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March 26, 1999

Davis Love III


LEE PATTERSON: Thank you for coming to visit with us. Maybe a couple of thoughts about today and then we will entertain questions.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, it was like yesterday - I didn't talk to you all yesterday - but kind of playing well. I made some silly mistakes; made some bogeys today. I did about the same; played pretty well; made a couple mistakes. One of them was turned into a double and, you know, hit some screwy shots but also hit some real good ones and got a couple of good breaks and a couple of bad breaks; just kind of all around -- Greg Norman said it best yesterday: The good, the bad, and the ugly. And I had the good, the bad, the ugly, the lucky, and the unlucky all in one day. It was an interesting two days of golf. I hope the next two days go a little smoother. You are going to make mistakes and going to hit a couple bad shots, but at least I can miss them in better places. I was missing them in the wrong spot today. Got away with a couple of them, but a couple of them really cost me. But I am happy to be 4-under. Good position with two days to go because it is not going to get any easier out there, I don't think.

Q. Bruce was expressing some concern about the greens; that they are getting away from him. It may be a rough weekend.

DAVIS LOVE III: They are right on the edge, that is for sure. But that is where they want them. We were out there on 16th green finishing last night. It was just amazing how firm that green got yesterday and I don't think it was quite as hard today, but it was close to it. That is where they want them. They want every shot to be a challenge and they want it to be hard and fast and tough and they have got it right there. Now, yeah, if they are expecting 65 tomorrow and it goes to 75 or 80, they could have a problem. But they are keeping them right on edge which is -- Fred is doing a heck of a job. The golf course fairways are perfect; the greens are perfect. I mean, if you hit a good putt, it goes in. There is no question about it. So just hard to get it close.

Q. Davis are we seeing maybe a different mental approach to the game from you, maybe different course management like take chances if they are there, but stay close, be really close and around at the end and have a better chance to win this year than we have in past years?

DAVIS LOVE III: No, I don't think I have changed my strategy any. I have hit the ball pretty good this year and I have gone this week at pins that you would expect to go at and I have hit some good shots on some tough pins. I don't think I have really changed any strategy. I am just -- I am playing consistently decent golf and not great golf. I have been hanging around the Top-10. I have had usually fourteen or fifteen good holes day or three good rounds a week and I just haven't put the whole thing together. So it looks like I am just coasting along, but I actually feel like I am playing real well.

Q. A lot of big names are at the top of the leaderboard now. How do you feel about that heading into the weekend?

DAVIS LOVE III: There is lot of big names in this tournament so they are going to be up there. You got to expect a good mix of guys that -- that have been there with a lot of experience and some guys that are new to the top. So it will shake out a lot tomorrow probably and there is going to be, you know, I hope the weather changes like they say, a little bit cooler, maybe the greens won't get, you know, as hard and fast as they probably could after another day of this. I think it is going to shake out a lot after 18 more holes tomorrow. It will be -- you might see it spread out a little bit.

Q. I noticed you caught the tailend of Bruce's press conference. I am just wondering, does he still amazes you with the way he just rolls out here every couple of months and you know, throws in birdies just about every time he plays?

DAVIS LOVE III: He does. He knows his game. He knows what he wants to do. He doesn't try to play my game or play Tiger Woods's game. He tries to play just his game. It is a pretty simple golf swing and pretty simple shot that he hits and he just keeps hitting it. I think he has practiced more at home lately than he probably let's on because his kids force him to go play because they want to play. I give Bruce a lot of credit. He knows what he wants to do and that is you know, be home, be a good father and a time where his kids need some direction and he is not going to let that -- the lure of money or anything stop him from doing that and he is going to play the tournaments he knows he can play well in and he wants to play and, you know, you can look at him in different ways; that he doesn't care about winning, or that he knows his limitations and where he wants to play and what he wants to do at home. He just does it. You have got to respect the guy for not caving into the pressure of being like everybody else. I wish I'd spent more time at home, but, you know, my goals are probably a little bit different than his and it takes a little bit more time out here to do that. Yeah, I have a lot of respect for what he does. I am glad he is not out here all the time.

Q. He hasn't had a lesson in 27 years. Kind of --

DAVIS LOVE III: I have heard him talk a lot about his game and he figured out what he was going to do a long time ago and he just does it. I don't think -- like Lee Trevino takes a whole lot of lessons; he just carves it out there and he goes. He plays golf. The more you can do that, the better. I know when I am out there just playing, I do well. When I have crazy thoughts in my head as to what I am trying to do, I play terrible. He keeps it pretty simple and doesn't very much. Takes a lot of commitment to do that.

