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April 18, 2002

Davis Love III


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: I'd like to welcome Davis Love III to the media center. Davis, great round today, 62, your career best at Harbour Town. If you could talk a little bit about your round today and we'll open it up to some questions.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, obviously I'm excited about the start. Yesterday I was playing real well in the Pro Am and hit a lot of good shots and was pretty happy with the state of my game at The Masters, even though I didn't shoot the scores I wanted. I felt like I was going to play good. I really started off with a lot of confidence today. I hit a lot of good shots right out of the box and got stuck with my routine probably better than I have in a long time, even if there were distractions and times when I could have lost my patience a little bit.

So I did everything real well. I missed maybe four greens and chipped in two of them and got the other two up-and-down. It was just a good, solid day. And I don't think I missed a 15 to 20-footers -- I made all of those. And I missed a few shorter ones. The longer putts I haven't really been making, I made. And obviously the good chip-ins kept the front nine going. I chipped in twice on three holes on the front. So all in all just a great day, a great start. And it was another boost of my confidence that I am swinging good.

Q. The work on The Masters, was it almost a pleasure you're to play here?

DAVIS LOVE III: It was like a chip-and-putt course after hitting a 4, 5, 6-iron into every hole last week. It does seem easier. You still have to drive it in the fairway. But once you do get in the fairway here, you have shorter shots in the green, and it was calm for 9 or 10 holes, it didn't play that hard.

Q. You said 63 yesterday was easy. Is this a continuation of that? Does it seem it's very natural?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, it's natural to get out under calm conditions when you're playing well and feel like you could shoot a score. Saturday at Augusta, my brother, Mark, came to watch me play a few days up there, he just wasn't happy with the way I was setting up to the putter. So he started helping me Saturday afternoon and evening. And he didn't want to tell me a whole lot, one more day to go at The Masters. But he started me on the right track.

And when we got here he started -- we really worked Tuesday afternoon on my putting setup, so the putter would swing a little better. And I started making them right out of the box on the Pro Am day yesterday, and just gained a lot of confidence. I knew my routine was good, I knew I was doing the right things, but my setup is what wouldn't let me hit enough good putts to get on a roll. And I think that was the biggest difference.

A guy asked me walking off the green, said it makes a big difference when your brother is caddying for you, yeah, if he's fixing my putting. But he did that -- he started that last week. And whether it was caddying this week or not, this is the time of year where I get to spend a little more time going around the golf course, and he helps me. We play at home. Last year we played at our home course before the last four tournaments. And he said why don't you putt on Tour like you putt at home? Something is different, and I play good for four weeks. And he always seems to find a way to get me putting when I'm not putting well because he's watched me so much. But he did get me rolling well, and I made a lot of nice putts today.

Q. How did Mark -- why did he quit caddying for you, or did you fire him or what, and what's he doing now?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, he retired, he didn't get fired. We've got a golf course design and construction business that kind of took off on us, and he needed to be minding the store on that more than out here. And the plan was he was going to caddy off and on. But I felt like I didn't have any continuity if he popped out for the big events. I didn't have any continuity .And we came to a mutual decision that he'd caddy some for fun and concentrate on the golf course design business, which as we get busier and busier he needs to do. Last year ,if I'm hurt or not playing well, it's not like he's going to switch and get another bag. He needed to move onto something else. So it's been good for us. We spend a lot of time together on that, and that's a lot of fun. We just need to -- I need to play more golf with him -- he's playing really, really well, and so when I get home I need to play some with him and let him help me.

But like I said, here we are, TPC, Augusta, Hilton Head time of the year. He's out watching me play, seeing things that I'm not doing well. He's gotten me back on track. And as I said, I'm sure it doesn't matter if he's carrying the bag or not, he's helping me with my game.

Q. A lot of people seem to be making putts today. Is it -- could you talk about the speed of the greens or maybe the roll, are they just perfect?

DAVIS LOVE III: They were perfect this morning. I felt guilty walking around with spikes on they were so good. I didn't want to kick up any spike marks for the guys later on.

But this grass and whatever they're using for overseed, it's just perfect. And after last week the guys that played last week, now we can hit it, rather than nudging it. So you free up a little bit because of that. I really think there's a lot of little things that you do to get ready for Augusta that help you play well the rest of the spring. But one of the biggest things is you can let it go a little bit when you get here with the putter and not squeeze it so tight, you can roll it better.

Q. How do these compare with say the average PGA TOUR event greens, speedwise?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think this time of year here they're probably going to naturally be a little bit slower. You're in an overseed transition time. So I would say they're a little bit slower. We don't find anything any smoother. But we probably find a little faster.

Q. Are they at a comfortable pace?

DAVIS LOVE III: They're a good pace to make putts, yeah. And if -- they're having to put water on this rye grass. It's late with the rye grass, and they're having to water it to keep it going, so they're a little bit softer and slower than they want. The fairways are a little wetter than they want. I have a feeling at the weekend they can let it go a little bit and they'll pick up the pace. If the wind blows like today in the afternoons, they will be faster in the afternoons than in the mornings.

