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February 25, 2000

Davis Love III


NELSON LUIS: You've had a very nice round here at the World Golf Championships - Andersen Consulting Match Play Championship. Why don't you give some of your opening thoughts on your round today.

DAVIS LOVE III: We both got off to a good start, scorewise, making birdies, and I made an eagle. And that was kind of a hot start. And then Jim missed a few putts that he could have made and kept me ahead. And got some pressure on him, and I hung in there through the end. But I'm playing pretty well, making some birdies, and hitting some balls close to the hole, and getting up-and-down when I need to. I haven't missed a whole lot of greens. But I've chipped up pretty close or out of bunkers; I've hit some good bunker shots. I'm playing pretty well, and I'm pretty happy with it and looking forward to tomorrow.

Q. You said after the first round at the Buick that you were aiming to get your game together here in California in order to move off to Florida and be in rhythm. Do you feel you're at that point now?

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, I've gotten comfortable with my swing, and I'm playing well. I've got some confidence. At the Buick, I played some good golf there. Made too many bogeys and doubles. But I played good golf there and got a top five out of it. I'm looking forward to the rest of the year. I'm feeling good about my game.

Q. Just the thought on the field and who is left still on the board, a departure from last year, when a lot of people were missing?

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, you never know. It seemed like last year everybody was working the brackets like the NCAA tournament, and picking all the seeds. And we were all saying it's not going to work out that way. There's no way you could pick a winner, really. It would have been impossible. I don't think anybody would have penciled in the Maggert win on their chart. Nobody would have won the pool. So I think it's a little truer to what people expect, but there's still three matches to go. So you still may have -- still may not have a top seed left at the end. Hopefully there's one. But it's just a strange -- it's a strange tournament. Anything can happen. We saw that right from the start with Mickelson and Mayfair. We were playing behind them on their extra holes. And I thought Mickelson had won the match when he hit the second shot. You never know who's going to end up where, and that's what makes it exciting.

Q. Do you think what happened last year put you on your guard more?

DAVIS LOVE III: The only thing I know it made me do is not look ahead. Play one match at a time. And the realization that you can go out pretty quick makes you a little bit more focused in the beginning. And I was a little bit more prepared with my game when I got here than I was last year. So there's no ease going into this tournament. You better be ready the first tee on Wednesday.

Q. Davis, have you hit a bogey in the last two rounds?

DAVIS LOVE III: No. But I was given some putts, when the other guy made a birdie or something that I can't think of. I wasn't in great danger. I made a couple of pretty good up-and-downs, but I was never in great danger the last two days of making a bogey.

Q. Given that, do you feel like you're playing fairly sharp right now, your game?

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, I'm hitting the ball pretty good. I missed a few shots today and opened the door for Jim, and he didn't make putts and take advantage of it. But all in all, I'm feeling pretty good about it. I'm driving it good. I wasn't driving it that straight at Torrey Pines; it got me into some trouble. I'm driving it straighter now, so I'm pretty happy about it.

Q. You haven't had a match go to 17 yet. Would you like to be in a close one that goes down to the wire to sort of guard against that --?

DAVIS LOVE III: Definitely don't want a close one. At least on my side of it. But I played 17 the first day, but it was so wet we couldn't see it. Yeah, you just like to be ahead on the back 9, that's for sure. Put the pressure on the other guy. And you want them all like Sergio, 7 and 6 is what you want. But I've had a couple situations where it was -- the match could turn, and you remember those, that you got through them and you hit good shots or made good putts. And you can apply those to whatever hole you're on. And I'm gaining confidence every day. I'd like to stay away from even 16.

Q. You say gaining confidence, is it possible to take the momentum from the last couple of days over to tomorrow, or just because you start over from scratch, is that really difficult to do?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think at this point everybody is feeling like they're playing pretty good. But I'd like to think you can build on each day and gain confidence. But a lot depends on the other guy. If the other guy comes out smoking and makes two or three birdies right out of the box and gets you behind, your confidence can go away. It's just a mental game. And it all depends on what happens after the first tee. Everything we do mentally between now and then is just trying to get comfortable for the first hole, and then it starts all over again.

Q. Going into the elite 8, are you forced to put it all out from just the get go? Stay away from the conservative play?

DAVIS LOVE III: You have to be going. Last year I played pretty good the first day, I can't remember, three or four under par, and was sent home. So you've got to get out and get aggressive right off the gate. And guys like Furyk, every time I missed a shot, he stuffed it in there close. If you don't hit every fairway, if you don't hit greens, if you're not in the game, guys are going to blow by you. So I would say in this format you have to play more aggressively. When you're in the round of 8 or the round of 16 or the last match, it doesn't really matter, because you've got to win that hole or that match to continue on. And the first match is just as important as the last. You can drop a couple of shots on Thursday in a 72-hole stroke-play tournament, and you've got a long way to go to make it up. You can have a good nine or good day and shoot a 63 and make it up. But in this, there's no coming back from a bad 9 holes or coming back from a bad day. And I think you've got to come out focused and aggressive all at the same time.

Q. Davis, separating yourself from your business at hand, do you find yourself at all intrigued by other matches going on, for example, today's Duval and Garcia match?

DAVIS LOVE III: Oh, yeah. I was watching the board. It's nice, because you can watch the leaderboard and not feel guilty about it, because you're not watching anything that makes any difference to you. It's fun to watch. It's a good distraction. There's a lot of them I was watching, my friends and interesting matches and guys you're pulling for. And it is fun to watch. I was keenly watching the matches ahead and behind us to see what they were doing. It's an exciting tournament for everybody, including the players. We enjoy going in and sitting around the locker room and talking about who beat who and what happened. I enjoyed watching Monty on the big board while I was hitting balls yesterday.

Q. What did you think about the result, Duval winning?

DAVIS LOVE III: It seemed like scorewise Sergio was playing better. But just in talking to David, felt like he was playing very, very well and had his usual quiet confidence. And I thought it would come out that way. But in match play you never know. But that's why they play them is to see what happens. What I noticed was it was pretty close all the way to the end.

Q. Davis, is there a turning point in your match today? How did your match go?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, Jim birdied the first, and I eagled the second and birdied the third. So we both got off to a good start. I would say, turning point -- he missed a little putt at 11 for birdie and a little putt at 10 for birdie. And if he'd have made those, it would have been a good match the rest of the way. And then I made a birdie the 12. And it was not over, but it was well in hand I think after that.

Q. David was in here earlier, and he said that his match was extra special to him because a lot of people had concentrated on Tiger and Sergio, and that budding rivalry, instead of his. Could you still find yourself playing well enough to get into that mix, or are you too far removed?

DAVIS LOVE III: You know, when you look at Tiger's world ranking and you think, "What have I got to do to get to No. 1?" You think, "Well, I think I need to win about 15 times in two years to get ahead of him." Now, in overall long haul, I could reel him in. But for the next year, nobody is going to get to No. 1. You've got to play the numbers game. But there's a lot of golf tournaments to win. And this year is a whole new year. I'm trying to get back that all-time-leading-money winner title from him this week. I might not get to No. 1 in the world, but that number, all- time leading money winner, leading money winner this year, Player-of-the-Year, four majors, World Golf Championships, they're all out there. He can't coast through and get those. So that's our motivation is to do what he did last year. And you've got to build. If I'm going to get to No. 1, which I've never done, if I'm going to get to No. 1, and that's only one way to do it, and that's to start building on it right now and win a bunch of tournaments. Where his hot year goes off the record, we can start catching up.

NELSON LUIS: Thank you.

End of FastScripts...

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