May 6, 2003
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA
DAVIS LOVE III: It's nice to be to be back and be a part of it, and Wachovia jumped in big time and we're excited get the tournament going. Hopefully it will quit raining by Thursday and we can get going. But I'm excited to be here.
Q. I asked Mike Weir the same thing but right now if the season ended now, you've already had a great year, how do you reassess your goals and keep trying to play well?
DAVIS LOVE III: I really didn't have a specific goal that I wanted to win three tournaments this year. I wanted to come out and be ready to play every week and compete every week and have a good year.
So, I'm off to a great start. I'm really taking major by major, trying to get ready for the Masters and be prepared for that and then turnaround and get ready for the U.S. Open, and obviously Mike did what he wanted to do at the Masters and the rest of us didn't. I'm looking forward to having a few more tournaments before the U.S. Open and trying to prepare for that.
But the goal, you know, to be ready to play every week and challenge every week and Player of the Year and money winner and stuff like that, it takes a whole season to do that.
Q. Do you change your approach on any given week?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, usually -- it's a big traditional golf course. Everybody is in the same boat. It's not like somebody has a lot of local knowledge and even the guys that have played here, it's been redone and now it's longer because it's raining. I think everybody is in the same boat. But we've all played a lot of courses like this, traditional, big golf courses.
DAVIS LOVE III: Guys are obviously excited for Mike. There's a lot of appreciation from the guys have that won a major and how hard it is to win one and just an accomplishment to win a major. The guys that haven't won, you know, are even more -- because they want to win one. I think from watching him, that's a big part of the excitement of the winning is that the players are excited for you and they understand how important it is.
Q. Now that he's won a Masters should he be regarded as a different player ?
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, I think there's a perception of being a member of a different club when you're a major winner than the regular tour. Actually, it might be one big tournament -- contending for have all been big tournaments. When you do win the Masters, maybe especially the Masters, the dinner, picking the meal, things you are being a part of as a Masters champion that other players are more aware what that means to have things he gets to do, and even if he hasn't done it. They understand more what he's in for and what he's done. It's an exciting feeling for him and it's fun for the other players to get to talking about it and sharing.
DAVIS LOVE III: Driving a lot of fairways and putting better are the biggest thing. I'm healthy and excited about playing and just got a lot of confidence.
Q. You said Player of the Year and money winner have been pretty much over by May in the last few years, but has there been a case in the last few years -- more energy and enthusiasm in your game --
DAVIS LOVE III: I think the majors is obviously still the biggest part of it, the biggest thing. But, there are , for myself, there are other things that I haven't done. I haven't ever been Player of the Year, leading money winner. So you have to -- make you work hard every week -- inaudible -- allowed to take a month off and then I get ready for the U.S. Open, something to keep you going in between majors, all the way through THE TOUR Championship. I think it's basically the same approach through the whole year this year than maybe I have been the last two or three. I think I was hurt for last couple years and just trying to get through the year and this year, now that I'm healthy, trying to play and do everything I can every day to get better throughout the whole year. Obviously got off to a great start on the West Coast and try to keep that going all year.
DAVIS LOVE III: Probably going to be 23 tournaments by THE TOUR Championship. That's average, probably, but five or six years, I think I got it down to 20 maybe over the last two years just because I withdrew a bunch. I think 23 or 24 is probably where I start going overplaying too much. I'd really like to play Dallas next week. I can't play Fort Worth. I'll be back at Memorial after this one. But I wanted to be at 12 events, just about 13 at the U.S. Open, and that's a lot. If you're Norman, that's a full schedule for the year -- inaudible -- 16 or 17 or 18 plus a few world events like the No. 1 players in the world are doing, I'm kind of playing a little more at home than I should. If I'm going to win the big tournaments, I'm going to win Player of the Year and be competitive, I've got to play, I can't take time off because I can go find other things to do and get wrapped up in them if I'm home for two or three straight weeks.
Q. Did your daughter schedule another horse show?
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, she might not be able to get out of final exams. That's still up in the air. Missed Memorial last two years because of this same horse show, but it changed a week.
DAVIS LOVE III: Just because it's Colonial. I played there my first year -- and I really enjoy it, the golf course, the club, the members, it's a fun week. I just hate to miss it. Maybe next year.
Q. Does this remind you at all of '92, your start?
DAVIS LOVE III: I feel it's a very similar start. I guess I have a lot different approach to the rest of the year than I did then. I was caught up in a it a little bit more. It was kind of a new thing to me and Freddie was playing well, we were 1 and 2 on the Money List. It was more of a new thing and I was not really as prepared for it maybe as I am now. I think I'm more prepared to play the rest of the year after a really good start than I was back then.
DAVIS LOVE III: I was trying to win a major and was maybe putting a little too much pressure to play like that every week. After THE PLAYERS Championship, I didn't really relax. By late summer I was frustrated dealing with the new-found attention and just a lot of new things. And there were some equipment things that came up during that year that were distracting.
I think I'm much more in control of what's going on and I think I'm sticking with my plan a little better than I did back then. You know, obviously, ten years later, I'm a little bit more mature.
Yeah, I think back then I was like, oh, now I've got to start working hard and playing good and -- in '92, and had I won THE PLAYERS Championship, I mean, that was like one of the majors to me back then and it was almost like, well, now what do I do now that I'm up there. Beth Daniels said to me, "Moving to the top is a lot more fun than being there." I think back then I was a little more uncomfortable, being 1 and 2 with Freddie. I don't know what the World Rankings were back then or even if there was one, but every time you showed up -- I just wasn't prepared for it.
Now, there are a lot more guys -- that are starting well and playing well, and Mike Weir playing well, won the Masters. I think there's a lot of distraction but there's a lot more going on so I'll know how to handle it better.
DAVIS LOVE III: I feel like my game is right there. I went home and worked on it and I feel like I'm not at the point where I'm searching for anything, just managing my expectations and managing my game and being mentally and physically ready to play. I had a bad weekend but I'm not going to play great every week. But I'm going to be ready when I get there. I think I can win a major, so if I didn't, I would be disappointed. If I don't get -- I planning on it being a great year, it's just a matter of how great it is. It's obviously been a lot of fun so far, but last time I got off to a great start I kind of -- inaudible -- in fact, got two wins but had a good Top-5 on the Money List finish but I feel like this year, if I can stay healthy, I can continue all year and be competitive week-in and week-out.
Q. What were your injuries?
DAVIS LOVE III: Lower back and neck and disk problems. Like anybody's bad back, they come and go and I just had a bad -- last few years, really didn't start feeling better until last year and started coming around. Had to withdraw from quite a few tournaments, especially the year before last. Was just trying to get through the majors because I felt like I was playing well, but not really wanting to hurt myself and kind of milking it. I had more injuries the last two years than my whole career behind and wasn't 100% and I got into bad habits because I can't practice and feel like I could practice and swing that often. It's nice to feel I can play a few weeks in a row or go to New Orleans and play and come home and get right back on the road Monday morning instead of taking two days off, wait for the Pro-Am . I was talking to a couple guys yesterday trying to get my driver straightened out, and a year ago I couldn't have done that.
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