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April 15, 2000

Davis Love III


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We'd like to welcome Davis Love III into the interview room. He shot 1-under 70 today. He's 9-under for the tournament. Let's begin with a couple statements and then questions.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, obviously, I didn't play as well today as I have been playing. And I had a bad stretch in the middle of the round and came back at the end and made a couple birdies, but got back with a chance. Ernie played very, very well, and the farther I got behind, it seemed like the farther I hit it in the hole, I never really got in good rhythm after, I guess, No. 6 or 7. But he played very well. Made a lot of putts, and I'm just glad to be back down where I have a chance.

Q. (Inaudible.)

DAVIS LOVE III: I got back in it, rather than being 5 back. Obviously, 3 back is a lot better position.

Q. Davis, did you wonder, you know, why you were having those kind of troubles in the middle of the round while other guys were going so low today in the conditions, when you played in the first two days and you did so well?

DAVIS LOVE III: I knew why. I was hitting it behind trees, missing greens and missing putts. There wasn't much question why. But, you know, I missed one into 6, you know, trying to get real cute with a shot. I still made par, but after that, I never quite hit a real good iron shot until I hit a good couple short irons, like 12 and 13. But I never really hit a real crisp, solid shot until 16, and then 16, 17, 18 I finally hit some good shots.

Q. What did you do at 11 to get it back together? I guess you drove in the tree again, but then you were able to save par?

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, I figured if I could just stay patient, maybe I could get a good break. I got such a bad break to get behind the tree, you know, just laughing at it. Ernie did the same thing the other day. Hit a marshall and hit it under a bush. That should never happen, and here, two days later it happens again. So just trying to be patient. You never know what putt is going to go in. I got a good break and made a 20-footer.

Q. Do you think maybe you came in prepared for the bad weather that we've had, then saw the good weather and got a little anxious?

DAVIS LOVE III: No. I just got behind to a guy that was playing well and hit a couple bad iron shots. When the greens are this small, it's hard when you start trying to hit the ball close rather than just hitting close. I was trying to force it in there, and so you hit some shots that aren't that bad, just off the green, or on a place where you can't make the putts, when you've been spoiled for two days of having easy birdie putts, most every hole. So I just got a little behind, and as I said, missed a few putts that -- I thought I made the putt at 8; and hit a decent tee shot at 9, you know had a birdie putt there. Maybe I don't get going quite as bad as I was, but two-shot swing at 8 got me pressing a little bit.

Q. What's more frustrating, to totally screw up a shot or when you barely just miss it?

DAVIS LOVE III: They are both pretty frustrating.

Q. You missed two makeable birdie putts at 15 and 16. How much of a relief was it on 17 and 18?

DAVIS LOVE III: It was nice to get a couple birdies the easy way, to finish up. I didn't hit good shots into 14 or 15, and I had longer putts than I wanted. And I thought kind of after 11 I was going to get things going again. I missed a makeable putt at 12. And as I said, didn't hit it close at 14 or 15, and didn't hit a good putt at 16. So the way things were going, I didn't want another couple 10-footers. It was a nice way to finish.

Q. Were you in the water on 10?

DAVIS LOVE III: I was in the water. That's just the way today went. I don't think I've ever hit it in that lake. Honestly, maybe I have one other time, but it's not like I get up there and go, "okay, I'd better keep it away from the lake." I didn't even really realize that it was over there anymore. Just one of those things. I was making -- even the shots I hit in the fairway were kind of a little bit in those -- on the front nine, hit it down the left side of the fairway on 1. Hit it down the left side of the fairway on 2 in the rough. And then 4, a little left of the flag. And then 6, down the left side. 8, kind of hung it in the right. 9, down the left side again. So it wasn't quite there. I felt a lot better coming in. I hit the ball straight off the tee and into the green. I feel a lot better about it.

Q. What do you think your chances are of actually some kind of carryover tomorrow?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, it will be a lot more positive than if I had parred the last two holes, for sure. You know, when you start hitting them good again, hopefully you can get back on a roll, because I was playing very, very well and just got in a little funk there. And hopefully those last three holes -- really, four holes I hit a couple good shots. 15 got me back out of it.

