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October 31, 1999

Davis Love III


LEE PATTERSON: Thank you. We appreciate you spending some time with us.

DAVIS LOVE III: Thank you.

LEE PATTERSON: Maybe just a couple comments about today then we will open it up to questions.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I played pretty well. There was obviously probably no catching Tiger, unless you started holing them from the fairway or something. I enjoyed being out there with Tom. Tom has meant a lot to all of us this week, and as did a lot of other people. But Tom was really a leader for us this week at this tournament. And I think it was good that I felt good being out with three Ryder Cuppers in my three days of playing. It was good to get to talk to them and spend time with them. I didn't like Tiger hitting his 3-wood by me on every hole, but other than that, I enjoyed it. I hung in there real well this week. I didn't hit a lot of bad drives and I holed a few putts, but I would have had to have really stepped up. I think the difference between my score and Tiger's score is a lot more than whatever it is going to end up, four strokes. He is playing far and above better than most guys. I think he has proven that today. I haven't obviously watched him yet, but he is probably hitting lot of fairways and greens and not doing anything too dangerous. But all and all, I think it was a good time for all of us to be out here together. I think that was the main thing I got out of the week.

Q. The way Tiger is playing, of course, is fantastic. Does that sort of get on you guys like you, knowing that you had that ability, like a little competitive juices flowing and to raise your game up practice a little harder or whatever?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I certainly want to be playing like him, that is for sure. I'd like to come out the beginning of next year and be 100% health-wise. He has proven to me over the last month in talking to him and being around him at the Ryder Cup that I have to get stronger. I know if I had hit a rock that hard, I would have been out for six months. He came back a day later. I talked to Butch and he said that is the difference, the guy is just strong as an oxe. He can handle -- obviously, he can handle about anything hitting it out of the deep rough. I keep thinking: "He is going to break his arms." I thought he'd finally done it, and he bounced back from it. I have got to get stronger and come out next year and play a full season. I have been saying that I am going to get better, I am going to get better, I am going to get better. So hopefully, next couple of months, I can do that. It is going to take a commitment different than what I have had the last few months.

Q. Is it frustrating at all to be in the wake of what he has done the last six months or so?

DAVIS LOVE III: No, not really. I think a lot of it, I have sat back and felt like -- even the tournaments I was at, PGA, I wasn't physically 100%. So I feel like I have been watching him from kind of -- out of the tournaments I had a better perspective -- he is just playing very, very good golf. I know that there was times when people on the TOUR sat back and watched Jack do the same things. But he is not going to play every week, and he can't win every week that he does play. He can come close, but there is still a lot out there for us. And I think as Ed said, it is going to make us continue -- just as when he first came out and he has gotten better every year, I told the guys first couple of years, he was playing he is not even close to how good he can get. I think we are starting to see that. As long as he doesn't hit too many rocks, he is going to be good for a long, long time. We are all going to have to get used to it. You look at David Duval, he didn't stay up on his run, nor did Nick Price. So there are going to be times when he is just in the Top-10 rather than winning every time. We will get our shots at him.

Q. As much as you may get motivated by Tiger, you also see what Mark O'Meara has gone through, and other players, the tragedy of Payne, is this year a disappointment for you, or do realize there is a lot of years left in this sport?

DAVIS LOVE III: There is a lot of years left. There is a lot out there. I have learned, you know, I didn't win a golf tournament this year, but being a part of the Ryder Cup team was my highlight of the year. Second in The Masters was great; if I had won there that would have been the highlight. But I came close a lot, but I won't look back on this year as a disappointment, just because of the Ryder Cup because of the friendships and the things that have happened since then will make that Ryder Cup even more special. But yeah, there is a lot out there for us, and there is a long way to go for me, hopefully. So that's why I'd say I'd like to be in better shape for the next ten years than I have been this past couple.

Q. Do you know what you have to do physically in the off-season? Have you talked to any doctors?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think I still need to pin down what exactly is going on in my neck. I don't have any bad disc problems, but I think I need to pin it down and work hard and see if I can't get it fixed. Hopefully, I can be ready to play in December, if I -- and be there for -- ready for January. But I would think -- when I take two or three weeks off, it goes away, but when I start playing again, it comes right back. Obviously, I need to take two or three weeks off, and then get my exercising done; so then it doesn't come back when I start playing.

