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August 20, 1997

Davis Love III


LEE PATTERSON: Any questions you may have for Mr. Love this afternoon?

DAVIS LOVE III: Talk about my round today? (LAUGHTER)

Q. Davis, how does it feel to be the best player -- that was last week, sorry. How does it feel to be the best player who never won a major who just did?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, it is pretty incredible. I have had obviously a worldwind few days, haven't slept very much. Seems like each night I get another hour or two, and I started off with about three the first night, so I am getting better and better. It has been very exciting. I have had calls from a lot of my great friends and a lot of a huge stack of notes and well wishes and faxes that just keep adding and adding. Used to get a lot of UPS packages, but I get a lot of Fed Ex packages with a lot of notes and well wishes. I mean, there is so many, you can't mention them. But, little things like Vijay Singh and his wife sent flowers to my room and I am a competitor of Vijay Singh and I know him a little bit, but to have people do things like that, it makes you realize how important it is to them and how important it is to you and, you know, it has been great today to have them introduce me on the first tee as 1997 PGA Champion. The first time I heard it on the golf course hitting off the first tee, it was pretty neat. And, the fans I must have been congratulated 5,000 times out on the golf course today. It is just incredible. And you see the TV ratings. You see the articles and you just realize how many people were watching that. It really is incredible. And, you know, my family is very, very excited and my son was very excite that I said hello to him on the TV, but he was mad that I didn't wave so that puts it right back into perspective. The first thing my 9-year old wanted to do is go to the school and see who she had gotten for a teacher when school starts next week. So, your family, your kids keep you in perspective. But, your friends definitely make you feel like you have really accomplished something special.

Q. How did you celebrate, Davis? What did you guys do?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, we went straight, not straight home, but as soon as we could get out of New York we went home and we had a lot of friends meet us at the airport. Couple of hundred people were there at midnight when we got there. They stayed and celebrated a lot on the runway, waiting for my brother to come in. He was coming in with a friend on another plane and they had a nice big party. I celebrated actually by going home and putting the kids to bed and waiting up until Sports Center came onto see the highlights because I hadn't seen them. And, you know, I am not much of a partier as my wife will tell you. She says that I am a little boring sometimes. But, I was still really, really in shock and the next night we had a big barbeque. We cooked barbecue all day long day. Lance Barow from CBS came home with us, so we had to put a good barbecue on for him. A lot of friends came over. We had a great time enjoying Monday. We just rode around, the kids and Lance and I just rode around and said hi to people and we went and visited the marina and saw my buddies out fishing and did things that we kind of normally do. But, it was a lot more fun talking to people. I spent most of Monday night with friends celebrating and then Tuesday had a few media things to do. Then we came back here. So it just went by real fast and it was very strange to get back here to the driving range and hit golf balls again. Everybody wanted to talk and everybody wanted to congratulate me. And, I was trying to hit balls and I said this is doing me absolutely no good practicing, but it is fun to be out here. It really has been a great big shock and, in fact, Danny Sullivan called me and he said what it is like. I said, Well, it must be like winning the Indy 500. Yeah, he said, it didn't settle in for a long, long time that I actually won that race, so I think it is going to take a long time for me to realize what it means and what I accomplished.

Q. All the things that your father gave you and all that, did he say anything about what to do after a tournament like that?

DAVIS LOVE III: No. I probably -- we probably never got that far. Never thought that far ahead, but I know that he would have enjoyed the win and the celebration. But he would have been much like Jack Lumpkin who said all right, now here is what we are going to work on now, you are getting there, and let us see if we can't do this a couple of times a year. And, you know, you have got always got to extend your goals and keep striving. I didn't set out to just win one. You have got to win one before you can get the second one, obviously, but I am hoping that this is going to propel me on for better things. And, I am sure that is what he would want me to do.

