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February 24, 2000

Davis Love III


LEE PATTERSON: We appreciate you spending some time with us. Maybe a couple of thoughts about your match today and as you're heading into tomorrow.

DAVIS LOVE III: Obviously glad I won. It was a tough draw having to play one of your good friends, which I guess is going to get harder and harder as you go along. It looks like a lot of my friends are still in it. But it was tough playing Jeff. He started off real well, and I hit the ball good and didn't really do anything until 7 and 9, and then I played real well on the back 9. It was a good match. There was not any bogeys, not really any thrown-away holes. It was just most of the holes were won with birdies.

Q. What conditions play into the hands of bombers like you and Tiger?

DAVIS LOVE III: I don't know, maybe a little bit, but when you're playing lift clean, and place, everybody is getting a pretty decent lie. And maybe if you're up a little closer, you can control it a little better. But yesterday I don't think it was so bad that it didn't really favor anybody as bad as the conditions were. But maybe as you get going in the week and it calms down a little bit, the wind, and it's still playing long, maybe it will favor the longer hitters. But match play basically comes down to who holes the putts at the right time. And I think that's -- Jeff made a couple on the front and I had a couple real close and made a couple on the back that were important, and I think that really is the difference, hitting the good shot or making the good putt at the right time.

Q. Davis, we were talking in San Diego two weeks ago about you not trusting your swing at crunch time, are you feeling better about it?

DAVIS LOVE III: It's getting better and better. I'm feeling pretty good about it. I hit a lot of very good shots today and I'm pretty happy with it going into the weekend.

Q. Davis, was there a couple of times yesterday that guys got pushed to holes that were lucky to win, and they're done by the 13th or 14th hole today. Is there any carry over or is it truly starting from scratch each day?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think it's starting from scratch. And it's so much momentum. We were behind the Garcia match today and it looked like Mike just missed a few putts and Sergio made a few, and next thing you know it's steam roll. And if you can get going and get ahead and get some momentum, it becomes easier. I know when I played Jose Maria in the Grand Slam I got on a roll. And the next day, same guy, Tiger got on a roll and slammed me. I played great one day and not bad the next and got killed. So I think a lot of momentum and a lot of confidence. Even today, even though when I got down, I still had a lot of confidence that I was going to win. And when I did get ahead I could see the confidence go a little bit out of Jeff. And I think that's the biggest thing is getting some momentum and getting some confidence.

Q. Davis, with what you've just said, is match play perhaps more mental than the regular?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think it is, you have so many weird things that can happen, so many things you have to be prepared for. I know Olin Brown said yesterday, I've never really played match play, it was a strange feeling. The more you play, the more you get used to little things like not counting yourself as winning a hole or thinking that the other guy is going to give you something or that you just don't take anything for granted. And I think it is more mental, because each hole is a little tournament within itself. And you're battling yourself mentally, because every shot is so important.

Q. Are you off to the Sweet 16, do you pay more attention to what's going on in the rest of the field starting tomorrow?

DAVIS LOVE III: No, there's only one guy that I can worry about tomorrow, and I just have to stay focused on that. I tried at the beginning of the week, or even last week when the pairings started to come out to not look ahead. The only match that's important is the one you're playing. So no matter who I've got next, it doesn't change how you're going to play that day. And so just trying to play one day at a time and not worry about what else is going on, because like last year, as soon as you're planning on who's going to be in what brackets it all gets monkeyed up.

Q. What do you do in the situation that you're playing one of your buddies, do you pick something out that bugs you about him?

DAVIS LOVE III: It's hard. With Jeff's wife walking along and his brother. I stayed with Jeff at the Western and during the PGA when I was up there. He's a good friend and it's hard. You don't want to see him get knocked out, but you also want to keep going. We talked a little bit, but you could tell that at certain times it was time to play the game, and stay away from each other. But it is a strange feeling. I've gotten to know Olin a little bit, I played Steve Pate, who is a Ryder Cup friend and guy I've known ever since I came out on Tour. We're used to competing against each other but not knocking each other out day-to-day. And it was -- it's a strange feeling. That's part of the mental battle.

Q. Is it easier to play somebody you don't like, then?

DAVIS LOVE III: Or maybe that you don't know, as well. I won't say -- there's not anybody out here that I don't like, but there's some guys out here that I don't know that might be a little easier to play, because you're not worried about their -- your good friend's feelings. Jeff and I were sitting at breakfast, he told me about a great restaurant he went to last night, and I said should we ask each other if we want to go there tonight, because one of us is going to be gone. It's a strange feeling. It's hard to make -- hard making plans for the week or do things with your friends, because you never know. We were supposed to have dinner with Freddie and Lee Janzen last night and they're both gone. It's strange in the locker room, you go back in the locker room and your buddy is packing up, because you beat him. It's different.

Q. Davis, you mentioned each hole is a tournament, you're battling the other guy, battling yourself. When you get to even after ten, how did you start thinking about the 11th hole, thinking about getting it close, putting the pedal down at that time?

DAVIS LOVE III: I birdied 7 to get back to 1-down, and I said, all right, now, here we go, I'm going to start playing like I'm ahead and trying to put him away, and he made a long putt at 9 that really kept him going a little bit. Yeah, I've learned that whether you're ahead or behind, you have to keep trying to win every single hole. And 2-up or 3-up or 2 down, I'll just wait until something happens, especially in an 18 hole match like this. You've got to try to win every single hole. And there's no playing it safe at 7, there's no laying up. You've got to play to birdie every single hole, whether it's 15 or 14, the hard holes, 16, you've just got to play them all to make a birdie, because you never know what the other guy is going to do.

Q. What was your play on 11?

DAVIS LOVE III: On 11, I hit a 7-iron about six feet.

Q. You've beaten two Americans, I know this is obviously an individual event, but do you get any sense from talking to some of the other players, that the European and Asian players kind of almost root for each other to knock the Americans off?

DAVIS LOVE III: I don't see any of that, no.

Q. Davis, you talked before the week about your mindset coming in and maybe being a little different than last year. Has that helped you at all and do you feel like maybe your approach has helped you this year as far as maybe knowing the right from the bad?

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, I think last year we didn't really know what to expect. We played match play, but the only match play we've really been playing is Ryder Cup stuff, the partners and three days of it, and accumulating points. So I think this year I'm coming out trying to go full bore right from the beginning and not -- again, not waiting to see what happens. You've got to come out and start winning holes right off the bat and get the momentum. And you watch the guys that are good at it, they never let up. They are focused right from the beginning. My mom always says, why can't you play with the passion you do at the Ryder Cup or The Presidents Cup on Thursday or Friday of a regular tournament and that's what you've got to do here especially. You've got to come out focused and ready to go right from the beginning. And again one thing I learned from Payne Stewart in the Ryder Cup is you've got to play to make every shot, and hole every putt, and be passionate about it and be excited or they're going to stomp you. That's the way Slu was today, he came out the gate and made a long putt and birdied the second hole. He was determined that he was going to be in there also the whole way. And I had to play very well to get by him. So any -- like Olin said yesterday, if the guys come in not knowing what to expect, next thing you know you're gone. So you have to come out firing, for sure.

End of FastScripts...

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