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January 14, 2009
DOUG MILNE: Davis, thank for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Great week last week, coming off a T-2, and glad to be back in Hawaii. So just talk about continuing on in 2009 at the Sony Open in Hawaii, and just a couple comments on the state of your game.
DAVIS LOVE III: Great to be playing two weeks in a row in Hawaii. Obviously it was great to be in Mercedes. That means you get to spend two weeks over here and play the Sony as well. I played pretty good last week. I looked at a bit of stats when I was at my computer class this morning when I was supposed to be paying attention.
Just nice to have some confidence and get off to a good start and get '09 rolling. You want to play well on the West Coast, and certainly I need to play well quickly to get into the Match Play and into the Masters. So, it was nice to get off to a good start.
Q. You made a pretty big jump in the World Rankings already.
DAVIS LOVE III: I did. I was told before the tournament started that that was a good place to move up, and my divisor was kind of low because of not playing as much, being out. But I had a good chance to move up there and obviously if you finish in the Top-10, you're going to move up.
But that was a good week, good strength of field, and obviously it was nice to continue moving up like I did last year in the Fall Series.
So just need to get a little bit higher. No matter where I get, I'm going to keep saying, I need to get a little bit higher. But always like to move up.
You know, I'm in the Bridgestone off the Disney and need to get into the other two World Golf Championships and just get in the ones I'm not in, because those are the ones that make it a lot easier to get to THE TOUR Championship. If you don't play in the World Golf Championships, it kills your World Ranking because you're missing three of the biggest tournaments.
I guess I missed all three of them last year.
Q. I know Disney and Kapalua are separated in many ways here, calendar and distance and all that, but having two tournaments of such good quality, that you come to the next one feeling this way? Because you have some scores behind you now.
DAVIS LOVE III: I've been close to feeling like I was playing this well, but obviously when you win or you finish high, or even back to Turning Stone, came out after a break and played well and got my name on the leaderboard.
And just because you feel like you should be in the Top-10 or have a chance to win, but if you finish 25th, even though you say, well, I'm playing good enough to win; saying it and doing it are two different things.
Once you actually finish in the top 5 or put your name in the leaderboard or have a chance to win on Sunday, until you get in that pressure situation and see how you react, you really don't know. It's been a while since I've had the momentum, maybe not the confidence has always been laying underneath there, but the momentum and the confirmation was important, certainly, at Disney.
And even if I had not won at Disney, I was so close there that I could have carried the momentum over to this year, but certainly winning and getting to go to Kapalua where I'm obviously very comfortable, that helps keep the ball rolling.
Q. What kind of caddie system do you have in place this week, this year?
DAVIS LOVE III: I had a lot of conversations with guys coming up going, "What are you doing? Do you need help? Can I work?" David Duval's caddie worked a few times, and Mark, my brother, a few times, and Joe LaCava. But we have got it narrowed down to when Fred plays, my brother is going to caddie. And when Fred doesn't play, Joe LaCava is going to caddie, which is great.
Obviously I love having Mark out. He's still got golf design responsibilities but not as many right now, so he's going to do a lot on the West Coast. And hopefully, you know, things are going to kick back off in the spring business-wise, and then he can bounce back and forth. But he will do basically the West Coast and then split the rest of the year with show.
Q. Business slow economy-wise?
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, we've got two projects that were under construction that shut down, and we have got three new starts that have been consistently delayed.
I think everybody is waiting to see, not when things get better, but when they can start to be ready when things get better. Everybody wants to know, all right, when is it going to be a year or two before I need this golf course to open or before I need this development to pop out of the ground.
So there's a lot of activity and a lot of talk, and that's why he can be out here. It's all on the phone. There's nothing being pushed in the dirt.
We are very hands on, so that's what kind of pulled Mark away from trying to do a little bit of both, caddie and work, because somebody has to be standing there watching the construction. So until that kicks back off, he can do some out here.
Q. What are the two projects?
DAVIS LOVE III: One was in Cabo, and one was near Wilmington, Delaware.
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, we've got --
Q. Where was that?
DAVIS LOVE III: It's near Wilmington. It's actually Newark. That one should get going between probably when the weather gets good again. Good time to -- it's like Sea Island. They shut down a course in the winter, rather than to overseed it when it's not busy. They know they are going to need it to go in the spring. These guys know they are going to need to get back to work in the spring but might as well not spend any money right now and wait.
The one in Cabo basically is done but it is an ownership change due to the Lehman shutdown.
Q. Is there a greater contrast on TOUR all year than these two weeks?
DAVIS LOVE III: In the golf course?
Q. In the playing?
DAVIS LOVE III: And the field?
Q. And the field.
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, big field, small field. A bunch of rookies this week and established guys last week.
But the hills, no. Came out here yesterday and just, whew, breath of fresh air, don't have to go up and down any hills.
I think it's good to go ahead and get that out of the way, and then everything else seems a little bit easier on the West Coast. But I would say consistently Kapalua and then some of the West Coast tournaments, they get you in shape for the year.
Even Torrey is not particularly easy to walk. And L.A., a couple of hills there, and you know, you look forward to the Hope and here, where it's nice and flat, easy. Pebble is not easy.
Q. Going to sign your card is probably the hardest thing at all at Riviera, isn't it?
DAVIS LOVE III: It always seems like you end up going up and down it three times a day, no matter what you do.
Q. What are you missing on the west?
DAVIS LOVE III: I'm going to miss Hope for sure, and Phoenix, and then probably hopefully play the rest of them.
