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March 23, 2006

Davis Love III


TODD BUDNICK: Welcome Davis Love, the co leader in the clubhouse after 7 under, 65, your lowest opening round at TPC Sawgrass in 21 starts.

Talk about the nice day out there today, maybe not from the whether side.

DAVIS LOVE: We'll take today over the last two days, when the wind blew like crazy. It was a little easier to play. And obviously we got off to a good start and hit the ball real well and made some putts, a couple of nice putts for par, up and downs for par and took advantage of the softer greens. It was all in all a good day.

TODD BUDNICK: All your birdies were inside ten feet today, so looked like your iron play was on.

DAVIS LOVE: I had a couple short putts that didn't go in, but I was all around the hole. I had actually one of my longer putts I made was on three for par at 15 feet. I had some 2 putts for birdie, one from the fringe and one from about 20 feet at 2.

So when you're hitting the ball on the green on this golf course it certainly looks a lot easier.

Q. I know 2003 it was a little more windy and maybe a tad cooler, but the days were kind of similar, between this day and that 64, 2003. Must like it here when it's gloomy?

DAVIS LOVE: Again, when I got up we knew it was coming. But when I got up and said it was going to be a rain jacket all day, and it's going to be a little drippy. The first thing you think of, well, the wind won't blow quite as hard when it's like that, so that was nice. It's a little softer, when it's cloudy I don't think it rained really enough to wet the golf course, but it wouldn't dry up from overnight. So it was soft enough. I spun some back. I spun some back a lot farther than I thought. So it was soft and it was there for the taking if you hit the ball well.

Q. I suspect if the sun had come out that rain jacket wasn't coming off anyway?

DAVIS LOVE: It wasn't coming off; after 4 under through nine it wasn't going to come off.

Q. What happened to the other one?

DAVIS LOVE: I've got it.

Q. In a glass case somewhere?

DAVIS LOVE: Not in a glass case. It's in the closet hanging. I've kept a lot of shirts I won in, the beautiful last day Ryder Cup shirt (laughter), things like that. I've got a bunch of striped shirts that I've won in. I don't know what I'll ever do with them. My son's up to a men's small, men's medium shirt, it won't be long, he'll probably be wearing them at the last rounds of some of his tournaments, maybe.

Q. Are you about where you wanted to be at this stage of the season, and where is that?

DAVIS LOVE: In here talking to you guys every afternoon. Yeah, I've made a lot of progress, obviously. I haven't won. But I think I made a lot of progress physically last year, I got to feel better and better and contending more and more, and came out this year excited and ready to go. I'm looking forward to the next five to eight years, not just this week or this year. I still have the same goals and still have the same excitement. I feel I feel like at 40, almost 42, I'm still in my window of opportunity. I want to keep working hard at it.

Q. Davis, the good memories about this place, do they keep flooding back, when you have a day like this? You birdied 8. Do you think about the chip at 8 in '92?

DAVIS LOVE: I got up on 8 and it's a tough pin. It's a tough hole. And when I get up there I see this hole has always been good to me. I think rather than getting up there and going, this hole it's hard to hit this green. Don't hit it left, don't hit it right. I'm thinking positive thoughts when I get up there. It doesn't work obviously it doesn't work every time with 220 yard 4 iron. But if you've got good feelings about it. I didn't have to come play a whole bunch of practice rounds to figure out what's going on here. I played 9 holes yesterday and 9 holes Tuesday. When you have a place where you're comfortable it makes it a little easier and a little more confidence coming in.

Q. Do you have the same kind of feelings at 15?


Q. The 15th hole?

DAVIS LOVE: I made a good par there. I don't know how to answer that. I feel good everywhere on this golf course.

Q. I was just thinking that if you look back over the last few years, I think you'll find you're five over on the last eight rounds on 15?

DAVIS LOVE: Does that make any difference? I shot 65.

Q. I wonder how that hole sets up for you?

DAVIS LOVE: It's a hard hole. I tend to hit it in the left rough more now than I used to. I used to hit it in the right bunker a lot and that's an easier play. I don't know how to answer that. I don't look at stats like that.