Q. You are sounding like your official season is over?

DAVIS LOVE III: I am wishy-washy. To be honest with you, I am going to go make a phone call and talk to my wife and talk to my brother, and we had basically decided last night that I wasn't going to go. We brought our luggage out here, and after playing this well today, maybe I will. But I am close. I am close to saying I am not going to go, but I haven't yet.

Q. Could you just talk about what it was like playing in the knickers today?

DAVIS LOVE III: I have done it once before, maybe twice in college. Our coach got them for the team, and I think I only lasted a couple of tournaments because we decided we didn't like them. I was against it at the beginning of the week. I didn't think we should put pressure on guys to do something they didn't want to do. If half the guys did it and half the guys didn't, then they would feel bad. But I told Tom Lehman when we got out there, I said, "This just feels right." The fans are going to enjoy it. We look back at it; we will always remember this tournament. You can pick out this event, you know, on highlights from now on. And I just wish that that I had played a little better yesterday so I had a chance to win today, and it would have been fun to win.

Q. Can you give us some perspective of how hard it is to average a win out of every three starts for an entire season?

DAVIS LOVE III: No, I can't imagine it. (Laughs) I think it is very hard to imagine. I think maybe Jack might have done it, or obviously, Byron did it, did it a lot better. But it is still -- it is hard to imagine. In this day and age, with the competition, I think it just shows he is clearly head and shoulders above the rest. And we are going to have to catch him on just an average week, or we are going to have to play at 120% instead of 100% to beat him.

Q. Can you look back -- can you look back and see who would be your choice for Player of the Decade?

DAVIS LOVE III: Player of the Decade?

Q. Yes.

DAVIS LOVE III: Wow, that is hard. I have to go back and see who won the most majors. Off the top of my head, it would be hard. Tiger, obviously the player of the last half, but -- you'd have to throw probably Price and Faldo in there. I don't know who else. But I think it has been two or three or four guys that have had really good two- or three-year runs. David Duval had a great little run there. If you throw a major in with that. He is right in there. But, you know, when I look at -- I have played for a long time and won 13 events, and Tiger is going to win 12 already, today, right? So I mean, he is clearly --.

Q. 14?

DAVIS LOVE III: 14? Clearly the dominant player. He has done it so quickly. But that is a hard question.

Q. Not feeling well, like you said, and still you are going to end up this year with over $2 million in earnings because you have been pretty consistent when you have played. I just wonder your thoughts about looking back on the year and still earning over $2 million?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I am going to earn over 2 million. I am going to finish a couple of million behind, too; so there is a lot of money out there now. I think we were all amazed when somebody would go over a million and now I am going to go over 23 million, and I am not even going to be second on the money list. Prize money is just mind-boggling. I know Tiger will be the all-time Leading-Money Winner and probably have only played for five years. Things are going to get distorted, I think, money-wise. They have been very distorted over the last ten years. I mean, I am probably the second all-time Leading-Money Winner, but I am not the second all-time best PGA TOUR player. So money is going to throw some funny things at you, numbers-wise and statistics-wise, I think, for the next few years until everything kind of balances out again. And, you know, if you look at it in money, I had a nice year. But look at it, I also didn't win a tournament.

Q. Davis, having been out here longer than Tiger, and knowing him pretty well, would you guess that as years go by, he is going to have any trouble motivating himself or knowing him, do you feel that that is not going to be a problem?

DAVIS LOVE III: I don't think it is going to be a problem. I rode with him back to Orlando Thursday night, and he just seems like he is very, very confident and very, very sure of himself; that he has gotten everything around him where he wants it. I think he knows what he has to do, and he is going to do it. There is no questions in his mind that -- I don't see him easing off at all. He is a hard worker and that -- he didn't get this far just on ability. He is a hard worker, and I think he has got a great work ethic from his dad, and he will continue -- he is a self-motivated kind of guy. I think he will continue that easily.

LEE PATTERSON: Anything else? Thank you, we appreciate your help this week.

End of FastScripts….

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