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April 19, 2000

Davis Love III


DAVIS LOVE III: I have been close to winning for the last 15 years. I've come close a lot. In the last two years, I've come close and haven't won, and just not quite putting rounds together. And hopefully this will be the week that I do. I don't have to play mistake-free golf, but I have to play four good rounds.

Q. (Inaudible.)

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, it would be nice one time, just cruise along like Stewart Cink did last week and not really feel like you were in the middle of it until the very end. And that was a great way to win a golf tournament, just play steady golf and getting better every day. I think I've had some hot rounds and got myself into the lead all of a sudden on Saturday or into the lead on Friday and not really have four good steady rounds. Hopefully, I can get in that position and get that good Sunday feeling again.

Q. Is there anything in your play that's let you down any more than any other?

DAVIS LOVE III: No, it's just something different every day. I think it's more mental than anything. I start pushing a little too hard in certain situations, or lose a little confidence in the putter for a few holes, or hit a few bad iron shots in a row. I don't analyze it a whole lot. But looking back over my rounds, I always had one swing or one putt that I wasn't a hundred percent thinking about that shot. I was thinking more maybe what it would mean to make a birdie here or get it on the green there. And I think sometimes mentally I start thinking about results a little too much right now, because I am obviously trying hard to win -- The Masters, or wherever. Thinking about winning is probably popping into my head maybe a little too much.

Q. (Inaudible.)

DAVIS LOVE III: (Inaudible.) It really hasn't changed much, except it's gotten in better shape. Those first couple of years after they redid the majority of the greens, I guess, at once. I felt it was a little rough around the edges, but now it's in great condition. I think it's the best I've seen it since maybe my college days, before they started doing any changes to it. It's in very, very good shape. (Inaudible.) The rough is very, very healthy. They've got a good crop growing out there. So you want to keep it out of the rough and obviously give yourself lots of birdie chances, because the greens are very good and the guy who gets a lot of chances is probably going to be making birdies.

Q. (Inaudible.)

DAVIS LOVE III: It's playing very long. This morning it was extremely long, and you could kind of feel it drying up a little bit. Because we went out and started at 7, so it was squishy and damp, but with wind and sun it ought to be just fine. It won't be getting a lot of roll, but it will dry up nicely I think by tomorrow.

Q. You have a reputation for (inaudible)?

DAVIS LOVE III: We have the roughs and the links, I think. It's a big-looking, big-feeling golf course. It's going to be long scoringwise, obviously. There's been two or three or four maybe tournaments that you can remember some low scores; but in general it's a big, tough golf course, especially when it turns a little cooler or a little bit of rain. The course is playing long. It played dry and fast a few times and played hard that way. But usually you get the feeling that I'm going to have to hit the ball a long ways and hit some long shots and then play a couple of tough holes. The guys that get three holes like 3 and 4, and 14, they get through the tough holes, and then they make birdies on all of them, it just doesn't feel quite as hard. But the guy that's going bad, this is a tough course.

Q. (Inaudible.)

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, obviously working with Bob Rotella and stuff like that has helped me stay into a routine on each shot. But it's all built around what you want to do with the ball and what kind of practice swing you're going to make and where the target is, rather than where the rough is, and what does it mean if I par this hole and hit this fairway and make this putt. And also not trying to -- try so hard to beat up the par-5s to make a birdie on them. I have to be patient and play my game and wait for something to happen and not try to force something and get frustrated. I obviously haven't won as much as I should have won, but I've also hung in there probably more than most guys. That doesn't always show up in wins, but I think it shows up in all-time money. I kind of hover in the world rankings up there pretty high without winning a whole lot in the last three or four years because I just kind of hang in there.

Q. (Inaudible.)

DAVIS LOVE III: We kind of tried that once at the Nabisco in the qualifying. You get points for finishing the top-10 guy in each event. But the problem you ran into is so many things are based -- that we don't control -- are based on money. So much on the money list gets you on the PGA Championship; so much on the money list gets you into the U.S. open, a certain position. If we could get everybody to switch at once, yes. It's like the World Golf rankings, there's so much controversy back and forth because some people use the money, some people use the world rankings, some people do this and that. But obviously it would be very hard to rate tournaments. And these days, the fields are based a lot on how big the purse is. And so people say: "That's not fair. You guys play THE PLAYERS Championship and make all that money, and you get ahead of the guys that don't get in." But it's the best deal. If you win a lot of money in that tournament, then you are one of the best players. I think it kind of is snowballing a little right now because there's a big imbalance. But now I guess there's going to be pretty soon 14 tournaments over $4 million, that it's going to start leveling back out. Even a guy that wins 720,000 in a week (inaudible.)

Q. In the near future, there are plans of possibly building a new course for the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic. Your feelings, what kind of course would you like to see?

DAVIS LOVE III: I'd like to see -- probably not the right thing to say, but the old Forest Oaks, a very traditional -- traditional greens. Obviously we need to modernize and make things maybe a little harder than the old course, but I like those old greens. And I know they've had to be rebuilt for soil conditions. But some of them have changed a little bit in their shape over the years. But personally I like pretty traditional-type stuff. These kind of rolling hills. A golf course a lot like this one. That's kind of why it's hard to leave. What are you going to build? I know we're running out of room and things at Forest Oaks. I wouldn't change a whole lot. I'd build it a lot like this. The holes, like 14, pretty straightforward, classy, hard golf hole. I hope -- whatever is best for the tournament is what you want. I hated to see them leave the country club where I grew up, but it's helped the golf tournament. So whatever helps the tournament I think helps, you know, obviously the community.

