carolina with a lot of talent (laughter). In the lower ranking.

Q. You said leaving 16 in regulation you were thinking, I've lost the match. Do you revisit that thought process? How hard is it to block out negative thoughts in match play?

DAVIS LOVE III: I hit two good putts. I hit two hard, one probably not hard enough. 2 down and 2 to go is not where you want to be. I was feeling good going into that hole because I like that hole, and I didn't hit a good shot and I was frustrated. Then I walked over there and I said, you never know what's going to happen. Darren hasn't been driving it that great the last couple of days, so you never know what he's going to do.

Sure enough, he hit it to the right and I overprotected to keep it away from over there. He made a mistake and let me in, and I just knew he'd have to make a mistake and I'd have to win a hole, and that's what happened. You get down in match play, and if you stay down, you'll be done, and I popped back up and hung in there.

Q. You're a guy who makes a lot -- in stroke play who makes a lot of birdies and makes things happen. Do you think that helps you deal with the ups and downs of the -- the emotional swings of match play? You do it to a little bit different extent on a regular Tour event.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I think match play certainly suits a guy that makes a lot of birdies, just like the staple for a tournament does. But you're still playing one guy, still dealing with the emotions of it and being up or down. Being 1 down is okay, and 2 or 3 down is pretty bad. It's hard to stay with your routine and stay patient when you get down. It's more of a mental game, I think, than regular stroke play. Look at the guys I've been playing. It's guys like me who hit it a long way and make lots of birdies. It's a little different, but if you can just block all that out and play you can win.

Q. What was the distance?

DAVIS LOVE III: I hit a 7-iron. I think 183 was the yardage, 187, something like that, and I hit it about 10 or 12 feet.

Q. How similar was the putt you made to win to the putt you had on the comeback to lose 16 the first time?

DAVIS LOVE III: It was the other side. I made a left-to-righter and this one was a right-to-left.

Q. Big picture: Where are you right now versus a year ago in your game, your head, the whole thing?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think I'm pretty close to the same. I had kind of a sigh of relief I think after Tiger's tournament. I probably wasn't playing real good in Hawaii and a got a couple Top 10s out of it. Pebble was one of those weeks where you don't putt good and things don't go your way and you get frustrated. I'm right there. I've been working hard, playing more golf than I did in the winter last year, and I feel good about it. I'm thrilled with the way I've held up.

Q. In other words --

DAVIS LOVE III: Physically these last four days.

Q. Did you feel it let down after last year?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think I did right after -- like I said, right after Tiger's event, and Christmas was hard on our whole family, and it was kind of like another thing just to get through, and we got through that, and it was, like, okay, here we go again, time to start over.

I won't say I was as ready to play the first tournament of the year as I was last year. Tiger's tournament, Christmas, boom, in Hawaii. I was a little rusty the first week. But I had a nice break. I had some time before Pebble and some time after Pebble, two weeks after on either side of it, and I came back out here ready to go.

Q. In tomorrow's quasi-basketball game, how many points is Duke giving?

DAVIS LOVE III: None. He's the No. 1 player in the world. I'm not going to give him a hole, but if he plays really well and I play really well, it could be a long day. But if somebody gets hot and gets ahead -- Mike Weir and I were talking earlier in the week and saying the nice thing is if you do get behind in a 36-hole match, you can be more patient, you've got time to come back.

Q. Any thought to making Darren putt out that three-footer on the second playoff hole?


Q. It was less than three feet, wasn't it?

DAVIS LOVE III: I don't know if it was three feet, but it was straight in, uphill, and I knew he was going to make it. We were giving them.

Q. Are you in better shape this year?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think so, not from doing anything drastic but I've done a lot of snowboarding and activities. I've been stretching a lot, been a little more active on the golf course, trying to playing a lot more golf, and it shows because I've held up real good the last three days playing a lot of golf.

Q. Generally speaking, are the men on your Tour in a little bit better shape now?

DAVIS LOVE III: Oh, yeah, everybody is in a lot better shape. The young guys especially are working hard.

Q. Do you play most of your golf in Sea Island?


Q. During the five-week stretch with two weeks on each side of the tournament, were you active during that stretch?

DAVIS LOVE III: I had two weeks off and two weeks to golf in that period, so it was active enough that Jack Lumpkin, he was out here and pretty satisfied with the way I was swinging it and made a few little changes and played some holes. I got to play with my son and my father-in-law, so it was more than I usually play in the winter on a break.

Q. Knowing how things can go almost any way in 18-hole match play, do you find the fact that Tiger is 19 and 3 in the match play, is it him, or anybody having a record like that, is that surprising to you?

DAVIS LOVE III: No. I mean, it's an excellent record. I don't think it's surprising for him. He's a very good match play player. He relishes this kind of tournament. He expects to win, and the last few holes he always seems to do it. It's not a surprise, but it's an incredible, very good record.

Q. Can you go ahead and just tell the fans what they can expect to come out and see, what kind of match is going to build up tomorrow for you and Tiger?

DAVIS LOVE III: I don't know.

Q. Like the tempo, what kind of --

DAVIS LOVE III: You don't know until you play it. We're both going to play hard. That's all I know.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Davis Love, thank you.

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