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May 30, 1998

Davis Love III


WES SEELEY: 66, 73, 66, 205, 11-under par, Davis Love III, who is now three behind Couples.

DAVIS LOVE III: What, did he make another birdie?

WES SEELEY: Eagle birdie.

DAVIS LOVE III: Oh, that's good, that lowers your score. You know, he's sick and doing that. You know, you always watch out for the sick guy.

WES SEELEY: Tell us about your day.

DAVIS LOVE III: I had a very similar ball-striking round to the last two. You know, I made some putts today that I didn't make yesterday, and got the good breaks today that I didn't get yesterday that I did get the first day. So my game is, you know, pretty good. You know, I'm real happy to be back up in contention after, you know, a little suspect round yesterday.

WES SEELEY: Take us through the birdies and the bogey.

DAVIS LOVE III: Okay. The fifth hole, a 3-wood off the tee, and a 4-wood to about 30 feet, and 2-putted. No. 7, a driver and a 4-wood to about 50 feet and 2-putted. Then 9, a 3-wood in the first cut of the right rough and a 7-iron hit in the bank and rolled back down in the fringe between the green and the lake and I chipped poorly to about 12 feet and missed it. Then 10, a driver and a 9-iron, 6 feet. 14, a 3-iron and a sand wedge, about 18 feet. 15, a driver and a 4-wood again, just through the green probably 35 feet from the hole, chipped down about 2 feet -- not chipped, bladed a sand wedge or whatever you call that shot. And putted the sand wedge. And 17, a driver and a sand wedge to about 10 or 12 feet. 18, a 3-wood and a 6-iron to about 2 1/2 feet.

WES SEELEY: Questions for Davis?

Q. Are you surprising yourself with how well you've been playing considering your problems?

DAVIS LOVE III: You know, I'm surprised that my swing was as good as it was starting the week. I got a little off a few times. It seems like in the middle of the round I've been getting off a little bit. I'm surprised technically that my swing is good and, you know, my putting hasn't been great, but it hasn't been bad either. You know, I've made some little putts when I've had to. You think you would miss the tiny ones, but I'm pleasantly surprised. I'm not shocked, but I'm surprised. I've had three weeks of wanting to play. I was excited to get out and play and, you know, my back feels really good out there when it's hot when I'm playing. The rest of the time, you know, sitting in the car or talking in the TV tower, things like that, you know, I get funny feelings, and that's why I've got to do some things that protect it. But golfwise, my therapist said, you know, you're fine golfwise, just be careful with everything else that you do and don't carry your luggage to the room and try not to sit on an airplane. His thing is don't sit in one position for a long time. And Freddie always said, well, what are we supposed to do, eat laying down? You know, it's hard to not sit in one position a long time and travel, and it's hard to -- hard to make yourself be that careful. And, you know, I did a pretty good job for three weeks. If I drove somewhere, I got out of the car every hour and walked around. You know, I didn't fly long distances, and that's, I guess, what I'm going to have to do for a while until it gets really good. I'm not going to go to Seattle on Monday, and canceled some other stuff I'm supposed to be doing in the next month, just so I can get to fly to New York and play and fly to San Francisco and play. I'm just going to have to be careful and probably won't be able to go offshore fishing next week like I'd planned on, missed some fun stuff.

Q. PGA Media Day you've canceled?


Q. Are you going to do anything at all?

DAVIS LOVE III: I'm going to do a teleconference thing.

Q. From home?

DAVIS LOVE III: From home, I think, or from somewhere at home.

Q. Standing up at home. Yeah, stand up --

DAVIS LOVE III: I'll be able to get up and walk around, laying down maybe on the couch.

Q. Do you find that strange that golf, which is a game which is supposed to be tough on the back, is easier on your back now than sitting down someplace?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, they said the exercise, you know, makes it loose, keeps it loose, and he wanted me to play a little bit last week as part of my, you know, my therapy. But, you know, I don't want to get too technical in my explanation. By sitting down, putting your back in a funny position for a long time is just like standing on the side of your foot. You can do it for a long time, but when you try to straighten your foot out, it hurts. If you sit in that one position for a long time, it puts stress on your back and strain. And, you know, Freddie's missed British Opens and trips to South Africa and stuff because they wouldn't let him get on the airplane and sit for that long. And I know the worst it felt was when I came back from Japan to try to play Atlanta. It was the worst it had gotten. I'm going to have to cut out some of that coast-to-coast and, you know, overseas traveling that's not necessary.

Q. Does standing hurt your back?

DAVIS LOVE III: You know, if I -- I went to some horse shows with my little girl last week. If I stood for a long time, it seemed to get my legs tired, but it's mostly, you know, sitting in one position for a long time. Like I said, I felt great on Thursday and sat at dinner for a hour and a half and limped all the way to the car because my hip felt like it was out of joint. When I got up and walked around, it felt fine. Part of what I'm supposed to do is walk on the treadmill every day -- this week I'm walking a lot, every day. Rather than sitting at home and doing nothing, get up and walk a couple miles and keep everything loose. And, you know, obviously you're going to get it stronger and work out. Just walking is a big part of it, the whatever you call it, therapy or training, get it -- keep it loose and get the blood flowing to it.

