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August 9, 2003

Davis Love III


JOAN vON THRON: Thank you, Davis, for joining us. You were able to maintain your 10-point lead. Going into the Final round you have an opportunity to go wire to wire for the first time in your career. Talk about your day today and heading into tomorrow.

DAVIS LOVE III: I'd say steady was a good word. It was obviously not as good as the last two days, but it was very steady. I hit a lot of good shots. Was on a lot of greens, was never in bad trouble. I had a couple greens that I missed probably in the wrong place but I wasn't in danger of making a big score. I had a lot of birdie chances. I didn't have a short of birdie chances as I had the last few days but I had a lot of chances. The putts were good, but not great, and just weren't getting -- had a lot of big breakers, just wasn't getting them to go in.

But I felt I swung the club very well, and did what I had to do. Wasn't as good as I wanted but I did what I had to do.

Q. Playing the par 5 today not getting any points, is that something you can afford to let happen tomorrow?

DAVIS LOVE III: I doubt it. Well, I birdied the hard holes today. Birdied 5 and 9 and 10 and not the easy holes, but they played a little trickier today. 1 I just gave points away there. Hit a 5-iron in, and hit a bad shot, but I had a tricky lie at 14, you know, I had a tough second shot. 8 played very long today. So it wasn't easy. I hit two good shots at 17 just got a bad break really, but sometimes they give you a lot of points and sometimes they don't. They just didn't give up much today. I will have to do better on them tomorrow.

Q. Do you think you will still need at least one more touchdown or what do you think you will need tomorrow?

DAVIS LOVE III: I don't know, depends a lot what guys behind me do. Vijay is at 28 and DiMarco, 26, I guess, and then John, so, there's guys, if they put up a lot of points, obviously 10 points is not much. It's only obviously a couple of eagles, five birdies, but if I go out and play the way I have been playing, make some birdies on the front 9, I can get my -- get on a roll again. I kind of got on a par roll again today; pars were coming real easy, but the birdies weren't. So just got to get back on that birdie run.

Q. Are you a scoreboard watcher and if not, will you be tomorrow?

DAVIS LOVE III: I am. I knew what was going on. Probably tomorrow I might try to not pay attention to it a little bit more, but it will be a little -- but it will play a little faster tomorrow and things will be happening a little faster tomorrow so maybe it will be easier not to watch. I can't help it. I like to see what everybody else is doing. I am nosey. But I have learned -- I am 40 points and he's catching up, all right, let's get back to what we are doing. It just gives you something to do in between shots. They are always right there by the greens, so I think it would be a chore for me not to look at them.

Q. What is the iron you are hitting off the tees, is it one club or a couple of different driving irons you are using?

DAVIS LOVE III: It says 2 on it, but it's a 1-iron loft, 1-iron length, 1-iron loft because Titleist doesn't make 1-irons anymore just because nobody can hit it. Fairway woods are so good and so popular that I guess they start at 2-iron now. (Inaudible) the fairways are as firm as I can remember. Usually we get these afternoon thunderstorms, get some rain on them and the fairways are soft. There are still a couple of soft spots, but if you hit a good one off 1 low runner -- I mean, on 10, get a low-runner, it will run down there and like 17 today, 3-wood would have had to gone up the left, little narrow part, so 1-iron was a good club. If I get a 1-iron and 5-iron into 17, I will take it.

Q. Just give us a quick summation on how you thought your playing partners did today?

DAVIS LOVE III: Phil didn't do very good; didn't play like Phil Mickelson. He had a lot of bad tee shots, but I think he's close to playing well. He just didn't drive it like he wanted.

I mean, John and I both just didn't get a lot out of how well we played. He hit the ball very solidly and his lag putting probably frustrated him a little bit. He never -- long putts, he wasn't just missing and leaving them close and tapping them in. He kept running them by, so he was -- you know, he was like me just wasn't getting much out of some good ball-striking.

Q. You said that the course was firm, fairways were firm. Is the course drying up since you hadn't had any rain and if it's going to play fast, and some of the pin placements that John mentioned that he saw some of the dots out there today ---

DAVIS LOVE III: I thought maybe the paint cans were leaking or something (laughter). There were some tough pins today, I mean, you know, they can always get some interesting pins here, like back left at 7, but when now they are going a yard farther into the corners; they are trying to make them a little bit tougher, they are very difficult. I had a lot of putts that were, you know, I hit decent shots but had a lot of break in them. The pins were just enough up into the hill or just closer to the edge where you are getting more break on your putt. So they are definitely harder. I didn't look at all of them. I looked at a few that the caddies were staring at and couldn't believe. There are some tricky ones out there tomorrow, and you know, you have got to hit the ball in the right place to get a makeable birdie put.

Q. Can you give sense about what it is your game, this course, and this scoring system, that's all coming together for you this week?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, you got to hit the ball in the fairway and you got to hit the ball a long way, and putt well. I think I have done all those things this week. I only missed two fairways today and hit one of them up there on the green pretty close and another one up and down on 18, so I think you have got to play aggressively to make birdies but you also got to be in the fairway and be in play. We saw Phil today he was aggressive and -- but he was out of the fairway, you got to put the ball in the fairway and I am doing a very good job of that. And I like this system. It rewards my kind of play. Even on an off day today I made some birdies and I got some points.

Q. Were you playing conservatively or is it just the way the course is playing? Did you take less drivers and what is your strategy for tomorrow?

