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December 5, 2008

Dru Love

Davis Love III


PHIL STAMBAUGH: We're joined this afternoon by Davis and Dru Love. Third year participating in the Father/Son Challenge. Did not play last year. Finished fourth in 2006. Maybe an opening comment from each of you. I know Davis, Orlando, last time you came here a couple weeks ago you won the Children's Miracle Network Classic. A big win for you. And Dru are, you're about two feet taller than when I saw you here two years ago.
DAVIS LOVE, III: We're excited to play. Obviously have played well a lot here in Orlando. And as Arnie pointed out, I've come close at his tournament a few times. He would like me to get a win there. Hopefully keep the roll in Orlando going. I got a good partner, and as you said, a bigger partner.
So we're excited to be playing. We're always looking forward to this event. It was disappointing last year, so we're even more excited this year.
DRU LOVE: Well, we look forward to this all year. My dad called it the fifth major, so we really look forward to playing this all year long. We try to practice our best and get ready.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Davis, can you talk about Dru's game since the last time he was here.
DAVIS LOVE, III: Well, he's gotten bigger and stronger. He was hitting balls the other day and we were off on the side talking about his swing with some of the teachers. I said, it looks like his clubs might be too short. We measured them against mine and they were longer than me. So maybe not.
But he's gotten so much bigger and grown into his swing. It's been a tough, you know, probably six or eight months for him because every time he gets hitting it good he gets taller and taller. I remember that big spurt. He's still like a puppy trying to grow into his big feet. He's getting bigger and stronger every day and things change.
But a much better playing and hits it a lot farther, so it'll be a lot more fun for him than the first year he played here where he couldn't hit over the water on half the holes. Now he can play the golf course and have a lot more fun.

Q. Can I go back to Disney real quick. I know you planned on doing something like that as a jump start for next year. Just say curious as to you fame of mind. Must have been exactly what you were aiming for.
DAVIS LOVE, III: Well, when I came out to play the six weeks I came out ready to go and excited. I kept saying I was close. But I thought if I had a really, really good fall, you know, I could get high enough in the rankings or high enough on the Money List to get me in a bunch of tournaments for next year.
Obviously winning would get me into Kapalua. I got into Bridgestone and got myself in a position where I could play my way into a couple other of the World Golf Championships. Get some confidence back to try to get into the Masters. Got a lot accomplished.
But looking back at that six weeks, and a lot of people in the last few weeks have come up to me and they realized that, you know, I went out there one of the few guys in my age bracket, category or TOUR player, that went out and put that much effort into that six weeks. I got a lot out of it whether I won our not.
I played a lot of golf. I gained a lot of confidence. I had a lot of close -- a lot of chances to win. Got a lot accomplished in this six weeks, which I was going to do last year. I said that after Disney, you know, that was my goal last year. To come in and have a really good six weeks, you know, keep my world ranking and be in the Masters and get myself on a roll for '08.
Well, unfortunately I didn't get to play, so it was delayed a year. But I had a good run. I had a lot of fun doing it. People were shocked, that here's a guy with his exempt status and his stature on TOUR out here playing six weeks in a row. But I needed to do it. I need to do it for my confidence and I needed to do it for my pride. I didn't want to use an exemption. I wanted to get back into the Top 125 and get back in the winners category.
Nobody has really said, Well, that was a good plan, but it was a fall event. I've had from Phil Mikelson and Arnold Palmer Bob Murphy and Furman Bisher, tons of people call me and say, That was great accomplishment. Way to go. It meant a lot. My caddie this week said, I didn't really think about 20. I said, Well, I didn't really either. Until after you do it, and then you realize it was a pretty big number.
So, yeah, I gained some confidence. Now I'm ready to go for the next year and years after and keep building on it.

Q. Do you think that you'll go into the first part of next year with sort of that same goal in mind that you did those six weeks? Because events like Mercedes and AT&T that you played well in the past, that you have a lot of confidence that you can get yourself into Augusta?
DAVIS LOVE, III: Yeah, I think I can. I don't know if there's a -- I remember Justin chasing a world ranking number last year at the beginning of the year, but I don't know what that is. If it's Top 30 or 50 or whatever. 50.
But I know that if I come on the and win at Kapalua or Sony and get on a roll again that I'm going to get in everything. I've got to win some tournaments and play well to make Freddy's President's Cup team. Dru's a little behind. Freddy says he wants us both to play well so he doesn't have to pick us, so Dru's got lot farther to go than I do.
You know, it's just that I need to come out and play like those six weeks. I didn't really look at the leaderboards or the Money List or the rankings. I just came out and played and tried to get my game in shape. I think certainly the guys that are 1 and 2 in the world rankings they don't look at their rankings. They just go out and play to win.
Vijay knows. He goes out and plays to win every week and he wins the FedExCup. He doesn't really study and analyze and figure out. That's where I got to get back to. Just playing, playing to win every week. Kapalua be like a lot of Kapaluas in the past. I'll be a little bit rusty when I get there. Get there with a couple days to get ready.
But I'm going to come out and play, you know, four or five on the west coast and get off to a good start next year.