Q. Given everything that has happened, can you win this week? Can you get the game back up to where it was last Saturday and Sunday on another great course?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I was actually thinking how am I going to come down off of this and then be on the golf course today when I was going through the ropes they said "Pull an Ernie Els on then." He won the U.S. Open and came right back and came back next week and won at Westchester. So it can be done. I hit the ball great today and putted pretty good. So, I am excited about the way I am playing. I would certainly hate to be off this week because I would feel like I was missing something as good as I played. So I am glad I could commit and I am glad that I got in because I think, you know, I am excited about playing the whole rest of the year. I think my confidence level has gone up a lot and I am definitely at ease with my golf game. Now, this is a hard, hard golf course. You never know what is going to happen, but I am certainly looking forward to playing.

Q. What did you shoot today?

DAVIS LOVE III: 4-under today.

Q. Do you drink champagne out of that trophy?

DAVIS LOVE III: They keep that trophy.

Q. So you don't get to take it home?

DAVIS LOVE III: They don't allow us to take it home. So, I got to hold it a lot and take a lot of pictures with it and we had a few toasts. A good friend of mine sent a 1959 bottle of bourdeaux and my brother and I had a toast with that. So that was a special toast with him.

Q. The top doesn't come off that trophy, does it?

DAVIS LOVE III: You know, I think it does. Wasn't Steve Elkington's little girl in that trophy? I think it does come off. They didn't let me have it long enough.

Q. How about dinner last night with Justin? How did that come about and what did you guys discuss?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, Justin reminded me Sunday that we were going to have dinner in Atlanta, the World Series, on Tuesday and, you know, Justin and I, if we had both been qualified months before we had gone to dinner Tuesday night. And, that he is a good friend and, you know, when he came out on Tour he was kind of one of the guys that we were attracted to and since he works with Vinny Giles too, I was told to kinds of keep an eye on him, not that he needed it, but I play a lot of practice rounds with him and spend a lot of time with him. I said before the last week started that I always been friends with Justin, but now I had to look at him a little bit differently because he was the Open Champion. When I looked at Justin Leonard, I just didn't see him. I saw an Open Champion. And, then to have that week play out the way it did and then me win, now when I look at him I look at him very differently because I am like he was the Open Champion and could have been the PGA Champion - from me. He was very gracious and he was great to play with. He was very, you know, very classy at the end and we had a very nice dinner. Obviously, the golf came up quite a few times and he asked me to explain some things. I said to him, you know, "All right, now it is all over, what did you mean by you couldn't look at me?" And I said, "I didn't have it in my heart to try to beat you. I didn't want to stare you down like Ray Floyd would do." I said, "It was just I didn't want you to ever think that I was trying to beat Justin Leonard, the person." And, we had some interesting conversations and we had a lot of fun at dinner. It was neat to walk in there and sit down with somebody that you just had that immense struggle with and have a nice casual dinner. I am sure the people all sitting around us were "I can't believe they are eating together." (LAUGHTER) But it was a lot of fun.

Q. Where was it?

DAVIS LOVE III: The Diamond Grill.

Q. Who got the check?

DAVIS LOVE III: Lance Barrow got the check. He set the whole -- he is -- like Tuesday night at the World Series is Lance's night. So, we were just lucky to get that, Justin and I both got invited to go with him.

Q. You said that golf came up. I am just curious if at any point he said, "I can't believe you put that ball where you did on 13?"

DAVIS LOVE III: He said, "I think the shot of the day was the one on the 13th." And he said. "When you hit that, I knew it was over." And, I thought it was over too, but it was interesting to hear him say, you know, even though he kept saying, you know, well, I thought if I could chip in at 17 I might -- to hear him say I knew it was over after that, he hung in there and he made birdie at 15 and kept it going. But, yeah, he knew how big that shot was and I knew I had to get it up-and-down to have -- to keep hold of it and that was a big, big shot.

Q. How much larger was the gallery today as opposed to when you started the PGA tournament?

DAVIS LOVE III: You mean galleries previous?

