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October 1, 2003

Davis Love III


TODD BUDNICK: We thank DAVIS LOVE III for stopping in with us today. Davis ranked No. 2 on the Money List. I think obviously one of the biggest stories going into this week, the Player of the Year. You're no stranger to the No. 1 spot. You've held that throughout the season. What are you looking for from here to the end of the season?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I'm going to obviously play hard the rest of the year to get back on top of the Money List. Vijay, no matter what, is going to play a lot more tournaments than me, so I just have to play better than him and Tiger and the rest of them the rest of the way. I'll just play hard for three or four -- depending on how many weeks I can last until the Tour Championship and just give it 100 percent the rest of the year.

TODD BUDNICK: There's a lot of different ways of looking at Player of the Year and there's a lot of different candidates. Mike Weir said that he thought guys who had strong finishes and who were in contention would be a key point. What do you see as a determination?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I think the players -- obviously we all have short memories, The Players Championship and the West Coast was a long time ago. A guy that's hot right now and wins something towards the end of the year we certainly look at, but guys tend to lean towards majors, the players do, the majority of them. I think the guys with the majors, if they finish strong, they'll certainly have a leg up.

TODD BUDNICK: Before we go to questions, you just had a chance to play the course. Give us an assessment.

DAVIS LOVE III: The greens are very hard and the fairways are running fast and the rough is deep, so I think if we get a little wind, if you don't hit it in the fairways, you're going to have a problem. I think it's a going to be a pretty stern test.

Q. Is it too hard?

DAVIS LOVE III: There's a couple holes, the par 5s they changed to par 4s. Tom built the greens for par 5s. Those holes are probably a little too hard, but the rest of them you're just going to have to hit really good shots. It's a lot like Eastlake. This time of year, that deep rough, if you keep getting it in the fairway, it doesn't seem that hard, but if you hit it in the rough, it can be very difficult.

Q. I was thinking about that. Eastlake, that time of year?

DAVIS LOVE III: It's a little thicker. It's that rough where one time you hit it and the next time it goes over the green and hits the TV tower. You just don't want to be hitting it at the greens a whole lot, and plus, if you did hit a good shot and it landed on the green it's probably going to go over. I think fairways hit obviously and scrambling will be very important and obviously good putting.

Q. How nice is it to have the money title, the Player of the Year still to be decided this late in the year? It really hasn't been this way for some time. It's usually been sort of known by this point in time that Tiger's going to have it.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, it's nice. It's nice to keep people focused on golf all the way through the whole season. That's what the World Golf Championships and the Tour Championship were meant to do was help decide money titles and Players of the Year, things like that, so it's nice, it's fun. It's going to make me play an extra tournament or maybe two. It sure makes the end of the season a lot more exciting.

Q. What are you looking at the rest of the way schedule wise?

DAVIS LOVE III: I'm definitely playing Greensboro and Tour Championship and I may be playing one or two of the Florida tournaments.

Q. If it had been over, would you have played either of the Florida ones?

DAVIS LOVE III: Oh, I don't know. I always play quite a bit in the fall. It would just depend on -- and it does this year, depends how I'm feeling and how excited I am to play. Now with a chance -- I realized at the John Deere how many more tournaments Vijay had played than me, so I can't just sit back and say, well, he played better than me this year and not worry about it and just play two more times. I need to play one to catch up in money and try to get another win. But he's got like four more than me, so I've at least got to get one of those back before the end of the year.

Q. Are you going to play in the World Cup?

DAVIS LOVE III: I don't know.

Q. The Match Play in London is the same week as Greensboro. You decided not to play in that. Is that because of Money List, Player of the Year?

DAVIS LOVE III: I've never played in the Match Play. It's usually not on my schedule.

Q. There's several guys from the States that decided to pull out of that tournament. Is it this time of year going over there and not worth it in prize money?

DAVIS LOVE III: I find that it doesn't matter where they're asking guys to go play. Our tour is getting stronger and stronger and the money is getting bigger and bigger, and the tournaments are getting better and better and you don't need to. It used to be you would chase some extra money overseas and now you don't have to. I would much rather get in my motor home or my truck and drive to Greensboro than fly overseas and play.

When the money gets to where it's not a money decision, I want to stay and play on my tour. I think that's why we get so many foreign players coming to live in the States and playing over here because there's so much more opportunity here than anywhere else.

Q. What will go into your World Cup decision?

DAVIS LOVE III: I'm not even really thinking about it. I'm thinking about playing this week. I'm not really focused on the World Cup.

Q. You talked about the money. What was the last time, if there was a time, that you made the decision to play an event because of money?

DAVIS LOVE III: Only would be Money List. Sure, they'll invite you to play somewhere. I haven't done it in a long time. I haven't played in a lot of overseas events. The only reason really is competing for me. The money over here is so good, I'm just trying to get to goals, money title or whatever, trying to save myself for the big tournaments and not go play all over the place.

I'm sure that I could have made more money by going and doing tournaments around the world, but I probably wouldn't have been at the top of the Money List as many times as I've been over here.

Q. When you won the PGA, did you have a lot of people coming at you trying to get you to go overseas and play for more money?

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, but I've had that fortunately since like the early 90s. I've had opportunities to go play. Obviously not the money they throw at other guys, but enough money to get you interested. But one, I like to be at home with my family, two, I like playing at home and I don't like traveling. I don't like going on big, long trips, and I've been fortunate enough to play good enough over here, I don't have to chase the money.

Q. All that being said, when it comes to this series of tournaments, do you think there should be a fairness issue and have two here and two overseas every year when possible or do you just have to take it to the areas that support it and if it happens to be three or four in the U.S, so be it.?