Q. Dru, how much are you playing now? I've gatherers that you're into the golf thing pretty hardcore and really going at it to see where it'll take you.
DRU LOVE: Our high school golf season, we have two seasons, and the fall season ended about two and a half months ago. So I've really been taking a break since then. I played a couple rounds here and there and a couple junior tournaments, and then took another little break and me and my dad started up practicing again on Saturday to get ready for this.
But I really haven't been playing that much. Kind of wish I would have played a little bit more to get ready, though.
DAVIS LOVE, III: Like studying for exams, isn't it? Wish you'd a kept up. It's hard for him because this is the second year of high school golf as a ninth grader. It takes a lot out of you playing the fall golf, which a lot of schools don't play, and trying to start off ninth grade. He got burnt out I think a little bit.
But he's done a lot of family stuff. Been deer hunting and's a well-rounded, not-burned-out golfer. I like his chances as we get to the weekend. He's going to be getting more and more excited and ready to go. He'll be ready for spring golf. I like that: do other things and not pound it every day and take a break when you feel like it.
Now, both of us need to work a little harder with Randy Myers and need to get a little bit more focused on the day-to-day things. The thing I learned in the last couple months, is that I need to practice the short game the right way. Not just say that I putted or that I chipped a little bit, but do the same things day after day after day to get confidence with your short game or putting.
Morris Pickens and Bob Rotella, they work with us on the sports psychology side of it, but I need to practice my routine and practice my putting more. So I need to do that more this winter to get ready for next year, and Dru certainly needs to get on that after the first of the year.
He needs more on a practice routine like most high school or college golfers are on. As I said, he's growing into his frame. As he gets bigger and stronger he's going to get better and better.

Q. Davis, you obviously had a great background and teaching from your dad. One of the things that struck me, is that historically it's been very difficult for sons of great golfers to become great golfers themselves. I'm wondering, what do you feel about that? And Dru, carrying your dad's name, how did that impact you? And how do you think it'll impact Dru as he goes on?
DAVIS LOVE, III: I think I realize, and a lot players out here realized -- and I heard Greg saying it. It's nice that he can give Gregory a bunch of information, but he has to do something with that. It's just hard to be a successful golfer, no matter who your dad is. I think when you look at the odds, the odds of a kid making it in any professional sport are so slim that it really doesn't give you -- like Jackie Nicklaus isn't going to automatically make it because his dad was the greatest player ever.
Jackie has got to finish it out on his own, you know. Jack can tell him or me all the things he ever did, and we still have to learn to it on our own. So he's going to get Jack Lumpkin and Morris Pickens and Randy Myers and all those guys' information, just like I did growing up. A lot of great information. But if he's going to be dedicated and focused and figure it out on his own is the hard part.
But he's got the tools and the ability. My brother came up in the same house. That's what Mark always says. He says, I had all the same stuff. I probably got more than Davis did because I paid more attention. The difference is a little bit of desire and patience and a little bit of confidence.
One of - I won't mention the name - but a great basketball player that works with Bob Rotella said, What's the difference in making those free throws and jump shots? He goes, Just a little bit of doubt, you know. And there's just a little bit, one little thing, that some players get and that -- that Jack got and maybe Jackie didn't. But Jack couldn't pass it on. It's that a little bit of confidence and a little bit of extra desire.
Hopefully Dru can watch me play and watch Vijay Singh play tomorrow and say, What is it that he's doing that I'm not doing? It's tough. It's hard to pass it on. My dad gave my tons of information, and I'm still trying to figure out it out and learn what he was talking about and how to apply it.
It is tough. It's hard because there is that expectation. Why isn't Jackie Nicklaus better than he is? You know, he didn't play that good, or he played good and that's just because he's Jackie Nicklaus. It's a lot to deal with, but it's also an advantage if you take it.

Q. About the ankle, the recovery - and we're all going to watching as Tiger comes back next year - but it was such a process for you to come back. Was there every a moment of doubt when you were on the rebound?
DAVIS LOVE, III: Oh, definitely. There was doubt in November, December, what's it going to be like? My doctor was very adamant that you're not going swing until it's ready, because it could blow back up again. The torque that we put on our bodies, especially our lower bodies, that's what Tiger's -- that's why he's being so patient and going to have to be careful when he comes back.
Because it's not that -- Tiger's knee is probably ready for a lot of stuff, but it's not ready for Tiger Woods' swing. My ankle was ready for running or walking and a lot of exercising, but it wasn't ready to put the torque of a Davis Love golf swing into it, and that's what took so long.
Just like a football player. He's ready to run in a straight light, but not ready to put the torque of a side to side cut in a football game that most people can't recreate. You can't recreate in the gym hardly.
So that's the thing that going to be hard for Tiger, to pace himself back into it. As soon an as they give us a ball and club, it's hard for us to not hit it. You got to work your way back into it. I was doubtful until I got back actually on the course and they started letting me go. I said, Oh, yeah, I'm going to be fine. I still had two pace myself through the first month or two and not try do too much and hit too many balls. When you got on a weird lie, you had to say, All right, I'm just gonna get it back in play rather than try to be a super hero.
And I still have some spots that I'm not as comfortable in, but he will work harder than anybody. He'll do exactly what he's told, and I'm sure, as always, he'll come back bigger and stronger.