Q. Galleries following you around.

DAVIS LOVE III: There is a few more people watching for Pro Am day than normally, yes. There is a lot more people here at 7 o'clock in the morning since Tiger Woods showed up. I don't know if those two go together, but 7 o'clock Pro Ams are usually very, very quiet. We, at Buick, teed off and there was people halfway down the first hole for Pro Am on 7 o'clock in the morning. I said, He has ruined it for us. This used to be the prime tee time. Now the strategy is ask Tiger what time is he is going to play in the Pro Ams. You just do the opposite because, you know, 7 o'clock tee time was just great. But, it was nice today because there were a lot of people out there and everybody was congratulating me. But, he still took the majority of the crowd with him. So, it wasn't too bad.

Q. What were your feelings watching the replay on the final putt on 18 and the rain delay?

DAVIS LOVE III: You know, it was hard to look up at the sky when I was actually playing 18 and people were yelling at me to "Look at the rainbow, look at the rainbow." It was very, very emotional. It was fun to sit down and watch it after I had calmed down some. I saw obviously just the highlights late or early Monday morning and we had a tape of the final round and since Lance had a little bit to do with the telecast, he enjoyed watching. He wanted to see how it actually came out. So, we watched the end a couple of times and I was more interested in the technical side of the swings. I kept backing it up. Everybody said "No, no, no, let it go." We wouldn't -- It was a amazing. I don't think you could have written a better ending. I mean, and if there weren't actually pictures of the rainbows, only the people there would believe that it actually happened. And, you know, it was very, very special and I had thoughts coming up towards the green of this is just like 1992 at THE PLAYERS Championship when the sun came out. I don't know if it is too strange meterological occurrences or if there is something more to it, but it was certainly something very special to me and my family.

Q. Is that your favorite part of the highlights that you saw or was it something else?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think outside of the golf, sharing the moment with Justin and with my family I think was the best part of it for me because I feel very lucky to have that many people that cared that much right there on the 18th green and I also enjoyed watching the gallery jump on that putt because as soon as I lifted the putter, they all jumped up in the air like they knew it was going to go in. So, that was pretty neat too. I am going to have to go back, sit down by myself and watch actually it. I have watched it with five people and watched it with 50 people. I'd like to sit down and watch it very slowly by myself and take it all in, because I don't think. Like I said, it is not really going to settle in for a while and I have never really read as many newspapers as I have read in the last two days because just I keep reading it trying to believe it. And, I have been complimented a few times by players that play the Ryder Cup. When we are picking captains for the Ryder Cup next five or ten Ryder Cups, they said, put yourself there in the end. Then it hit me riding home always the joke is, well, if you don't win the PGA, they will never pick you to be Ryder Cup Captain. Well, I said, man, now maybe I got a chance, so, I will try to be real nice over at the Ryder Cup to all the young players if they want me for their Captain one day. So it is just amazing to be put in the category with all these other great players that have won Majors. And, to have Nick Price come up and all these guys that have won Majors and congratulate me into their group. And I remember sitting in Turnberry Hotel with Nick when he had won the Open Championship and him saying, "Drink out of this this jug because one day you will have it, too." I said, "No, I am not going to do it until I do it." He said, "No, you are going to do it now." He said, "Just have confidence that you will do it." And, so it was nice to be welcomed into that group by Nick Faldo and Nick Price and guys like that, that obviously know what it means.

Q. You mentioned your friendship with Justin. In any other year he had been the talk of the Tour for what he has done this year, but it is Tiger's year. Do you think - and "slight" is not the right word, but do you think because what happened with Tiger that what Justin has done this year has been unfairly overlooked?

DAVIS LOVE III: I guarantee you, it is not overlooked by the players. When they put that stat up, Justin Leonard has, aggregate, over 16 major championship rounds beaten everybody, that is pretty impressive. And, it shows that he is right there every week and he is a major championship contender and always will be. And, I think you know, I think you have to take a step back from the hype of what Tiger has done and take a look at statistically what everybody has done and Justin Leonard has proven that he is right there with him. And, still a long way to go the rest of the year. And, I think if Justin were to win another tournament or two more tournaments then, you know, people would start to notice. But, I think where he finished in the Open U.S. Open? Tied for 7th maybe at The Masters, he was? So, I mean I think he finished in the top 7 the whole -- I don't know, you might know where he finished in the U.S. Open? Obviously pretty good because he was -- low scoring, the whole thing -- but, anyway, I think he is -- everybody is going to get overshadowed a little bit by the hype and the celebrity of Tiger which nobody really has a problem with. It is just a fact of life. It was like that when Greg was playing well, you know, somebody would win a tournament and they would talk about Greg winning two weeks ago. And, the great players stand out. And, it is hard to overcome that and he is going to be the focus of the Ryder Cup even though there is going to be 11 other guys on the team and we are all aware of that. But, he knows that it is going to take 12 guys to win and he knows what Justin has done and he knows what Ernie Els and I have done. We have all won one major and we are all looking to win more of them.