Q. You would like to stay away from TPC-type courses?

DAVIS LOVE III: No, you've got a lot of good TPC courses. I just think a more traditional-style course would fit this area and this tournament.

Q. (Inaudible) No matter what, it's inevitable that the first year after a new course, the field -- it will be difficult to attract the kind of field the organizers would hope for. And he points to Atlanta as a case in point. Do you agree with that?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think it is, especially the top players. Even though I haven't been here in a few years, I can pop in and play Wednesday Pro Am and be ready to go because I know the golf course. And the veterans say: "I'm making a schedule. It will take me another day or two to get ready for this tournament, because I haven't seen this golf course before." So maybe they say, "Well, that's one I can skip and see how everybody does and see how everyone likes it." But on the flip side, tournaments like the John Deere Classic, you go to a new golf course, and the talk has been so positive about the course, they're going to attract a field just to go see what it looks like because they've heard so much about it. Maybe in some instances when guys are avoiding the tournament because of the golf course, a new course could help. Here it would be a tough call. I think you're going to have your four guys that are going to be here. I think it all ends up boiling down to scheduling and interest level is what's driving guys right now. It's hard to skip, like we were talking about earlier. It's hard to skip a $4 million purse. When a $4 million event is coming up or 5 million two weeks ago, it's hard to not play those and keep up with the Joneses -- and the Woodses. And that's really the big factor here. You've got a new course. More room to do marketing, tents and all that, maybe drives the purse even higher and gets better. I'm sure that's the goal. It's not to leave here and make less money -- leave here and maybe figure out a way to make more money, get the purse up and the charity up.

Q. (Inaudible.)

DAVIS LOVE III: That was on Sunday. I remember it was a cold, rainy day. It was probably absolutely as good as you can get in those conditions. And on this golf course you don't expect to shoot a score like that. But, yeah, I remember, obviously, holing out of a bunker on 15, and you know a lot of balls were very close. I didn't have to putt a whole lot. There are a couple other ones, long shots, like on 8, you get very close to the hole and that makes it -- that makes it a lot easier. Obviously it was just one of those days where I got it going and just kept it going. Then when I got ahead, I only needed to get it up-and-down on 15 for birdie, and it was almost over, an up-and-down would have sealed it; and then I holed it and got it to the next hole and got it down the middle and almost holed it from the fairway. So it's one of those things that almost got away from me when I got it going good.

Q. Is your hunger to win again a reason that you keep coming back to this event this year?

DAVIS LOVE III: I was going to play right from the beginning of the year. I promised the guys in Atlanta that I'd come back there and give them a shot, and that messed me up last year. I wanted to play and I needed to play. You've got a lot of incentives, and I always try to play each tournament every four years. There's just a lot of reasons. Most of all, I'm playing well and I wanted to play on a golf course that I felt I could win on. I've just missed playing here. I forgot to commit once, and scheduling and all different reasons, but I never sat at home wishing -- being glad I wasn't here. I was wishing that I could play. Just like last year, I wore myself down, didn't get to finish Hilton Head. I beat myself up so much playing Bay Hill, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Augusta, Hilton Head, I knew I wasn't going to make it to Greensboro, probably shouldn't even play Hilton Head, one of my favorite places. I was just worn out after The Masters. That golf course in Atlanta wipes you out. I knew that was going to be too much last year. But I am glad to be back, and I'm looking forward to a great week.

Q. Last year so many guys were 62s, 63s. Were you surprised to see numbers like that sitting at home watching on the TV?

DAVIS LOVE III: I was shocked. I guess the greens got soft and they were in great shape. You know, in the past the greens have been pretty bumpy here. And as they've gotten better and better, it seems like the scores have gone right along with them. They've gotten lower and lower. They always say: Gosh, you used to not shoot so low at Bay Hill or Doral or wherever -- these hard golf courses. Well, yeah the greens used to be bad and it's bumpy, it's hard to make putts on. Now, like in Florida, there is no Bermuda grass, really, hardly any grain anymore. And everywhere we go the greens are perfect. The bunkers are perfect. It has -- I'm not saying it's gotten easier because of it, but I think when conditions are good, the greens are good, you can make more putts. You will see guys getting on a roll and making a lot of those scores.

Q. On the course this morning, what do you expect for this week (inaudible)?

DAVIS LOVE III: They said last year the rough was just as deep and the greens are good. I don't know, it's hard to go tee off tomorrow morning thinking you have to shoot 23-under to win. I don't see that. To me it's like a 14 -, 15-under course. But it all depends on the wind and the rain and whatever. Sunday it rained -- last year it rained a lot, didn't it? Or was that Saturday? When was it they played through a ton of rain? (Inaudible.) I think it all depends on the wind, really, now. If the wind doesn't blow and it stays kind of soft -- the greens are fast, too. I don't know if they were this fast last year. They've got some speed to them. I hope it's not 23-under.

End of FastScripts….

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