DAVIS LOVE III: No, I played the same off the tee as I have all week. I think I shot away from the pins a little bit, maybe a little bit too much. Holes like 12, you figure you got water just a few feet left of the pin I might as well hit it in the middle of the green. I hit it in the middle of the green and I had a little over 20-footer, it was breaking two feet, you are not going to make a whole lot of those. And then I hit some shots that I didn't get the ball close enough to the hole where I had an easy shot, but I hit some good shots on like I said, on some hard holes and hit some shots in there where I missed the putt, so I think I need to play similar to what I did today, but just give me a few more short putts. And obviously if I had birdied some par 5s today it would have been a lot better. So need to birdie the par 5s obviously and that makes the whole day a little bit easier, takes the pressure off.

Q. You have a phenomenal tournament obviously and a remarkable season. Other guys like Freddie and Kenny Perry, Jay Haas, the veterans on Tour seem to be really stepping up a notch this year and taking over the Tour as they should. Any particular reason you think that's happening with veterans this season?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think because we didn't play good last year. (Laughs).

Last year everybody was looking for an explanation of why so many first-time winners. My explanation was "I didn't play very well." I let some guys win tournaments when I didn't play well. You know it's nice to see -- when guys with experience, when they are Fred Couples and feel good, when they are able to work hard and when they are having fun like Jay Haas, Craig Stadler, they know how to win. And I think the difference for me obviously is I have been feeling good all year, Fred had a couple of months there where he felt really, really good and played well and was working hard on his game. I think it's nice to see. I don't think it's a big surprise. It is just like you said, it's time that some of us starting doing some stuff like that and winning.

Q. You said you saw some of the pins where they are going to be tomorrow. With a 10-point lead is that fine that they are putting pins where a lot of guys aren't going to make birdies and eagles because that's --

DAVIS LOVE III: They say there's 6 easy, 6 medium, and 6 hard everyday and it doesn't change from day-to-day. I don't know if I believe that. But there might be 6 Sunday easy pins and 6 Thursday easy pins and they are a little bit different but I don't really -- I think I need to make birdies too so I don't want it to be extremely hard. A guy like Vijay Singh it doesn't matter where they put the pins if he gets on, if he is driving in the fairways, long way on the par 5s, he's going to beat this course up. I just got see where they are and see the ones that I can attack and the ones that I have to stay away from and hit good shots no matter what. If I am playing in the middle of the green I have to hit a good shot at least give myself a makeable 20-footer rather than some of these curlers I had today.

Q. Do you feel like you are playing the best golf in your life this year, and do you think -- is this the best season of your career regardless of what happens tomorrow, as in 1992 --

DAVIS LOVE III: I think I am better than in 1992. 1992 is the first time I really ever chomped myself up into that category and I have been steadily getting better. I think now -- I think I am playing swinging, putting as well as I have ever putted. Hitting it as good as I ever been hitting it. I am just confident playing. That's what I was looking for this year. If I am healthy, you know, and working hard this is the time for me to take advantage of it.

Q. You feel like this is a better year for you than in 1992?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think so. I made a lot of progress from last year and I just want to keep trying to get better and I think I have gotten a lot better this year, my swing got a lot better. Last year in the fall and in the winter, and I made some improvements in my putting. I went to Scotty Cameron last September with the question of how am I going to get better putting. He's definitely helped me to be a better putter. I think definitely this year is the best I have played overall.

JOAN vON THRON: Let's go through your birdies and bogies, please.

DAVIS LOVE III: 5, hit a driver off the tee, 7-iron up on the back came back down, made about a 15-footer.

Bogey, 3-wood off the tee, pitching wedge into the hill, came back down in the bunker, and blasted out about ten feet, missed it.

9, was 3-wood off the tee, 9-iron to about 15 or 18 feet behind the hole, birdie.

10, a 1-iron and 9-iron to about eight feet.

Q. You just said Scotty made you a better putter. Can you explain how?

DAVIS LOVE III: I went out there after the PGA last year and -- my stroke is not as good as I want it to be and something is going on here, give me a putter that will make me stroke the ball better. I take the putter outside, help me find a way to get it inside. He gave me a little plastic cube, that lucite little thing that you stick on your putter face. He said practice with this and he said you can putt with any putter you want to putt with but just use this thing. Sure enough I started using it at the NEC, and immediately started putting better. And my confidence grew and the more I used that thing and the more I work on my stroke -- he kind of gave me a way to fix it without thinking about it. He gave me basically a drill to do to fix my stroke and then obviously while I was doing it he made me a putter and I have been putting great with that putter ever since.

Q. (Inaudible)?

DAVIS LOVE III: The ball just rolls along with the putter, you stick it on the face and when you go through it shoots it off. My problem is when I took it back it shot out that way. So I had a little work to do.

Q. (Inaudible)?

DAVIS LOVE III: Scotty said look, it isn't the putter. He has high speed videos, he said, look, there goes your putter.

Q. You can get another putter and perhaps do the same thing?

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, but, I am not going to change.

Q. You have never led wire-to-wire before?

DAVIS LOVE III: Probably through Saturday. I don't know though. I haven't won wire-to-wire, no.

JOAN vON THRON: Shared the lead wire-to-wire, but that's not how we -- you have to be outright leader wire-to-wire. Thank you, Davis.

DAVIS LOVE III: Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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