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February 28, 2008

Brian Davis


DOUG MILNE: Brian Davis, thanks for joining us here at the media center at the Honda Classic. Great round today, bogey-free 5-under par 65. Just a couple highlights of the overall round.
BRIAN DAVIS: Yeah, any time you can make no bogeys on this golf course you've done really well. Today was one of those days, things were going my way and made the putts at the right time, chipped it close and hit some good shots. Just one of those things, around here, you hit one bad shot, you can make a double in a heartbeat.
Today was a really good day and hoping to carry it on tomorrow.
DOUG MILNE: On the way in we talked a little about how you really favor this course. What is it specifically that suits your game so well?
BRIAN DAVIS: A lot of guys like it because you have to hit so many clutch shots. The par 3s are tough and there's a few tough driving holes, as well. Last four holes is a real challenge, and you've got to hit quality golf shots coming in. There's no misses allowed, and the guys like that.

Q. Can you talk a little about the combination of the challenge of the wind, especially earlier this morning, multiplied by a relatively slow pace it seems like, just the grind of it all, how it all adds up and how this course, it's a grind in and of itself; how much more difficult when you add it all up does it make the test that's out there?
BRIAN DAVIS: Well, what made it good today was the greens were a bit softer, and any time the greens are a bit softer it gives you a chance.
The one thing I would I say is starting off, I had in my mind level par. If you could get anywhere around par, I would be very happy today. Especially with my form coming back from injury, it's been a tough start for me personally. I want to get a bit of momentum. I worked with my coach last week and we did a few things and it seems to have helped. But nothing beats confidence, and I haven't had a lot of that the last few months, so it's been nice.

Q. Is one round sometimes all it takes to get that confidence level to where you want it to be?
BRIAN DAVIS: Yeah, definitely. When I won down in Australia, I was struggling and I came out and shot 62 on Sunday and won the event. It just spirals from there.
For me personally, I've been lacking in strength to hit the ball because of my neck and back from last year. Having two months off and not being able to do anything at all, I might as well shut down basically and probably came back a little too early. You know, it's one of those things, you've got to start playing sometime.
I came out this year, it's been a bit of a struggle as I said but hopefully I'm turning the corner.

Q. Can you update on your injury?
BRIAN DAVIS: Yeah, I've been swinging it bad for a couple of years and not been happy, and all of a sudden I had a back probably early in the year and that went away and started having pains in my neck.
Finally I played the last seven events of the season and I herniated two disks in my neck at Disney. Actually I wouldn't have played if it had been the middle of the season, but because it was the last event I just carried on and just got through the round somehow, and unfortunately it was quite a long road back.

Q. How did they treat it?
BRIAN DAVIS: Oh, just physiotherapy and all that kind of stuff and it's got better. But just swing it better I suppose is the answer.

Q. Did it go out on one shot?
BRIAN DAVIS: I actually sneezed. I was having trouble with my neck and I sneezed. I heard it pop.

Q. Do you remember the hole you were on?
BRIAN DAVIS: It was in the morning. I just got up.

Q. Do you remember which round?
BRIAN DAVIS: I'd like to say it was the first round or day before, I can't remember. I think it was the first round. And it was pretty painful.

Q. Hell of a sneeze.
BRIAN DAVIS: It was. As I said, everything had been tight. I wasn't in horrific pain before then, but I just wasn't feeling comfortable. You know, like a lot of you guys, you have a bad back, you do a silly thing like pick up something and your back goes out. When it's weak, something silly starts it off.

Q. What was it today, the part of your game that really got your round good?
BRIAN DAVIS: I drove the ball good. Got off to a good start. As I said around here, you've got to choose your misses. There's some pins you just can't go at.
You know, I did all of the right things today. You know you've got to do that around here, because it's more like, not a major, but you can see how they have had a major here. And it would be a stern test any time, whether the greens are soft are not. But no doubt they will have the greens a bit firmer for the weekend.

