March 21, 1999
JAMIE WILES: Tell us a little bit about the round.
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, pretty boring round as far as my round yesterday to compare them. A lot of birdies and bogies yesterday. Today, one bogey, so, I hit the ball pretty good. I started off hitting it very well, and I didn't make any putts and hit a few bad shots and got away with them on the back. Still, had some chances, but just comes down to making putts. And Tim made a few, and I obviously -- Tom made a few, and I didn't make any. Those three 5-footers in the beginning just put me behind the ball. I never got going, so, not much to say except I just missed a bunch of putts.
Q. The putt on 3, that just lipped out?
DAVIS LOVE III: 3, I misread. You know, grain is going towards the water and the hill, everything. The wind blew it to the right. We were talking about playing the wind and trying to play a little bit, but I kind of overdid it there on that hole. Didn't play it --
Q. What did you have in there, you hit a great --
DAVIS LOVE III: Probably 80 yards. Sandwedge in there.
Q. That had to be discouraging after he was way off.
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, I mean, he is way right at one, way right on the green and makes a 50-footer, then I miss it from five feet. 3, we both make par. Then on 4, looks like I am going to pick up a bunch of shots and only pick up one.
Q. That was about, 4, 5 feet?
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, 3-iron in. That is what kills you. Got 3-iron into a par 5 to make par, and other guy hits it up-and-down for bogey. If I could have gotten a number up there, maybe would have made both of them think a little different; but I should have been 17-under going into the hard holes -- now, I am even for the day. 14-under, going into the hard holes. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, just couldn't get the ball close, so you are playing, you know, trying to hoping to make a long putt. And then I get back on the holes where I could make some, and I didn't make anything. Just disappointing of the -- I didn't hit the ball bad, but --
Q. Beginning of the day, would you have believed that 18 pars would have gotten you in the playoff?
DAVIS LOVE III: No, I probably had to shoot at least a couple under. You don't want to be in a playoff anymore than you want to finish third.
Q. How tough was the wind conditions?
DAVIS LOVE III: They were hard. It was, it was pretty difficult. I'd say the course was 4, 5, 4 shots harder at least. It was hard. You couldn't get to a couple of par 5s, so, that made a big difference. The greens were even harder and trickier to read. Everything got a little bit more difficult.
Q. It was impressive how Herron hung in there with all those putts that he made.
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, he made a lot of them. I kept walking off the side of the green thinking that eventually he would miss one. He just kept pouring them right in there. That was great. He got up-and-down; he played well.
Q. How about 17, did you misclub or the wind knocked it down?
DAVIS LOVE III: I didn't quite catch it. I wouldn't say I hit it perfect. I still thought I was going to get there. But I was playing the -- trying to hit the long or the short club, trying to make it go a long way rather than trying to feather a 4-iron there, which I haven't had much success with on that hole. I have been trying to hit an easy shot always in the back left bunker like Tim did. I was surprised, didn't get to the green, then it buried again.
Q. What was that, 5?
DAVIS LOVE III: 5-iron.
Q. The wind take the putt?
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, the gust of wind I think took it left because no way that putt should have ever gone left. I was playing it left center, and Mark said it looked like a gust got it. When the greens are that -- got no grass on them, when they are that fast and firm, they can blow them in; they can blow them out.
Q. How long was that putt?
DAVIS LOVE III: Probably eight or ten feet.
Q. How about the birdie putt on 16?
DAVIS LOVE III: Probably ten feet. That is one if I just tapped it down there, trickle it down there, have a tap-in. Then I go to 15, then it gets -- it is a little bit easier, the last two holes.
Q. Looking ahead, can you talk a little bit about Sawgrass next week and what your expectations are there?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, similar conditions to this probably. Hard, fast greens. Premium on getting it in the fairway there. Just -- if this weather keeps up like it looks like it is, no rain, it is going to be very difficult.
Q. Azinger, some other players think the greens the last three years or so have become too fast and firm. They favor just the high-ball hitter, the low stuff doesn't hold anymore. I know that is an agenda Tuesday at the meeting, I believe.
DAVIS LOVE III: It is funny, the Player Advisory Committee has been getting from a majority of the players that the courses were too easy; that we needed narrowing of the fairways and harder and faster greens, you know. It is funny how it can go one way or the other. Starting at Phoenix everybody is going the other way - the greens are too hard and too fast. It is always something no matter which way you go. If they make them fast, they are going to say they are too soft, somebody is. But, the general consensus that I have heard is the golf courses need to be harder. It is what we hear.
Q. Need to be harder?
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah.
Q. More difficult?
DAVIS LOVE III: Yes, firmer, faster, narrower.
Q. Was there any flaw you picked up in your stroke that ran through the day?
DAVIS LOVE III: No, I don't think it was my stroke. I think it was just a little bit of misreads and a little bit of mis-hits, but I am sure I wasn't freewheeling coming down the back 9 as I was yesterday because yesterday I felt like I was going to make every one of them. Today I was trying as hard as I could to get in my routine and relax and just hit a putt. I never really -- I hit some that I thought might go in, but I never really hit one that I knew was going in and it missed. That was the difference. Yesterday, the ones I felt like I missed still went in. Today, just wasn't real relaxed and freewheeling. When you get in the wind, it is hard. My swing was good. My putting stroke wasn't.
Q. Follow-up on Jeff's question is there also a consensus now that the setups are favoring the longer hitters, longer high ball hitter?
DAVIS LOVE III: No matter what you do, it favors them. If you make it easy, they are going to say, well, it is easy for the long. If you make it harder, they are going to say, well, it is so hard that only the high-ball hitters and long hitters have the advantage. I don't know what you do. We play a tournament where the conditions are, you know, Riviera where the conditions are good and firm and fast and everybody loves it. The next week it is not good enough. You can't keep everybody happy. No offense to Paul, I mean, no matter what you do --
Q. What is your own view how the courses should play?
DAVIS LOVE III: I think they ought to play hard. I think this was a good test. We shot -- wasn't like we shot even par. We had three good days with no wind, and then when the wind blew, shooting under par was a pretty good score. So I think that is a pretty good test. Course was fair. It wasn't easy. I made eight birdies yesterday. You can't say that the course is playing easy, you know. A lot of different kind of players did well. I won't call Tom Lehman a high-ball hitter. He is roping those things in there. Damron, I wouldn't call him a high-ball hitter. So - off the tee, maybe, but...
Q. Setup like this diminishes the tournament into a putting contest because it is --
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, if it is soft and easy it becomes a big putting contest. And then people complain about that. So you know, no matter what if it's the U.S. Open they complain it's way too hard. If it is Vegas they complain it is too easy. Take your pick. But, again, the consensus in the pack is what we hear from players at the meetings which is usually about 40 guys, 45 guys, is that the courses are too easy.
Q. You got off last year --
DAVIS LOVE III: And Phoenix was over the edge maybe a little bit. We need to find the balance, but I have heard nothing but good comments about this, so.....
Q. Are you happy with how you played today and so far this year? I mean, you have had posted your fifth Top-10, I think this year.
DAVIS LOVE III: I am happy with three out of four rounds- pretty inconsistent but at least I am at the top and I am having a chance to win, hopefully when it gets to next week at Augusta I can put four good rounds together. But I am making progress. I feel good about my swing. Felt good about my putting stroke all week today just, you know, discount it because it was a Sunday and wind was blowing and it is harder to make putts but, no, I feel good about it. I am excited about it. If I feel like I am leaving strokes out there and I am still finishing the Top-10, then I am doing pretty good.
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