Q. As a follow-up, you talk about getting a lot of information. What did you learn that you would give to someone in the prime of their career?
DAVIS LOVE, III: Well, I think that no matter what, going back to the fundamentals and sticking with the things that work are the hardest things to do. I remember Paul Runyan promising a group of Golf Digest guys that he was going to do 50 sit-ups a day the whole year. When he came back the next year he missed two days, and he apologized for it.
It's not really the sit-ups that's the hard thing, it's the commitment to doing it day in and day out. My commitment in that six weeks that I improved so much, was that I did the same thing around the putting green every day. It was simple, but I did it, and I got better and better and got more and more confidence. The last two days I putted the best I putted all year.
One of Dru's lessons with Morris Pickens, he said, Look, it might not happen in six months or it might not happen in a year. But if you do this and you stick with it, eventually you're going to start putting great. As long as you don't analyze it and worry about it think about why isn't it happening now, it took me six or eight weeks and practicing to gain my confidence back and start making putts.
That's the little things that I need to do all winter and then all spring and then all fall. I was always -- Hey, I'm putting great, now so then you quit doing it. Or, Hey, I'm feeling better and my back feels better and you quit doing the sit-ups. Whatever. I've always been one of those guys. As long as I'm not doing well I'm willing to work. Start doing good I say, Hey, I got it.
How many times have we all said that? I'm hitting it great. I got it. Then you stop doing whatever the teacher told you that got you there, and then you fall into a bad habit again. We're no different.
So keeping up with the little things, especially the older you get. You think you don't have to do as much or you don't want to do as much or you just fall into bad habits. It's just sticking with the same old things and listening to Bob Rotella and Jack Lumpkin and doing what they tell me and sticking with it and not giving up on it.
The same drills my dad gave me still work. Just got to do them.

Q. How well do you know Seve, and what are your thoughts about what he's going through right now?
DAVIS LOVE, III: Well, I knew him fairly well. Competed against him a little bit in the Ryder Cup and stuff like that. You know, it's tough. We're praying for him. We've got a little girl at home, same situation, struggling. Hopefully they'll figure something out and he can get better and the news will turn around for him.

Q. Crystal ball time. With the economy being the way it is, where do you see the TOUR, say, year after next? Fewer tournaments, smaller purses?
DAVIS LOVE, III: I don't know. As one of my friends has been saying, he says, I planned for a slow down; not a meltdown. You know, I don't think we can predict, because what we were predicting six months ago -- what were predicting in our golf design business what we predicted six months ago we've completely thrown out the window.
Now we run them down. Okay, we're going to project zero that way we won't miss. So who knows where it's going to go. I'd love to sit down with Greg and say, all right, and Arnie and Jack who are all in the same kind of business, like, What do you project? Same with the Del Webb guys. What do you guys project? Nobody has anything good to say. I don't know.
I think the players, and you've seen it the last couple months, the players have realized, wait a minute, all of this stuff Tim's been doing the last three or four years, he's got us in a good position. So we're in good shape based on the economy. We're not going to go down in purses next year. We're going to actually go up.
Now, how long can that last? Just depends. We need to turn around in the next two years like everybody else or we're going to go downhill. There's no way around it. The tournaments are going to be a tough sell. I think where we're going to get hit the quickest is nonPGA TOUR stuff. Outings and endorsements.
A friend of mine in the marketing business said, You may be the last guy with a car deal standing. So we're starting to feel the pinch on outings. Every one of my sponsors who are bigtime companies, every one of them has canceled outings and canceled photo shoots and everything. Everybody is pulling back and saving money for the future.
So I think that's where it's going to get tough is off-the-course stuff. We have to wait and see. Hopefully starting on the 20th of January there's a positive vibe going and things start turning around.
You know, it looks like, you know, it's going to be a struggle for a year or two. Hopefully it'll turn around. Who knows? They asked me to run for the board again and I said, Jeez, I was on the board when everything was good. Why do I want to be on it now? Everybody will be pointing fingers.
I took a year off and look what happened. But who knows? I know that we're in good shape for this next year. After that, I think we're going to be like everybody else. What do we do? We're going to have to work harder. Tim already said that. We 're to have to do a better job with our sponsors and a better job talking to you guys, because it's going to be tough.

Q. (No microphone.)
DAVIS LOVE, III: Might be back to when I started. Didn't know if I was going to get a car or pay for range balls or not. Might go back a little bit.
But we can't complain. Like I said, our purses will go up next year. We're going to get a pay raise, and that's pretty good in this economy. You have to be thankful that we have a good, solid job. We're very, very -- we're still going to give tons of money to charity next year, but we're in a global economic banking crisis. We're going to have to ride it out like everybody else.

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