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August 3, 2007

Davis Love III


Q. Can you talk about your round today?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I got a good score out of it today. I've been hitting the ball really well. I actually hit it better yesterday and just haven't been getting a good score out of any round lately, I guess. So it's nice to get a good score and see a few putts go in. I've been confident that it was coming, that a good round was coming, but it's been hard to be patient, so nice to finally get one.

Q. How fine a line is that? We were just talking to Phil and he said, "I played well, I just didn't score." It just seems like that --
DAVIS LOVE III: It's very fine because -- it's a fine line between playing well and playing mediocre, and mediocre out here is no good, but it's a mental line. It's probably not as much a physical line as it is a mental line, and when things aren't going right, these are hard golf courses. They look harder when things aren't going right, when you're not making putts and you're getting the bad bounces and not scoring. But when you start scoring, you see guys do well. You'll be surprised at the scores they shoot on hard courses.
I think it's a very fine line, but it's mental. It's confidence and patience, and it takes a lot of that because these courses are just getting harder and harder every year.

Q. People are comparing it to U.S. Open conditions. I don't know if that's a stretch in terms of the reason. What about the greens?
DAVIS LOVE III: Phil and I both -- I've been out here longer than him, but we've played an awful lot of tournaments, and it just gets to the point where every course is a long, long golf course with deep, deep rough. It gets a little stressful that you can't get away with very much and you have to be right on perfect. You miss a fairway, you're hard pressed to get it back on the green. They keep lengthening courses that are already long. It's just tough.
We see the same basic thing week after week after week. The top players are playing long golf courses with deep rough, and it's very, very tough on you mentally.

Q. You said you hit the ball better than yesterday but you ended up scoring nine shots better today. What improved in your game today that enabled such a big turnaround?
DAVIS LOVE III: A couple holed putts, a couple good up-and-downs. Yesterday I hit some pretty shots right over the flags and made bogeys, doubled a par 3 with a 5-iron in and not really a bad shot. I threw shots away yesterday, where today I saved shots. I made some par putts that kept the round going. And even with a bogey on both sides, I still made a lot of birdies, and I'm hitting the ball really, really well for the last six months, and I've just been not letting myself play. I saw a quote from Hunter Mahan last week, he said he let his brain catch up with his golf game. That's what I need to do because the swing is really good and the brain is just starting to kick in.

Q. How hard is it to keep your confidence up when you've missed a few cuts like you have?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I've been working really hard on my game, and I think that's a change for me, and I think it's gotten to the point where I've been trying to be perfect and hit every shot perfect and trying to play perfect, and when it didn't happen I would get a little frustrated. I was coming off the golf course kind of beating myself up, heading for the driving range, rather than coming off thinking that I did a lot of good things and tomorrow will be better. That's what I did yesterday. I did a lot of good things, and tomorrow will be better. Finally it was. Like we said, mentally I just wasn't there, where I normally am, and I'm trying really, really hard, talking to Dr. Rotella more than anybody, trying to get back on track.
I told my wife last night, I feel really good about the way I played today, I'm not even worried about the score. And today it proved that if you're patient, eventually your talent will come out, and I haven't been letting that happen much lately.

Q. You look like you're in better physical condition.
DAVIS LOVE III: I'm better. I wouldn't say I'm great. If I hadn't been hitting so many balls this year, I think I'd be in great physical condition. I'm feeling better, and like I said, I'm more confident with my golf swing with what I'm doing. I just haven't gotten out of my own way, and I think I'm maybe turning the corner towards doing that.

Q. Does it help coming to a golf course where you've had some success?
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, it's nice being somewhere where you've had success, even though I thought about it a few weeks ago, the stretch of tournaments that I'm playing is just every golf course is hard. There's no Vegas thrown in there to make a lot of birdies to get your confidence back. So I knew that that meant I had to even be more patient because it was not going to be easy anywhere soon. Maybe at Greensboro it'll be a little easier, but it can be long and cold and wet and not play easy there, either.
You know, it's the Playoffs; it's supposed to be hard, I guess.

Q. You are still going to play all of them from now on?
DAVIS LOVE III: I'm going to play until they don't let me play anymore. That's kind of my plan. That's why I didn't play Canada, because I figured after Carnoustie, and then if I played Canada and tried to play my way into those last few tournaments, I would be just dead. I'm going to hit a few wedges and a few chips in the afternoon and not go out and pound a lot of balls and save my energy for the weeks going forward.

Q. What did you do on your week off?
DAVIS LOVE III: A lot of putting, a lot of hanging out and relaxing and just trying to get back into the mental side of where I wasn't worried so much about my golf game rather than feeling like I had to go out and pound balls for three hours every day. I just went out whenever I felt like it and chipped and putted and worked on getting back set mentally rather than trying to be perfect physically.

Q. Are we getting to the point with the golf courses and the difficulty to where there won't be that much difference between a major and another type of tournament?
DAVIS LOVE III: The setup is not terribly different. Congressional, I mean, that was -- except for the greens were softer than they wanted them, but that's some deep rough there and long, and this one is long and deep rough, and the greens are getting harder and faster. So no, there's not a whole lot of difference, which in one respect I guess is good. I mean, you get more used to -- it's not a shock when you show up at Oakmont.
But I just think when guys are shooting over par on the PGA TOUR and winning tournaments, the courses are probably a little bit too hard.

Q. I tend to agree with that, but who cares what I think.
DAVIS LOVE III: It would be like if they moved the fences back 100 feet and pitchers had to try to get outs, or moving them in 100 feet and the pitchers had to try to get outs or they moved it out and the batters try to hit over. It just gets harder and harder.
One of the caddies today, Pete Bender, who's been out here a long time, said, "Sure is quiet out here, isn't it?" There's not a lot of roars and cheering. Like at The Masters it was real quiet. Fans want to see some birdies. We've talked about it a lot, we've just got to get it. We've got to get more variety.

Q. Is there any one thing that Rotella tells you that helps you maintain that mental edge?
DAVIS LOVE III: I think the biggest thing is making -- getting into the target, the most important thing, rather than your golf swing or your stroke or your score or the results. When you're playing just to go out and play one shot at a time and hit at targets and get into your process and get lost in that, it gets a little easier than if you're out there trying to hit every shot straight down the middle and worrying about your score or how many cuts you've missed in a row or what position you are on the Money List and what you need to do.
You know, the biggest thing is making it simple and making it fun, and that's hard when it's the Playoffs, when it's important, when you're trying to play well.

Q. When was the last time you played like this?
DAVIS LOVE III: Middle of last year. You mean, good or bad?

Q. Well, good.
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I felt really confident that -- last year at this time that I was going to start playing well, and it just never would happen, and then as soon as I came here and played well, and then I played really good at Greensboro. But I've lost my confidence or my routine a few times and gotten it back real quick, and it seems like the last couple years I've gotten more interested in when things went wrong trying to fix them by perfecting my golf swing, and I've kind of fallen into that trap a little bit, that the golf swing could be perfected.
I played great in '03 and I was going to come out in '04 and get better, and I got worse. I think there's a lesson there, just keep doing what you're doing and get more relaxed and more into your routine and more confident rather than trying to get perfect with your golf swing.

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