Q. Along those lines, at The Masters what Tiger did, what he did every reporter there I think was asking players how are you going to contend with this guy this year the next 20 years now that he just beat everybody by at least 12 strokes. What did you guys think?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I said -- I have said it a lot that he can't win every one of them. Nobody can. And even Jack went in 20, he didn't win them all. And, he played better than everybody ever will and still other guys got in and won. Arnold Palmer got his. Gary Player got his. And, Tom Watson got his. So, he can't win the Grand Slam every year and you just have to be prepared. He is going to be very hard to beat and Ernie Els is going to be very hard to beat. You can only take up one spot and if you can -- it is not a beat-Tiger-contest, but he is going to be one of them. And, you know, when Jack teed off in a major he knew he had to beat Arnold, but he had to beat everybody else too. And, when Gary Player teed off, he knew he had to beat Arnold and Jack but everybody else too. I think that is great competition and it makes you work hard. I know it certainly got everybody's attention. That has got to be one of the best major championships ever played and that was his first one as a pro. So, it got everybody's attention. It was maybe a wake-up call for some of the older guys. But, we certainly didn't give him the next three and, you know, come Masters again, everybody is going to be picking him to win. But, you know, that golf course is just absolutely perfect for him as good as he putts and as far as he gets it.

Q. What is the thing that causes players to break through in the majors?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think it is an inner battle. Obviously my golf came is good enough to win a major so is Phil Mickelson, so is Colin Montgomerie, so is Jay Haas's. It is fighting the inner battle that week of, one, getting your golf game ready and then getting your mind there for 72 holes, and controlling the emotions and living through the bad breaks and the good breaks and riding that emotional roller coaster through the whole week. And, I know that you have to be there a few times to understand how to handle it. You might win the first time you are there, but you still have to be there a few times to understand it. I kept telling myself Justin has been there just a few times just like me. He has won, but he has only been there a few times, so we are still fighting the same battle. I think probably Jack got to the point where the last night of the major was not routine, but was easier for him because he had done it so much. I am sure even though you win some and you lose some, I think the more you do it, the easier it gets and/or the more aware of what you are doing it gets. It was -- I mean, I was just nervous as I was last year at the U.S. Open. My hands were shaking just as bad, my stomach was churning just as bad, but I reminded myself of what I had to do, to hit the golf ball, to make the putts and keep myself focused and I got through it. Everybody said, "You look so calm, you look so collected and poised." I said, "wow, absolutely I am dying." It is amazing. I was even amazed looking at myself on TV and even saying the things I was saying to me sounded like my voice was cracking and that I was about to break out in tears and it looked pretty normal on TV. I guess that is maybe some -- TV doesn't catch it all. I was about to -- every time I hit a shot and start walking, I was about to break out crying because I knew that it was right there. It was going to happen. If it wasn't for the times that I haven't won, made the mistakes, and learned from them, I don't think I could have made it. I could have double-bogeyed those last three holes the way I was feeling. But, I played them good because I had been there before and lost it before and knew what that feeling felt like.

Q. Justin was asked earlier about how whether some players if they are feeling fatigued this week. Do you feel fatigued right now?

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, I am tired. I think the good thing about this week, there is no real early tee times. I have an early and a late, so you can kind of get caught up. But, this is a long golf course and being wet makes it even harder to walk and to play. And I think that could come into play. The longer hitters, the stronger players are going to have a little bit of advantage starting off until it dries up some.

