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June 14, 2002

Davis Love III


Q. Sergio was just in here telling us play should have been stopped. Do you agree, for afternoon players?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I asked several times if we shouldn't stop, but they said we were keeping on going.

But I told them, we were waiting long enough without having to wait for squeegeeing, and tees were -- some of the tees were casual water and some of the fairways were casual water.

So I don't know. We would have stopped in most tournaments. I think it was right on the edge of a tough decision whether to stop or not. And there's still play going on. They wouldn't have finished if they had stopped, and I think that was what they were probably scared of.

RAND JERRIS: Could you just take a moment and run through the birdies and bogeys, and your club selections.

DAVIS LOVE III: First bogey, 15, I 3-putted after hitting a 3-iron on the green about 30 feet left of the hole. I left it about four feet short and missed it.

17, hit it left of the green with a 3-iron and chipped it down there about three feet and missed it.

And No. 5, drove it way left, chipped out, hit it on the green about 20 feet with a pitching wedge and 2-putted for bogey.

And then 7, a driver and a 1-iron just in the left rough up front of the green high and pitched it in.

And then No. 9, drove it in, through the fairway on the right rough and hit a pitching wedge to about 18 feet and made it for birdie.

And there was a lot of excitement other than that, but it sounds pretty simple. There was a lot of grinding and a lot of long irons and a lot of hanging in there in between those holes.

So it was a brutal day. I don't think I've played 15 holes with my umbrella up in a long, long time, straight holes. Finally, the last three, we put our umbrella down, but then that's when the wind was blowing dead-in on 7 and almost dead-in on 8. So it never got any easier all day.

Q. At 2-over par, can you get -- is this golf course susceptible enough to enough birdies that you could get to 5 ( -under) and get to that point, saying that the leader doesn't come back to you?

DAVIS LOVE III: I don't think you can chase 5-under by any stretch. So it looks like he's holing a lot of putts and been in a lot of fairways, and we're just going to have to do the same.

But you can't -- you go back through every U.S. Open, I bet there's only been a few that the leader after the first day or second day had the winning score. So you can't chase scores yet.

Q. Is this the most difficult venue that you can remember for the Open Championship? They say it is, but for you, you're a long-ball hitter; this course is supposed to favor you?

DAVIS LOVE III: It's far and away the hardest U.S. Open course I've played. Obviously, I didn't play when Hale won at Winged Foot. But it's the hardest U.S. Open setup I've ever seen or hope I ever see.

Q. You always try to be patient. But in the situation where you're behind Tiger, the course is playing the way it is, is it hard to maintain that patience and not get too aggressive right now?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, you can't change your strategy. You've got to hit it in the fairway, hit it on the green and hope to make putts. This course is so hard, there's no holes that you can say: I'm going to change my plan and get aggressive. Today you couldn't get to some of the fairways for half the field. You can't change. You've got to play, and everybody is going to have some tough holes. And you've got to expect that he's not going to keep that pace up on this kind of a golf course.

Q. Did you feel at any point that play should have been stopped because of the weather? And Sergio Garcia said he felt if Tiger Woods was playing in the afternoon, they would have stopped play?

DAVIS LOVE III: I don't think they do it based on players. But it was borderline. They could have stopped it and nobody would have complained, let's put it that way.

Q. Considering all the water that the course absorbed today, were the greens really, really saturated? Did it slow the ball down at all? It seemed like the balls were rolling relatively smooth.

DAVIS LOVE III: I'm going to find the green superintendent and ask him how he did that. They were soft; they would accept a shot. But they were still fast. And even 17, which was going under water when we came through there, it was still fast. I don't know -- I've never seen that.

You would think that all that water, the greens would slow down. If anything -- I don't know, they almost seemed like they were faster, I don't know if I was dreaming, but they were plenty fast. That's why the scores didn't get any better as the day went on. It wasn't like we could start banging putts in. I kept putting the same pace I did yesterday, which is pretty incredible.

