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April 14, 2000

Davis Love III


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We'd like to welcome Davis Love III into the interview room. He shot 5-under, 66 today, for an 8-under, 134 total. Let's begin with some statements about your round.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I played very similar to how I did yesterday. I hit the ball pretty good off the tee for the most part and got a lot of chances for birdies. I hit the irons pretty good. Just finished a little better than I did yesterday, you know, birdieing the last hole. Obviously 18 was a little easier today than it was yesterday, but birdieing the last hole was a good way to finish after the way I finished yesterday. And it was a lot of fun playing with Ernie and with Chris; both good guys to play with. And Ernie and I both hit a lot of good shots and kept the roll on it. If one of us missed the green, it seemed like the other one hit it close. When guys are playing good, it's fun to play along with them. We had a good two days, even though the weather was not the best.

Q. Sort of contrast 18 -- how you played 18 today and how you played it today as far as clubs and so forth, what you were trying to do, and were you mad at yourself yesterday with what you did on 18?

DAVIS LOVE III: I don't think mad at myself is strong enough. But today they ran the tee up another probably 25 yards at least. But, you know, I call it a lull yesterday and hit a great drive, and got it at least 20 yards farther than the other guys, and got it up there on the flat and had it just right. I was disappointed that you've got, you know, 10 acres to the right and you hit it to the left. You know, Ernie did basically the same thing and he got away with it. I just hit mine a little worse and didn't get away with it, and you can get away with anything to the right. You can make 5 all day from the right. That's what I was trying to do. I just made a bad swing. But, you know after, standing there for 15 minutes waiting, you know, in the cold, it's just hard to hit good shots. And I think if guys could have ran up there and whacked one after hitting drives, they probably would have done a lot better. But everybody got stiff and cold and scared. It was as hard as I've ever seen that hole play. We've never even dreamed about hitting a wood in there.

Q. Did you hit driver in there?

DAVIS LOVE III: I hit 3-wood.

Q. How much harder is it to come back from something like that here than maybe the same type of mistake or at least bad luck last week, something like that?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, here, you know you're going to get chances. At Augusta, there's just a few holes, really, that you can attack. And in weather like this, that's what was so disappointing is you play 5-under par through the worst weather of the day, and then to let it get away from you at the end, when you know guys like Ernie are just right there waiting for you. You can't let it -- you usually can't get away with it. Today, I came back from it. But you're still going to look back and say, "Well, I don't 3-putt today, and I don't hit it in the marsh yesterday; I'm way ahead." We don't know what Dan and those guys are going to do this afternoon. But my grouping, I could have been two or three shots ahead of them very easy.

Q. What did you hit on 18 today?

DAVIS LOVE III: A driver, and just killed a 4-iron. It was probably a 3-iron shot. I hit a 4-iron, and it was about 20 feet short of the hole.

Q. Have you ever had an eagle on 16 before, and can you tell us about it?

DAVIS LOVE III: I holed one on the fairway from 15 before, and I was thinking about it. I had the perfect yardage for a 9-iron on my third at 15. I was thinking I holed one here before, and maybe I'll knock it in or get it in close, and on the very next hole it hops in the hole. And I just saw it on CBS, and it dove in there like a rabbit in a hole.

Q. What did you hit?

DAVIS LOVE III: 9-iron, 130. But it's nice to get a good break. That makes up for 18 yesterday, or at least one of them. I hit a lot of good shots right at it. I had a couple other ones that is were right at it and very close to the hole. And Ernie and Chris both hit a couple right at it. And it's fun when guys are doing that.

Q. Ernie said he enjoys playing with you because you know so much about this course and have played here too much. What is it like playing with Ernie?

DAVIS LOVE III: He's one of the best guys to play. He'll talk to you on the course. You know, he can hit a terrible shot and make a bogey and then be just the same old Ernie Els going down the next hole. That's why I kind of like playing with Fred. They enjoy being out there. And no matter if they are playing good or bad, they are still good guys to be around. And Chris, too. I enjoyed the pairing. It was fun. But, you know, Ernie was playing well and we both played well last week, and it's nice to keep those positive thoughts going.

Q. If you were five, six strokes down at this point, you would still feel pretty good because of what you've done at this course before. How much more good do you feel right now being out ahead on a course like this where you've played so well before?

DAVIS LOVE III: It's nice to put two good rounds together, and I'm still looking for the four good ones. I haven't done it this year. Even really last year, I didn't put four great rounds together. So it's a good start. It's the best start I've had, you know, confidence-wise and swing-wise, even though I made a few mistakes. I'm feeling pretty good about my game. But, you know, with Ernie Els and all the other guys, it's not -- one-stroke lead over Ernie Els is certainly nothing to get all excited about.

Q. You mentioned yesterday maybe you would catch a break with the weather today. Do you feel like you did?

DAVIS LOVE III: It wasn't as bad today. It was cold this morning, and then it never really warmed up. But I think this afternoon is going to be bad. I think they will have an easier time of it at 18 probably than we did yesterday, but it all evens out. You know, it wasn't quite as windy as it was yesterday, so a lot of the 8-irons into the greens weren't quite as tricky.