DAVIS LOVE III: Taking it to the areas that support it where the sponsors are from and we'll play mostly over here. But because of the federations and tours, we do need to go maybe every once in a while. I know American Express, they want to put it in a big market, wherever that market might be. They don't want it to be in a small, someplace that they're not -- that American Express doesn't have a whole lot of exposure. So Accenture Tour, whoever the company is, they want to go wherever -- they don't want to go just because there's players that play in the tournament that are from a particular region or particular country, they want to go where they're going to get the most bang for their buck.

It comes down to sponsorship. I think the sponsors in the future will determine where they're played, North America probably will get the majority of them going forward. We argue about the Presidents Cup. We started out playing in the United States, and almost all the players play in the United States so why don't we play in the United States, so it's a little bit easier for everybody.

Then they say, well, we want to see it move around the world every once in a while, and I think every once in a while is fine, but we certainly don't want two in the U.S. and two overseas every year because then we saw what happened to them. They went to great golf courses around the world and guys didn't go. I think because our Tour is so strong you're taking that risk.

Q. You talked about the Money List earlier, and because there are so many variables, Vijay has played more events than you and certain events have bigger purses, where should it fall on people's priority list if they're looking at Player of the Year, and if you're just voting, what would be your priorities?

DAVIS LOVE III: I wouldn't pay much attention to it. Unless somebody won by $2 million I wouldn't pay much attention to it.

Q. What would be your priorities, stroke average, wins?

DAVIS LOVE III: Majors and then number of wins, and then if you're saying, God, I can't decide, then you would say, what's these two guys' stroke average, then where did they finish on the Money List. If a guy wins four or five times as many as anybody else and then he wins a major, I would automatically give it to them.

Like if Furyk had four wins and one was a major and everybody else just had four wins I would vote for him.

Q. Did you take that same attitude in '98 when you were looking at O'Meara and Duval?

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah. I just always lean towards majors as being the -- if a guy wins three majors, he's the Player of the Year. That's pretty much it. If a guy won ten times and he didn't win a major and everybody else -- four different guys won majors, maybe you'd take a look at it, but all things being, as they usually are, pretty unclear, then I look at majors.

Q. Is the Presidents Cup on your schedule?


Q. A year ago there was a lot of talk that there might be some attrition, maybe not everybody was eligible to go would go, but you guys do have a full team? Can you address that?

DAVIS LOVE III: I'm not going to address anybody but me and Jack. I know we're both going (laughter). That's the way I look at it.

Q. Do you think guys like you, Furyk, Tiger, Phil, those four especially, are asked to play for the country every year in the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup will ever get to the point where it's too much?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think it's already gotten there. That's why maybe there was that conversation. You only have that conversation when it goes to Australia or South Africa, not when it's in Washington. It's pretty easy when it's in Washington in September.

Q. Tiger is two shy of 113 cuts in a row, which is a record that's been on the books since 1946. Can you get your arms around the enormity of that number?

DAVIS LOVE III: No, because I haven't really looked at it, but it's a big number obviously. It just shows his consistency.

Q. What was the allure of getting into design and how much input do you want to have on design when you get involved in a project?

TODD BUDNICK: The design of Greensboro.

Q. Any golf course, why did you want to get involved in the design aspect of golf?

DAVIS LOVE III: It's obviously something that -- opportunities will come to us, and it's something that I had a lot of interest in and enjoy. I always enjoyed trying to understand what Tom Fazio or Reese Jones or Pete Dye, guys that I knew were doing, just watching them do it, something fun that my brother and I could do together.

Q. We're going to talk to Nick Price a little bit later, but if you were the guy that got assigned to write that Hall of Fame plaque, what would you write about Nick Price? Where does he go down in the game in terms of what he's accomplished?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I think Hall of Fame is an obvious honor for him. That sums it up. He's a Hall of Fame player. Even if he hadn't played well, he's one of the greatest players we've ever had as well as one of the greatest guys out here, one of the most outgoing personable guys we have out here, but his record -- probably because he is such a nice guy, people forget how great he played for so many years. For that one stretch he played Tiger Woods/Jack Nicklaus dominating golf for three or four years, but it's an honor that's well-deserved.

Q. Who's better, him or Freddie, Freddie's stretch of '93 --

DAVIS LOVE III: I'd say Nick. He was right there in a lot of majors. He won three of them in a stretch, The Players Championship, so I would say Nick.

Q. Just to clarify back on The Presidents Cup discussion, you mentioned going to South Africa, going to Australia. Does it bother you every two years -- or England? Is the Ryder Cup the Ryder Cup and that's on its own?

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, the Ryder Cup is the Ryder Cup and The Presidents Cup is The Presidents Cup. I mean, it's two different animals.

The first few Presidents Cups in Washington were a lot of fun, but then we had to start taking the show on the road and it wasn't quite as much fun and that's where this discussion Jeff is talking about came from. Hey, wait a minute, this is turning into a big to-do. It's a great event. I mean, when we get to South Africa and meet up with Jack, it's going to be fun, but it's a long way to go in November.

Q. If you didn't have a Presidents Cup, and I know this is this week and the World Cup is another week, but would the World Cup be more in your focus of playing?

DAVIS LOVE III: Oh, yes. It's just too much. You play a Tour Championship one week and you have to be in South Africa seven days later, that's a little much. And the Shark Shootout is in the same boat. They're just jammed in there.

Q. If you could pick Freddie would you have a hesitation?

DAVIS LOVE III: Freddie wouldn't do it. He's hoping to play this week. His back is not doing too good, though.

End of FastScripts.

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