Q. Did you press a little bit more when you're watching Ernie playing so well? Do you see he going in one direction and you going another?

DAVIS LOVE III: I knew that every time I made a mistake, he was picking up more and more shots. And then 8 and 9 really killed me, and that's probably why 10 and 11 weren't very good. But, yeah, if he'd have been, you know, just making pars, it would have been a lot easier probably to ride it and come back around.

Q. You've talked about how it's been tough for you to put together four good rounds, if you've had three good rounds and maybe one bad, in that stretch of holes today were you thinking, gee, don't let it happen again, was that in the back of your mind at all?

DAVIS LOVE III: When I hit it off -- hit it off 11, it's just, get up there, knock this ball on the green and make par and get things going again. Then I see it's hit a marshall and gone up under a tree against an umbrella. I'm thinking, this is just not going to happen then. I really got upset with myself there, and upset, you know, with the way things were going. And then once I chipped out and hit it on the green, you know, I got back into trying to play, instead of make this putt and turn this whole thing around. So I did lose it for a little while, but I'd say 9, 10, 11 I got a little bit flustered.

Q. If you're going to be behind a couple shots going into the final day, do you have a preference of being in the lead group or being one or two groups ahead?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think you obviously like to be in the last group, to see what's going on. But I'm happy to come back to where I was. I was staring back to become 5-under at 11 if I don't make that putt; so to get back to 9 ( -under), you know, I'm happy to be playing with Scotty. He played great today, obviously. So hopefully whatever he did, he'll keep doing it and we'll roll right along together.

Q. Can you go over your clubs on the last two holes and also for the third shot at 11?

DAVIS LOVE III: 8-iron into 11. 8-iron into 17 and 7-iron into 18.

Q. Putt on 11 was 20, 25?

DAVIS LOVE III: Probably 20.

Q. Did you hit balls this morning?

DAVIS LOVE III: I did. Felt great on the range this morning. Felt great at the end. Felt great hitting balls. You know, a little bit of your confidence goes and start trying to hit it close -- you know, it's instead of just trying to get the ball out somewhere around the green, I'm trying to hook a sand wedge around there and get close, rather than taking my lumps and just squirting it under the tree and getting to where I know I can get it up-and-down. I cost myself a stroke there, you know, trying to -- after he hit it to the right at 10, trying to draw one down there around the corner and hitting an 8-iron and putting it in the lake, rather than just hitting it in the middle of the fairway and middle of the green and making a 20- or 30-footer. Just started pushing a little bit, and that's not good, especially on a course like this, where you need to be in the correct side of the fairway and you need to play patiently. And I got away from that a little bit.

Q. What factors warranted that? The way that you're playing or the way that Ernie is playing?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think it was a combination. He was draining them, you know, making long putts. Every time I got in a little bit of trouble, he would make a long putt, and it was a bad combination. And if he missed a green, he chipped up real close, tapped in. But, you know, you expect a guy like Ernie Els to go out and play a good round on a day like today. So it was my mistakes coupled with his good play. I just got farther and farther behind.

Q. Was it the guy on the bag?

DAVIS LOVE III: No. I've been playing this way no matter which caddie I've had.

Q. How tough do you think Ernie is going to be to beat tomorrow with a three-stroke lead?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, he's obviously in a good position. You know, we've seen guys on this course, you know, get out ahead and run away. And we've seen guys on this course play very well and not get anything in the hole. So it will be, you know, he's obviously in the best position. He and Steve, Steve makes 3, 3 in the first two holes; so he's in the lead, you never know. Like I said I'm in a better position than I was in the middle of the back nine, and that's the only way I can look at it.

Q. All week long, Ernie has talked about your experience here. How much will that help tomorrow?

DAVIS LOVE III: I don't know. It didn't help me much today, but you know, again, I'm used to the greens and used to the way to play the course. So hopefully I can get often a get on a roll and not let today affect the way I normally play this golf course. But I've got good feelings about it. I've shot good scores here, obviously, so it's time for another one.

End of FastScripts….

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