Q. How much better could your round have been today?

DAVIS LOVE III: If I hadn't have chipped in twice, a couple of big ifs. But I missed some 6, 8, 10-footers for birdie, but I made a bunch of putts, too. It's one of those days that you go, it was a great round. You're not feeling like you left a bunch out there. I missed makeable putts at 8 and 9. But I missed a makeable putt at 18 and a makeable putt at 12. I missed probably three -- the three easiest putts, four easiest putts of the day I missed. But I made like one on 11 that broke a foot, from 15, 18 feet. So I made a lot of nice putts. So I'm not -- I would never say I left any out there, because I got some -- for every little one I missed I should be able to make a long one. It was a good all around day. I don't feel like I got more than I deserved, but I certainly didn't leave a whole lot out there.

Q. Davis, given the amounts of rain that fell in Augusta, do you think that lift clean and place should have been used for maybe rounds 2 and 3?

DAVIS LOVE III: It couldn't have been 2, because it spilled over -- it already started when the rain started. But I don't know, it's like the USGA, they don't want to play lift clean and place ever. But it's tough. There were some good scores shot under the conditions. So I don't think it was unplayable. But it was tricky.

Q. So many players taking casual water relief, other players won't, it was just very unfair?

DAVIS LOVE III: It was the same for everybody, kind of the way the players felt. But it wasn't the best conditions to play golf in, that's for sure.

Q. Back to Mark. A little bit about the mechanics, what did he do to free up the putter?

DAVIS LOVE III: He felt like I was hunched over the putter a little bit, a little bit open, rather than stand up straight and arms hanging down and square. So he really got me -- you need a picture of what Ernie Els looks like with a putter. You're slumped down, and Ernie, his arms are hanging and swinging.

And I came out to putt last night, late, and there was Ernie putting. So I followed him around the putting green a little bit and watched him. But I do feel now that I'm taller, and my arms are hanging more and swinging more. And I was missing them right and left. So I knew something -- if you keep missing it the same way, maybe you're misreading or not hitting at the right speed. But I was missing them, pulling them and pushing them, and it was definitely my setup.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You made 9 birdies today, Davis. Start out on No. 10 with the birdie.

DAVIS LOVE III: 10, driver and a 9-iron to about 18 feet.

11, a driver and a chip draw, a little knock down 8-iron in there about 15 feet and made that.

13, 4-wood off the tee, and pitching wedge to about 20 feet.

15, a driver off the tee, laid up with a 9-iron, believe it or not, and hit a sand wedge to about 20 feet.

16, 4-wood off the tee, 9-iron to about 15 feet.

On 3, driver, 7-iron, 20 feet.

4, chipped it out, hit it pin-high on the right fringe, just into the deeper grass and chipped it in. That was a nice 50 foot chip shot.

And then 5, driver and 4-wood just past pin-high in the bunker, blast out to about three feet, four feet.

And 6, I hit a great drive, 3-wood around the corner and kind of stuck a 60 degree wedge in the ground a little bit and hit up on the front of the green and it rolled off down to the right in that little valley, and I chipped that in.

And I --

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: As far as 9, it's an interesting hole. What's your strategy there? You hit a driver there yesterday.

DAVIS LOVE III: Driver yesterday when the pin was left. Today I hit a 5-iron off the tee and a sand wedge to about 6 or 8 feet.

Q. It's often said that it's hard to follow a great round with another really good one, yet you've shot 63, 62 the last couple of days. Do you think there's another one like that in you tomorrow?

DAVIS LOVE III: I hope so. As I said outside, I shot 62 not trying to shoot 62. So that's the thing, I've got to go out tomorrow and just play and not pay attention to the scores or the scoreboard. I was sneaking a peak at Jose Coceres -- I'm birdying every hole, and he's birdying every one right ahead of me. And I'm not going to let him do that to me again, like he did at Disney. Once I made the turn I said you've got to quit watching the leaderboard. So I've got to tomorrow -- I've got to not pay attention to the score, because obviously four 62's will be very good. But you can't go out and think about shooting four 62's, you've got to go out and play.

The reason it's hard to follow a 59 or a 61 or a 62 is because it's hard to shoot a low 60s round. But when you're playing that good, you ought to be able to come back with another good day.

Q. Davis, you talked about your brother using Ernie Els as a model. Is that because of your frames? You're similar height?

DAVIS LOVE III: The height and similar putting style, more out over the ball and shoulders swinging. We just have similar setups. He wouldn't say, go look at Ben Crenshaw.

Q. Or Billy Mayfair?

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, somebody that doesn't have the same type of structure. Ernie and I -- he's switched, but we use similar putters, similar stroke, kind of not a rushed stroke, easy going and kind of smooth shoulder swing putting stroke. So those are -- that was a good mental picture for me. That's why he's a good player and why he's always helped me, because he defines little things like that. Jack has been watching me trying to figure out how to help me get better all year. He's got my swinging good, but there's one little thing that he told me in my putting that Jack didn't see. Because Jack didn't stand there and watch me putt like Mark did for years, putt after putt after putt after putt and under pressure. And my mom sometimes says the toe of your putter is in the air. Little things like that that people that watch all the time pick up that I can't see.

End of FastScripts....

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