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February 20, 2002

Davis Love III


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: I'd like to welcome Davis Love III, 2-1 winner over Phillip Price.

Maybe you could get us started talking about match-play as well as this tournament in general.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, anything, obviously can happen in 18-hole match-play, so I'm glad to move on. Hopefully, I can continue to hit the ball the way I hit it today. I hit it pretty good. You know, got off to an early lead, which is exactly what you want, and keep the pressure on, and didn't obviously finish as quickly as it looked like it could have. But I'm glad to move on and glad to get the first one out of the way.

I was pretty nervous starting off until I birdied the first couple of holes and got off to a good start. You never know what to expect in a tournament like this. The first one, Steve Pate and I were both 4-under and I hit a couple of bad shots on the back and all of a sudden I was going home.

So, you just don't know what to expect, this kind of nerve-wracking event, and glad to get through the first day.

Q. You holed out from the bunker on 14; is that correct?

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah. I hit -- we thought it was a pretty good shot and nobody kind of slapped up there so we thought, well, maybe it came up short. Turned out I was in the bunker. He actually said, "Nice shot." He thought it was close, too.

Then I kind of pinned it in the bunker, and then walking up there, we couldn't say the ball and mine was in the bunker and I had kind of an easy shot and he had a semi-hard shot and he holed it. You know, then you knew -- he finally got on the tee and finally won a hole, so he was -- you knew he was going to not go away. And then he birdied the next so, that made it interesting.

Like I said I kept hitting good shots. Hit a beautiful 5-iron, and either too much club or didn't get enough wind, at 16, and made a bogey with two of my best swings of the day.

You know, it was just a matter of tying a hole, and finally tied it at 17.

Q. Is it different playing a tournament that potentially could be a one-day event?

DAVIS LOVE III: It is. When I was unpacking, I unpacked and lined up all my shirts in the closet and I'm like, "There's got to be a system to this." It's bad luck if you iron all your shirts for six days. It is a weird feeling. You don't know -- it's not like you make your return flight. It's hard to figure out what to do.

You know, you've just got to approach it as anybody can go home the first day and anybody can win. If you go out and play with a positive attitude and play hard, you never know, you might win.

I felt like I was playing great, and I got sent home the first day, and the next year I felt like I was playing average and I got all the way to Tiger and David. So, you never know. But it's a strange. It's a strange feeling.

Q. What was the verdict, did you iron all six or just one or what?

DAVIS LOVE III: No. I just picked one out, one a day. So I'll iron as I need them.

Q. You're going to iron your shirts one day at a time?

DAVIS LOVE III: And play one day at a time.

Q. Is that a superstition?

DAVIS LOVE III: You don't want to be cocky and iron all your shirts and have it back fire on you. You especially don't want to send cleaning out because then you can really get in trouble. (Laughter.) Because if you send it all out, then you've got to wait until that night to get beat.

Q. How did the course play? Is it different this year than you've seen it in the past?

DAVIS LOVE III: It's a lot drier. Obviously, there has not been as much rain and sometimes we get here, but obviously they have done a lot of work. I would say the greens are as good as I've ever seen them. And, you know, it's always a short field here, and the greens have been so-so a couple of times, and this year they are just perfect. You can tell they have spent a lot of time and effort trying to get this course in top shape.

Obviously, the new owners are committed to keeping it -- keeping it good. You know, you've got a perfect lie on every fairway. I had, maybe, mud on my ball on one hole all day, and you can telling they are working hard on it.

Q. Would you like to see the tournament stay here, be played here every year?

DAVIS LOVE III: When it's in the U.S. -- it's hard to leave places that are tradition. You know, as long as we can balance between -- when Torrey was just another Tour event and then you had -- when it was the Mercedes or whatever, the Tournament of Champions, this was the big event and Torrey was maybe a month -- they were maybe separated by a month and it wasn't that big a deal.

Now, Torrey -- all of the West Coast events have gotten so big that it's hard to have them this close together. So that would be the only problem. But you hate to leave places that -- you know, I don't want to leave a place that I've won on. It's hard, La Costa has always been a special lace place on TOUR to play. Hopefully it would be nice to spread out the San Diego tournaments a little bit so they would not compete with each other or hurt each other.

Q. You said at the beginning you were a little nervous. Do you change your philosophy how you are going in the match depending on the player or how you feel if you're going to attack him or just take it easy and just kind of finish it?

DAVIS LOVE III: You know you'd better not just wait and see what he does. You'd better come out trying to birdie hole.

You've just got to play each hole as you get to it. You never know what he's going to do. For example, I missed about a 6-footer for birdie on 9 and he missed it from two feet and I ended up winning the hole. Looked like I had blown the chance to win the hole and next thing you know, you've won it.

So you've just got to play the golf course. When I got 5-up, I felt into the, "well, all I've got to do is halve the hole," and I should have been trying to win every hole. Maybe the outcome would have been a hole or two earlier, but you've just got to play aggressively and play the golf course and not worry too much about him. That's where the mental -- that's the mental side of it is trying not to -- when he hits a good shot, feel like you have to hit a good shot or try to predict what he's going to do, whether it's make a bogey or make a birdie.

Q. Other than the Ryder Cup, you guys never really play this format. Do you think that affects the way you play the game?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, you go through a wide range of emotions. You get nervous, you don't know what's going to happen, and you get so far ahead that you know you're going to win and he starts coming and you start thinking, maybe I'm going to blow this.

That's the great thing about match-play; we don't do it a lot. And this one, we don't have a partner out there, we don't have a team, it's a very strange feeling. The Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup guys that play them a lot, we get used to that format, but this is completely different. This is win or go home. It's kind of a strange feeling out there.

Q. When somebody chips in, say on a momentum-turning hole, how difficult is it to avoid a letdown on the next hole?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, it's hard when you know that you've given them hope, or like you said, there's always a pivotal point in a match where it's going to go one way or the other. You know, that was his chance for it to go his way, and if he continued making birdies, you know, he pretty much is going to have to birdie four of the last five, probably, to win. At least he had a -- in his mind, that was the turning point. He had finally won a hole, he had finally gotten the tee.

Then it's hard for the other guy to not start thinking about ways to protect, rather than -- or if you're behind and the guy makes a birdie on you, you get 2-down or 3-down, it's hard to not thinking about the outcome rather than just playing golf.

You know, I was trying to be relaxed and patient and not worry about it and I got not quite as aggressive, maybe, as I should have.

Q. Do you care who you play next?

DAVIS LOVE III: You know, not really, not the way I'm driving it. And I'm starting to putt pretty good. So, you know, I do care, but I'm not wishing for something other than one guy to win versus another.

Every match is tough, and if you ever think you've got an easy one, then that's the one that's going to jump up and get you.

I looked at my bracket and I went, "God, that's a hard bracket," and I looked at the one below me and was like, "that one is hard, too." Every one of them is hard. There's no correct side of the page to be on. So, really, if you go out there and play well, you can beat anybody; that's the way I look at it.

End of FastScripts....

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