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March 16, 2003

Davis Love III


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Thanks for coming in. Just start with a few opening comments and we'll go right into questions.

DAVIS LOVE III: Obviously, disappointed with the finish and disappointed with my back nine. But as Justin said, we played good for 10 or 11 holes and then it wasn't quite as good after that.

But all in all, a good week and I just didn't hit it or putt as good the last four or five holes as I did the rest of the week. So it's disappointing but I'm still excited about THE PLAYERS and the rest of the year.

Q. Did the wind start shifting by the time you got to 15? Everybody had problems there?

DAVIS LOVE III: It started picking up when we got maybe to 13. After I hit driver off 13, it's starting to blow pretty good. Just, even there, I hit a beautiful 8-iron and got stood up by a gust, and it ended up 40 feet rather than getting over the hill and having a putt at it.

Had a good 3-iron into the next hole and I got off to the side of the green. You could tell, Justin is in the right bunker and I'm long right. We both got tricked a little bit there and we both got tricked at 18. It's gusting and the flag is still and it's changing in and out. It was just hard to -- it's hard to judge. I mean, we had a 7, an 8 and a 9 (iron) at 16. After Justin hit it way right with a 7 and Chris hit it way left with a 9, I said, well, I've got to go in the middle, both with the clubs and the shot, and then I didn't hit my 8-iron hard enough to get it there. Just the way it went. We were all guessing.

17 was a tough driving hole with the wind blowing and shifting. It just shows that on a golf course you don't know that well when it start jumping around like that, it's hard to figure a club.

Q. What was your lie like on 15, you didn't like the second shot.

DAVIS LOVE III: I was in between clubs. I was in between a 4 and a 5. I just figured I would hit a big high cut 4, and even if it went a little long, make him, since he doesn't hit it quite as high, make him have to hit a good shot. Just trying to hit a trick shot and I caught it a little fat and never got it up in the air.

Q. What was your lie on the third shot?

DAVIS LOVE III: I had a good lie. I thought it would take off when it got on the green and left it short, but I had one of those putts that looked like it was downgrain and feeding left, and it stayed out there to the right, but I just missed a couple of putts like that. If I make that one or don't 3-putt on the front, I never really could get enough momentum going because I didn't make a whole lot of putts.

Q. Is it harder or easier putting away a guy that you're really close to?

DAVIS LOVE III: I don't think it's that much different. I think we were friendly in competition and we're both trying hard to win and pulling for each other at the same time. And somebody asked out there: Is it easier if you lose to a friend. No, not really. I'm happy for Justin but I'm still disappointed that I didn't play well. We did have a pretty fun day out there.

Q. Will you remember this as one where Justin beat you or you helped him too much, how will you remember it?

DAVIS LOVE III: No, I think Justin played very well. He did what he had to do. He really didn't have to par the last hole, but he was, what, 6-under coming into the last hole and he played pretty solid. He only hit a few bad shots and made some great up-and-downs. So I feel like he won it. I knew what I had to do. I had to shoot 6- or 7-under par to win and I just didn't do it.

Q. Would you say the swing shot for him was the par putt on the par 3?

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, I had a tough putt. I had one breaking about five or six inches, but that was definitely the swing hole. I missed the green after he hits it over there. We didn't even know where his ball was and then for him to get it up-and-down and me not to get it up-and-down was a killer, obviously. That was a heck of a putt, though, that he made. He missed the cut by two and could have made it.

Q. Talk about the weekend. Obviously this is a transition year, but do you think you'll come back and other guys will come back next year?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think so. I think they did a great job with the facilities not quite open yet of taking good care of us. Everybody was extremely nice. If the golf course over there is in as good of condition as this one was, I think everybody will enjoy it and come back.

It's nice to play as many as you can in Florida. I think guys are going to lean towards this one probably as much as any of them, obviously other than the players.

Q. Are you disappointed you didn't feed off the momentum of your earlier victory and great finish?

DAVIS LOVE III: I'm just disappointed I didn't play well on the back nine. I don't want to analyze it that much. I just didn't play that well and I didn't hit good putts starting off the back nine after eagling and birdieing at 8 and 9. Just disappointing when you're playing well not to win no matter what's happened earlier in the year.

Q. You said that the wind was getting tricky towards the end, but after the way the players have had their way with this course the first three days does it just get tougher down the stretch to hit the same shots you've been hitting the first three days?

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, definitely, those holes, 15 through 18 can be some easy holes or if you don't hit good shots, obviously could be very hard holes. I think that was the difference. Coming down the stretch, we were a little bit tired and some tricky shots; and you don't free-wheel it quite as good, and it showed more on those holes than it would finishing on the other nine.

Q. 15 wins, and then you talk about not playing well on the back nine. Obviously, you know how to finish, is that just golf today, your letdown is not having your game you wanted going to that 10th tee?

DAVIS LOVE III: I hit good shots, right at it off the tee at 10 and pretty good shot into the green and missed the putt. Hit a good shot that got stood up a little bit by the wind at 11 and didn't make the putt. Hit good shots at 12. I was hitting it -- I was hitting good. I just wasn't getting real close and wasn't making the putts. I hit two good shots at 13 and a good shot at 14.

So I was doing good, really, until 15. I don't think it was much of a letdown. I just didn't hit good ones when I needed to and that's disappointing.

I was positive the whole way except for maybe 16 I was a little undecided on my tee shot on 16, and that's the one that I'm going to kick myself the most over and after that I was forcing it probably at 17 and 18.

Q. What was your club at 16 and why were you uncertain?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, Justin had hit a 7 and then Chris pulled out a 9 and I was thinking a little 7 or 8 before that and -- I just never got 100% committed what I was trying to do. I needed to turn the 8 over and I had seen Chris turn it over and he needed to cut it, and I had seen Justin cut it over in the swamp. I just never decided 100% what I was trying to do. That's the mistake I should not make. I can live with making a bad swing but I just never got 100% into the shot and in the end that probably cost me the tournament. If I had hit an 8-iron on the green, had a birdie putt, maybe it would have been a different story, so that's the one that's going to bother me the most.

End of FastScripts....

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