Q. You said things went your way today. Were there any key moments where you turned a bogey into a birdie or that just kept your round going?
BRIAN DAVIS: Yeah, when I missed a couple of greens, I chipped it close, so I didn't have a lot of work to do. The only real trouble I had was on -- that's always a good sign when you can't remember -- on 14. I hit the green in two, two pretty good shots, and raced it ten foot past coming up the slope and made it coming back. That was really the turning point for me, and I made a bomb on No. 16, which was great.
But you know, apart from that, I didn't leave myself too much trouble, and, you know, left myself the right side of the hole and did all of the right things.

Q. You said that you have to hit clutch shots here, different shots. Can you maybe describe one kind of shot here that you might not have to hit somewhere else, maybe an example?
BRIAN DAVIS: Yeah, you know, we all talk about THE PLAYERS Championship, 17, 18, you have to be able to hit the clutch shot with the wind.
But coming down the stretch here, the two par 3s coming in, depending on where the wind is, there's no bail out. If you bail out you're probably going to make bogey. But if you go for it and miss it, you're going to make double. You've really got to hit a good shot.
You know, coming down the stretch, for example on 18, I missed my tee shot left in the rough and I had to hack at it, and I still had 195 to the pin for my third shot into the wind.
So you know, there's not a lot of let-up out there. You have to hit good shots all the time.

Q. You talked about those two par 3s. No. 15 I think is playing one of the hardest today. Can you talk a little about your play on that hole?
BRIAN DAVIS: Yeah, I hit a good drive on 16, just a little bit left but a little bit safe. I was in between clubs and hit it sort of middle front left and the pin is up on top. You know, I had about a 15-foot breaking putt from off the fringe of the green and made it, and that was a bonus.
With that pin position today, you've got to hit it in the right spot to leave yourself an uphill putt; otherwise, you are going to be struggling, and that's one of the reasons why it's playing tough.

Q. How did you play 15, the par 3?
BRIAN DAVIS: It was one of those the wind kept changing there, one minutes there, and it's very hard to judge and you have to be spot on. And I'm first up so I have nobody to go on. Hit a good shot, 6-iron just left of the green, trying to fade it, went straight, finished 30 feet from the pin.
But them holes, you're not looking to make birdie. If it comes off and you hole a 20-, 25-footer, then great. But if not, you want to be tapping in for par.

Q. Luke was in here a little while ago, I don't have the exact numbers, but he missed something like half a dozen fairways and half a dozen greens and still shot 64. How mind-boggling is that that someone could do that?
BRIAN DAVIS: It's not. We've all done it. We've all had the odd round where you've played great and shoot 2-over and you go, how did that happen, or a day like today like Luke had it; you leave yourself in the right shot and you get a easy chip or putt. We all have rounds like that. But overall, you know, Luke will know that if you carry on this week, you won't win. You can't keep doing that around here, you have to hit good shots. That's why you've got to have your A Game this week over four rounds.

Q. Not to belabor the point, but you talked about your injury; where are you as far as pain and therapy at this point?
BRIAN DAVIS: I would probably say I'm about 80 percent strength, and you know, still niggles a little bit but everything is better. It's more a case of getting strength you have. We all want to hit the ball hard. As we all know, it's a bomber's game now and you can't afford not to. The problem is hitting hard every time puts a strain on me. I'm not a long hitter. I'm usually straight, so for me I need everything.
It's been tough in that respect, but, you know, obviously, I'm getting stronger and looking forward to next few weeks.
DOUG MILNE: Real quick, if you could just run us through your birdies and just give us some clubs.
BRIAN DAVIS: On the first hole I hit driver off the tee, wedge to about 20 feet, 18, 20 feet and made it.
No. 8, I hit driver, 9-iron to about 15 feet and made it.
On 10, I hit driver, 3-iron to about ten foot and made it.
No. 13, I hit driver, wedge to two feet.
On 16, I hit driver, 3-iron and then made a bomb from off the edge of the green about probably 40 feet.
DOUG MILNE: Brian Davis, keep it up. Thank you for joining us, we appreciate it.

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