But these are the finest greens I've ever played a major championship on, without a doubt. And I don't know how they're doing it. Now, I've got some issues with the way they grew the rough. But they did a great job with the greens.

Q. You said it was hard, are you amazed that Shigeki was able to shoot a 67 in those conditions?

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, that was pretty incredible. I don't know what -- in our wave, if somebody gets in under par, I hung in there in my wave. I don't know what the conditions were like when Tiger played, but obviously he won his wave by a bunch. Nobody was even anywhere near him. And what was the lowest in his --.

Q. He was the only guy under par.

DAVIS LOVE III: Who was 1-under in that wave? 1-over. Who was 1-over? Somebody finish 1-over in the morning? Anyway, he got the most out of his wave. Obviously he blew them away in the morning, which all the other scores it seemed like, the other rest of the Top 10 it seems like were in the afternoon. He did a great job in the morning.

But it's pretty shocking what Maruyama did. Shingo is hanging in there; he was 1-under most of the day, and it was looking like a heck of a round, and let it get away from him at the end. It's a miracle to shoot anything around par.

Q. Given the conditions and given the fact that most of the field is still looking up at you and the rest of the leaders, how do you feel about the first two rounds, 71 -71?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I hit some bad -- some really bad drives. And it's such a mental battle out there to just get up and hit it. You know you've got to hit such a good drive on some of these holes to get in the fairway. I hit some good ones, and I hit some horrendous drives. It doesn't matter. Either you hit it good or it doesn't matter, because you're going to chip out. I think I hit one ball in two days out of the rough, and that was with a pitching wedge. But I'm not happy with it.

I'm glad that I'm in decent position, but I'm not happy with it. I missed several little putts today and didn't really make a whole lot of putts the two rounds. That's the difference. I was watching this morning, and Tiger made one after another after another. And that's his strength, obviously. Everybody talks about how far he hits it, how strong he hits it; he makes an unbelievable amount of putts. The greens were great this afternoon. There's no excuse except that I just didn't make them, and that's the only thing I'm disappointed in.

I let a few get away from me, just not driving it good enough and not putting good enough. But I hung in there good. I give myself credit. From where I was playing, I hung in there and at least got a chance.

Q. We talked a lot about how difficult this course is. Is there any one thing that you could say that the recreational golfer or public person reading about this or watching it could understand how difficult this is in the game of golf?

DAVIS LOVE III: One thing? Well, the best players in the world are -- most of them are going to be embarrassed with their scores after two days. Shooting mid and high 70's and almost no hope for shooting under par unless you play perfectly, and that's a pretty unbelievable statement.

The average scratch handicap couldn't break 80 out there, let's put it that way. A really good scratch player wouldn't even have a chance to break 80, I don't think. My brother is a scratch player, he couldn't -- I bet he couldn't break 80 if you let him play four days in a row out there. Today, these kind of conditions, it's that hard.

Q. Sounds like you watched Tiger's round this morning, and obviously you knew where he stood before you went out?

DAVIS LOVE III: I watched the telecast, so I watched most of his round. (Laughter.) And highlights from yesterday, too. So I saw all the putts he made.

Q. When you say there's not a lot of hope of going under par, when you're getting ready to tee off in these conditions, how frustrating is it to try to make up any ground at all or just to tread water, so to speak?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, you've just got to go play. You know it's possible when Maruyama or K.J. or Tiger do it, you know it's possible. So you've just got to go play. Or Padraig; there's guys shooting under par, so it's possible.

But like I said, I'm not worried about the figures. If you can just hang in there and keep giving yourself chances. I would have loved to have taken my score after two days at a lot of U.S. opens and let them play the weekend.

So you know what, I might not have to shoot a whole lot under par on the weekend. You just never know. I'm just going to keep playing my same routine, same strategy, and maybe I'll play it better than I have the last two days.

End of FastScripts....

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