Q. The fans and the media enjoy it more when they can come to a tournament on Sunday and see Love going against Couples and Duval up there and Leonard up there, the top players in the world. And I'm wondering from your standpoint, is it more enjoyable or more exciting for you to have those guys to compete against tomorrow than maybe somebody who isn't such a big name?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, it's fun to win, so you probably would rather not have Freddie up there. But, you know, these days it's tough. There's a lot of guys to beat. Like tomorrow, there's going to be a lot of guys to beat, yet it's more fun to beat the best. You know, you get greater satisfaction winning a big tournament with big names than you do maybe a tournament somewhere else that doesn't have a great field. And, you know, a win is a win, but you get a greater satisfaction winning a Memorial against, you know, a great field or a Hilton Head or a PLAYERS Championship or obviously a Major, because they're the better fields. And that's why guys, when they skip tournaments, they tend to not skip tournaments like this. They skip something else. It's easier, more rewarding to win. It's fun for me to get to play with and against, you know, guys that are playing good.

Q. You birdied three of the par 5s. Were you close at 11 at all? How did you play that?

DAVIS LOVE III: 11, I set a record for the farthest left off the tee probably ever. I was on 14 tee -- It was just one of those ones where everything felt funny in my back and I tried to hit a draw and hit a big hook, but I was lucky to get back to the fairway. Then I actually had a birdie putt, about a 15-footer, but I had to chip out just to get back to the fairway and had an 8-iron in for my third shot.

Q. It looks like you might be playing with Fred tomorrow. How much do you guys -- have you guys talked this week about the back? Do you work together with stuff like that?

DAVIS LOVE III: He doesn't like to talk about that. Obviously I'm going to have to stop talking about it so much. He just gets through, does what he has to do, and, you know, his -- he introduced me to the guy that he worked with, and also Glen Day and a few other guys that he's, you know, introduced Tom to and Tom has helped everybody equally. But, you know, it seems like it's Freddie's guy, so we always go to him and say when is your man coming? So we talk about it a little bit. We were all working together to get Tom up here the night before last and yesterday morning to work with us. So, yeah, we talk about it, but I've been asking him for a long time, you know, what did it feel like when it went? What did it feel like the day before? You know, it's hard to explain. I mean, I can't really tell you how it feels. I mean, it doesn't feel normal, but it feels better. It's hard to explain. We don't talk a lot about it, but we obviously spend time working and trying to get it better, working out.

Q. What's it like chasing Fred going into Sunday? He used to be one of those guys when he got the lead, you would go, uh-oh. Is he still that way?

DAVIS LOVE III: You know, somebody was asking me in the beginning of the week, you know, what do you think about Freddie finishing that well in the last couple weeks. I think Fred is not playing -- maybe until this week, he hadn't been playing 100 percent. He's been getting better and better, but, you know, I've seen some funny shots. He hadn't putted, you know, outstanding for a whole week. So I think he's been playing better and better. He's just waiting for a week when everything comes together. So it kind of -- you know, just like anybody. You know, they could have a great round or a bad round, but I think Fred is back enjoying playing again and he's playing well. He's had a lot of close calls this year. He's, you know, he's due to blow one out. So, you know, obviously he's going to get a little bit of a lead here, so we're all going to have to be chasing.

Q. Don't you think of him as a fairly good front runner generally?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think of him as being able to play good no matter what he did the day before, you know, good or bad. But I think, yeah, when he gets his confidence, he's very, very hard to beat. And obviously his confidence -- you don't -- it's been a long time since I can remember him, you know, three or four or five tournaments in a stretch playing well. And whatever he's played, you know, 11 or 12 tournaments, he's played a lot there, and he's been right there a bunch. So it's been a long time since he's been playing this good.

Q. Since you said you persuaded Tom to come up here this week, does he get a percentage of a winner's check from either one of you tomorrow or what?

DAVIS LOVE III: He didn't yet. He did at Hilton Head or Japan, so I don't know why. We're making him the bad guy. We're blaming not going to Seattle on him. He actually gets the worst end of the deal. Every time we pull out, we say Tom told us not to play.

Q. When was it that you actually first noticed that you had a problem? I don't remember if you talked about that the other day.

DAVIS LOVE III: You know, I've had since '95, I've had my hip looked at probably five or six times thinking that that was a problem. When I got kidney stones, I thought some of the things I was feeling in my back were going to go away because I got rid of the kidney stones. There's been a lot of different things that I hadn't really known that it was a thing in my back that was making my hip hurt or making my foot hurt. But that sciatic nerve stuff hit me really all the way down my leg this year. At New Orleans is probably when it got to its worst.

Q. At the time you were playing this afternoon, had the course dried out?

DAVIS LOVE III: It was drying up. I hit a driver on 17, it went a long way, bounced and took off. That's when I started thinking it's finally starting to dry up. And I hit a good drive at 15 that ran up the hill pretty good. So it's drying up. You know, it's not a whole lot of wind but it's pretty hot. That water seems to be coming out of the ground. I think if it doesn't rain again tonight, it would be back to, you know, almost as firm as it was. The greens were a little slow today, but I'm sure that's because they finally got some water and they decided to grow. I think it will firm back up pretty quick.

WES SEELEY: Will that do it?

End of FastScripts....

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