Q. When somebody else in your group is playing well, does that help maybe rhythm wise? With you and Jim playing

DAVIS LOVE: It's nice when you get a guy like Jim Furyk rolling the ball over the edge or in the hole every time, you think I can make some putts, too. When you get a guy that's playing good, even though he didn't birdie a lot starting off, you feel comfortable. You like watching guys make good shots. Certainly Jim and I complimented each other really good today.

Q. You two had dinner last night?

DAVIS LOVE: Jim had Phil and Justin and myself and their wives and all their kids over for dinner.

Q. Not a lot of golf was talked?

DAVIS LOVE: A little bit.

Q. What was on the menu, anything good?

DAVIS LOVE: It must have been real good, because it work for Jim and I, and hopefully those other guys.

Q. What did you have?

DAVIS LOVE: We had, I guess you would call it, beef tenderloin. The kids had macaroni and chicken fingers, and that was looking pretty good. We didn't get any of that.

TODD BUDNICK: If we can go through the birdies today, all 7 of them. Starting on 2.

DAVIS LOVE: 2 was a driver and a 4 iron, two putt.

6 was a 1 iron and a 9 iron, two feet and nine inches.

8, again, hit a really good 4 iron, went right by the hole, two feet.

And then 9, drove it in the left rough and hit a 5 iron out on the other side and hit a pitching wedge to about just under six feet.

11, again, drove it a little left in that left bunker and hit a 6 iron, skipped through, just past the hole into the fringe and 2 putted.

12, driver off the tee and a sand wedge to ten feet.

16, drove it in the right rough with a driver and hit a sand wedge out and a sand wedge about seven feet left of the hole.

Q. How often are you carrying a 1 iron and what determines whether you

DAVIS LOVE: It says 2 on it, I still call it a 1. They don't make a 1 anymore. It's a 1 iron loft. And I fiddled around some with the utilities, but I'm more comfortable, especially hitting it off of a tee, with the regular old blade club. And I've had a 1 iron that matches my set pretty close. I just haven't ever got comfortable with the 4 woods or utility, I tend to hook it too much.

Q. Is that in the bag every tournament or most tournaments?

DAVIS LOVE: Most tournaments. Like Phoenix I played with one of the long iron replacement clubs. And I hit it really good off the tee, but when I hit it into the green sometimes it would go 30 yards too far, just smash it. And it would go way too far. I don't want to be hitting a crushing one when I'm trying to hit it to 60 off the tee and hit it 280 on some of these holes and go through the fairways. It works pretty good. I don't want to hit it probably over a lake to a green. But maybe at the Masters it's not the right club, because there will be a lot of drivers there. I don't hit it off the tee much.

Q. I can't remember how well you started when you won, but on this course does it mean more to get off to a good start?

DAVIS LOVE: When you've got a day like today when the scoring is good. You have to shoot a good score and not put yourself behind. It's not a good course to catch up on, with because we know it's going to get harder and harder every day. It's nice to get off to a good start.

Q. In the last few years when you haven't won is there a frustration level? Does it stem back to that you weren't always at your best, and it's frustrating knowing that it took you a while to get past that?

DAVIS LOVE: It's always frustrating when you don't win when you have a chance. And mistakes add up and then sometimes injuries add up. And sometimes life adds up, piles up on you. But I've certainly felt better about it the last year, since last summer, really, felt better about it, that I had a better chance. Did I ever doubt myself? Yeah. I did some, thinking am I going to be physically strong enough to do this, to hit a high cut 4 iron into No. 8 like I used to. Now I know that I've had a lot of good health, and now I'm not injured. I can overcome my old body. 21 times playing here is a lot of golf. But I know now what to do to feel good and feel strong and get up at 10 till 6 in the morning and come out and be ready to go and play hard. I know what I have to do to do it. I feel better it. There's always frustrating not winning. Gary and I were walking down the range saying I haven't been to Kapalua for a long time. I said a couple of times out there, if I can stand on my own way I know I'm going to win soon.

Q. Some of the folks in Greensboro thought you might have lobbied a little to the Tour for the tournament moving this summer. Is that true, did you say anything?

DAVIS LOVE: I lobbied for a lot of tournaments in the last few years, but, yeah, it's hard when you're on the board to keep your personal interests in check. But certainly Scotty McCarron is working hard for Reno and I'm working hard for Greensboro and Hilton Head and THE PLAYERS Championship, the ones where I do well.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you very much, Davis, good luck the rest of the week.

End of FastScripts.

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