Q. Davis, can I just have some comments on how you think the American Ryder Cup team is come out?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think it came out very well. Tom struggled, I know, very hard with his picks and I think he made two very good picks, got some experience and some Major Championship winners. I think what Jeff Maggert did was just incredible. I think that gives the whole team a whole big boost of confidence. He has done that twice, played good right at the end to get on the team. And, I think it shows a lot with all the comments and the articles saying that the bottom end of the team was not playing well and was dragging and nobody wanted to make the team, for a bunch of guys to come up and play well at the end and move up and solidify the team - I know Brad Faxon didn't want to end up 10th. But, it was nice to see guys pop up and play well and everybody is excited about Tom playing well and putting himself in contention for the team and everybody is excited to play for Tom Kite. So I think we are in great shape. I think our team is playing very, very well and the guys that weren't playing well, you know, I feel sorry for them not getting picked and not making the team. But, the guys that are on the team are playing real good.

Q. How much are you going to play between now and then?

DAVIS LOVE III: I will play at least one more week, maybe two.

Q. Some of the players I have spoken to, particularly the European players, are comparing this team to that of 1981 which was the best Ryder Cup team ever. Because you have got six major champions?

DAVIS LOVE III: I am embarrassed to say I don't know who played on the '81 team.

Q. It was Nicklaus, Watson, Trevino, Miller, Kite.

DAVIS LOVE III: I think we have got a lot of strong players. I think we have got a lot of strong pairings. It is yet to be seen how some of these guys haven't played before are going to handle it. But I think Justin Leonard and Tiger, as rookies, are pretty damn good. So, I don't know. You hate to make predictions, but I think we are a very, very good team. I think we should be excited. We had a very good team last time and had a big lead after two days and lost, so anything can happen in the Ryder Cup. But, I think we are looking real, real good. I think their team looks very, very good. They are going to be very excited over there, you know, guys are playing well and making the team -- it is going to be an exciting time. So, it is going to be a great, great match. That is a special place. I enjoy being over there for a few days and practicing and seeing the site and seeing the hospitality there that everybody is going to be putting out. I think it is going to be great matches. I know Seve is really juiced for it being it is in Spain and everything is going to be just right.

Q. Do you think the European team will be a better one or worse one with or without Faldo?

DAVIS LOVE III: It would seem very, very strange to playing Ryder Cup without Nick. They are in a bad spot really. They are going to leave off somebody very, very good. And, just like we did. I mean, we left off last year's U.S. Open Champion. We left off last year's PGA Champion. That is very hard to do. You are going to make somebody very upset and you are going to leave off a great player. But, you have got to go with the guys that are playing good right now. At least they have a couple more weeks to sort it out. A little longer than we do. Somebody could pop up and win this week and then everybody starts second guessing. So, at least they have a couple more weeks to sort it out. But, yeah, if it ends up having to pick two out of Jose and Jesper and Nick, I mean it is going to be -- I would never want to have to make that decision. I was for them getting some more picks. I think the more players come over here and play, it is going to mess it up more and more. Can you imagine if Colin was playing over here this year, it would be really bad, so....

Q. They say the next time around they are going to probably take it off the World List.

DAVIS LOVE III: I think -- that is like the Presidents Cup. That would be smart.

Q. Do you like the way the U.S. Team was picked?

DAVIS LOVE III: I do. I think it is just right and maybe, you know, we talked a lot last week about how the Ryder Cup was being such a big focus during the PGA Championship. Maybe that will pick the team or finish the team the week before and then come in and talk about it, pick the two guys Monday of the PGA and then just go play it. And, you know, might give somebody a big thrill to find out on Monday of the PGA that they are on the team then, boom, you know --

Q. If they pick the European from the World List, would you like to see that for the American team as well just to make it equal?

DAVIS LOVE III: I'd rather keep it on our ranking because has worked for so long. I mean, we have never really had somebody get left off because of filling -- well, except when the PGA wouldn't give a guy points, wouldn't make him a member. I think they have got it licked now. Weighted towards the second year and works out real well.

LEE PATTERSON: Thank you, sir.

End of FastScripts....

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