Q. Some of the other years you've won here, have you been in similar situations before and done well in this tournament, starting off so well?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think '91. Well, obviously winning my first tournament here was a big step. And then '91 I had, you know, gotten off to a good start. You know, any time you win, each one is something different, something more, something special. But I would say '98 was also. You know, I came off the PGA, to come back next year and get a win was very good. But this time of year, you know, a lot of it's this tournament and this course. But this time of the year has been very good to me, and I think, you know, I play hard on the West Coast to get ready for the Florida Swing and THE PLAYERS and the Masters. And I'm usually ready this time of the year, and I'm usually burned out by May and have to rest up again for the U.S. Open. But I do have a lot of fun in the off-season, and then I come out and work hard January and February to get ready for the Masters. I think it's paid off at THE PLAYERS, it's paid off here, it's paid off at Greensboro. I've just got to get it at Augusta one year, but it definitely pays off.

Q. What would it be this year, if it's been something different?

DAVIS LOVE III: Two years not winning. Whether it's last week, next week, or this week, just getting a win would be nice. I've been close a whole bunch. And I've been making some swing changes over the winter, and it's nice to see them starting to work.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Just go through your round real quick. You started on 10.

DAVIS LOVE III: Started on 10. 12, a driver and an 8-iron to about 18 feet. 14, hit it short and left on the green about 15 feet, and ran it about 10 feet by, and missed it coming back. 16, we did that -- that was a driver off the tee and 9-iron, 130. 18, driver and a 4-iron to eight feet. 6, was a driver and a 6-iron to about four feet behind the hole. And 9 was a 3-iron and a sand wedge to about 15 feet.

Q. Could you compare 18, today and yesterday?

DAVIS LOVE III: Mine was three strokes difference, and I played a lot shorter today. I hit a 4-iron today which is extremely long from that hole, basically from two tee boxes up. I still hit a 4-iron in. It's still playing pretty long. Chris Perry hit a wood in today, but it's not as impossible as it was yesterday. You know, my birdie today was like probably an eagle. And, you know,4 yesterday was like a birdie or, you know, maybe even an eagle. But it was extreme yesterday, and it's just very hard today.

Q. How often do you guys face par 4s that you almost feel like are unreachable?

DAVIS LOVE III: Very seldom. You know, the field staff did a good job. They moved the tee up probably 25 yards yesterday and then got a crazy wind -- I mean, we just don't really ever get straight in on that hole. And then to get -- to move it up again today, and you get the same wind and even colder, it's kind of strange. You know, in our tournaments they generally say: "We've got a problem with this hole. It's 480 already and the wind is blowing in today. We need to run the tee up a little bit." But we're going to see it more and more. It used to be a par 5 was 480 and now we're seeing a par 4 is 480. It's just getting longer and longer. It's nothing we're shocked at, but we're shocked at that hole playing that long.

Q. How many club-wind was that --?

DAVIS LOVE III: I had 209 yesterday and I had maybe 192 today. But it was a 40-yard plus wind. Maybe 45 yards of wind, which is, you know -- three to four clubs, probably.

Q. How tired were you coming off the Masters, and at what point this week did you get your second wind and feel ready to go? Did you want to play right away or did you want a couple days off?

DAVIS LOVE III: I took two days completely off. I played obviously Wednesday in the Pro-Am and I was still very tired in the Pro-Am. But playing early, I got a break and slept all afternoon on Wednesday. And then playing late yesterday, I got to sleep in. So I got caught back up. But I was very stiff and tired playing in the Pro-Am Wednesday. It just kind of -- I didn't hit any golf balls on Monday or Tuesday, but I still didn't really get caught up.

Q. Ernie said playing on Monday, the Shell golf thing helped him get his mind off the whole week?

DAVIS LOVE III: It was probably smart. I probably should have hit some balls Monday and Tuesday, just to keep loose and keep flowing -- who won that, by the way? (Duval).

Q. After your eagle, Ernie congratulated you pretty good and you all were laughing. How much was the difference between that, and Friday and Saturday and Sunday; you wouldn't see quite the same thing?

DAVIS LOVE III: We had a little funny conversation walking up there about guys hitting their hands together; so when I made it, we started doing it and we just started laughing. You know, when somebody does that, it doesn't matter if they are -- especially among friends like that. Two fierce competitors and one guy did it, you probably wouldn't run over and high-five him. But Ernie, if he would have done it, it would have been the same way or Sunday the same way. That's pretty neat. Just funny the little conversation we had right before that.

Q. Does it feel like two years since the last win?

DAVIS LOVE III: No. Time flies out here. You know, I think it would seem like a long time if I had not played well at all in between, but I've been close, and, you know, had a lot of exciting things happen in between. So it has not been like grinding on me or anything.

Q. Monty had a quote at THE PLAYERS like when Tiger plays well, guys start thinking about playing for second. Do you ever hear that when you get the lead guys start playing for second?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, some guys like me are kind of like, well, what is he doing, here he goes again, how does he do it? But I don't think so. I don't think Ernie is too -- I think he still likes his chances. But it is kind of strange that for some reason after the Masters I always come here and play well. They have asked me a lot: "How do you play this hole" or "how do you play that hole." So you can tell that maybe they think I know something that they don't. But I don't. If you hit a good putt good, you shoot good scores.

End of FastScripts...

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