Q. He said that he is not worried about the perfect golf swing. He is just worried about playing, you know, lower scores, playing better. He said that --

DAVIS LOVE III: He might have the perfect golf swing if he hit every green today. So, yeah, he really is amazing.

Q. Is this course wearing on you guys more this year mentally than -- seems like more guys are walking off the course shaking their heads.

DAVIS LOVE III: It is tough. Jesper said it today, he said, it must be easy from out there in the middle of the fairway, he kept missing fairways making it hard on himself. I would hit the fairway and hit the green and, yeah, if you walk around hitting like Bruce, hitting the fairways and the greens, it doesn't seem that hard, but as soon as you start missing fairways, this is a frustrating golf course. There is nothing you can do. You get good shots and make bogeys. You hit bad shots and you are struggling to make bogeys. But it is not like this is the first year it has ever been like that here. I remember -- when was it 1995 maybe it was just -- you almost couldn't play it was so difficult. So they have got it right where they want it again this year. The dry conditions have certainly made it tougher than normal.

Q. What about all the conversation about the hard greens throughout the Tour as if there is a conspiracy out here to make the pro players look a little more mortal?

DAVIS LOVE III: It is funny that the player advisory council and on the board, the player directors last year, there was a push that the golf courses -- we needed narrower fairways, harder greens, firm and fast is what we have been hearing. Everybody goes just like it was at THE TOUR Championship which was narrow fairways, firm and fast, hard fast greens, they said it was perfect. Well, you know, do that for what a couple months, three months and we have had dry -- we haven't had this much dry weather to start off a year on the Tour in a long time. Now everybody says, well, wait a minute, too hard, too fast - you know, Phoenix went over the edge. They got them so incredibly hard and fast the edges were mowed down, it was very, very difficult. It was maybe a little bit over the edge, but you know, you got to take what you ask for. They asked for harder conditions. The fairways here are narrower than they have ever been. So I don't know. You can't make everybody happy. If it was easy and, you know, what did Greg shoot 24-under; everybody said it was too easy. Now that it is real hard, everybody says it is too hard. I don't know what to tell you. Because we hear they ask for one thing, and then if you do it, it becomes you know, they say we want a hard 125. You make a hard 125. They come back, no, it is not fair, you got to go to 126 in this situation. You never really know which way to go. This is major championship golf conditions that you see just a few times a year. A lot of guys aren't used to it. It frustrates them. You will hear a lot of frustration coming off this-- I was frustrated coming off the course today and I have got a chance, so...

Q. What do you think the fans want to see, a lot of birdies or guys struggling?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think they want to see a mixture. I think -- the point is a lot of these guys is -- if it's like this every week, it is going to become boring, seeing the pros struggle. They want to see some Vegases and whereever, that guys shoot lights-out the -- the fans, they like seeing that they can make bogeys. They want to see us every once in a while shoot a good score and, you know, good score this week is going to be 3-, 4-, 5-under par. You just don't see a whole lot of birdie, after birdie, after birdie. That is good. Sometimes it is good, but we need a nice mix. This course, you know, probably wasn't made for it to be this firm, these greens to be this firm, but, you know, next week in Atlanta, that course is probably made for it. And needs it. So we just need to find a balance. The point that has been brought up more and more over the last couple years is setting up the golf course for the style the architect intended it, and this course probably could use a little less rough and a little softer greens for the average player, you know, but for us, you see what Greg did to it when it was nice and soft. We are going to get them -- if it is nice and soft -- I think this separates the field a little bit when it is this hard.

Q. Does this kind of course prepare you for, say, a Masters, PGA, the Open, anything like that?

DAVIS LOVE III: This prepares you for anything, I think, not style of golf course, but style of play where you have to hit the fairways. You have to hit precise shots. You have to be very patient. You have to not get frustrated when you get a bad bounce. You know, it showed. Different times today, everybody in our group got frustrated. Different times everybody was patient and came back from bad bounces or bad shots and that is what separates a guy that is going to win this tournament from the rest of the field is whoever cannot only hit the ball straight and good and make putts, but stay patient and stay in his routine and not lose his cool because it is real easy to do. You will see a lot of guys do it over the weekend. Have something good going and lose their cool. So, yeah, it prepares you for the Masters because it is exactly what you need there. Any big tournament that you want to be bad that -- is playing in tough conditions.

Q. Any comparison, this course, than when you won the PGA?

DAVIS LOVE III: No, I don't think so. This is more of a modern style golf course. That one was, you know, except for the greens, pretty straightforward golf course. The holes were right there in front of you, challenged you to hit good, long, straight tee shots and put the ball in the right place. But there is a few holes that had greens that were like this, but not -- there was -- always seemed like there was a place to bump it up in the middle of the green and not play safe, but play smart when on that course.

End of FastScripts....

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