Q. Do you go to Phoenix very often?
DAVIS LOVE III: In and out. I like the golf course. I think it's one of our best TPC courses, but just the way the schedule is. Just depends on the schedule. I like all the West Coast tournaments. It just depends.
Playing these two, I don't really want to go back and play five rounds next week. You feel like you land and then you're playing.
Q. For a long time, Florida was good, and then the West Coast was really hurting, ten years ago, and they really strengthened the west and Florida was having some issues and seems like they have strengthened that up again. This used to be a pretty strong start and there are some questions now. Do you sense that at all, and how do you -- is it almost feels like when you put together a piece of furniture, the leg taps out and you put it back in this way.
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, it always seems like there's a bubble. I've been on the board a lot, and it's one -- it's dot-coms were hot for a while and they were big sponsors; and car companies were hot and telephone companies were hot. And now we are trying to figure out what is going to be hot for sponsors. It's pushing back and forth.
You understand some sponsors say I've been tired of being here for ten years, and I want to keep doing this, but I'm going to go do something else because I want to take all of my entertaining for another location. That's what's been hard.
It is just a balancing act, and I think Greg Norman used to say: "The TOUR doesn't start until you get to Florida." Well, you can't do that anymore. Every segment, you have to do well on the West Coast, you have to do well in Florida, you have to do well when you go through the Texas swing, or you're not going to make it to THE TOUR Championship and have a chance to win the FedExCup. I think where Tim has really done well, he has not made it so that just the majors are what's important or the summer is what's important, or you can skip the West Coast and still survive. You can't compete unless you come out here.
Tiger doesn't play six on the West Coast, but he always wins one. You can't really compete for a year-long prize without doing well. Unless we go to NASCAR where you have to play every week, he's going to have to have some incentives on either end of the schedule and in the middle to get guys to play.
We used to have the West Coast Swing bonus and fall bonus and we have done a lot of things to show guys that there are great things all through the year and you have to spread it out.
Q. Given your lack of status last year, what tournament did you miss the most?
DAVIS LOVE III: The Masters, because I missed the major.
I missed the Match Play, because I've done well there. It was hard not to play there. And luckily I ended up getting into Colonial, Memorial, Jack gave me a spot. I got into most of them except World Golf Championships. But missing Masters was tough.
Q. Did you have to write letters last year?
DAVIS LOVE III: I didn't. Dan Sullivan and Jack, they said, you're in, and if you don't get in, we'll get you in. So I didn't really have to write a letter. That was nice.
Lifetime exemption still doesn't get you in some of the World Golf Championships and the special tournaments that are a little higher up. So I have to keep working to get in those, which is good.
Q. We did some research on your lifetime membership by a year, you have to play at least one a year.
DAVIS LOVE III: And keep it under 75. Keep my average down. I'm learning about it slowly. It is nice to be in that category, though, whatever it gives you, it's nice to be in it.
Q. I know it's a Presidents Cup year, but I talked to Corey Pavin just a little bit yesterday, just your thoughts on his selection?
DAVIS LOVE III: I haven't talked to him, but I knew he was going to be the guy. Even with all of the Paul Azinger talk, you knew that they were going to go with Corey because it's not taking turns, but just know you've got to get these guys in, or you're going to have another Larry Nelson or you're going to have a guy that gets left out. So I knew Corey would be next.
So I'm excited for them, and like I said, I'm going to work hard to get on Fred's team and work hard to get on his team. I would love to be on the inside another time.
Q. I take it you don't want to be the Larry Nelson in the group, because of course you're in the mix.
DAVIS LOVE III: You know what would be really, really nice, is if -- and eight years from now, you said, man, you played so good, you get to be the captain. That would be okay with me.
I would like to be -- like Jay Haas played pretty late; Fred Funk, and I would like to be able to do that. And I assume Jack played pretty late in his career.
Q. Doug was just mentioning what you missed the most; I'm sure Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup?
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, I definitely missed that, both from a competitive side -- I have not gone back and asked guys: So how was the first day match with so and so. I'm going back: How was the hotel and was this guy fun, was that guy fun and who sat with who. Things like that is what I want to know.
One is because I missed it, and two, I've been -- every time Paul starts talking, I listen, because I want to know what Paul does, what Corey does what Tom Lehman did; stole my Polo idea, have Polo outfit the whole team. Things like that, all that I need to learn in case we end up being captain one day, we know what each guy did. Obviously the teams we played on, we know.
Q. They will have another Presidents Cup, obviously this year and then Ryder Cup and then another Presidents Cup. What if you got asked to be a Presidents Cup captain?
DAVIS LOVE III: I would talk to the PGA of America first. I would talk to the PGA of America first to make sure what their schedule was. If they said, look, you might as well go ahead and be Presidents Cup captain because we are not going to pick you, it will make it easy. I would not want to jeopardize.
Presidents Cup is a little different, because if you're still playing out here some, you still know the guys, but PGA of America, they want to get you in before you're 50, before you even think about going to the champions.
Q. Is it fair to say that you have a better chance of being Presidents Cup captain after you've been Ryder Cup captain, than Ryder Cup captain after you've been --
DAVIS LOVE III: I think so. That's what I'm worried about with Fred.
Q. You said you knew it was going to be Corey as long as they didn't go with a repeat. If Corey for whatever reason didn't want to do it and you already stated quite clearly what your intentions were the next two years, who is the captain?
DAVIS LOVE III: I don't know. That's a good question. Because when Fred took -- you name Presidents Cup captain, you knew he wouldn't do it back-to-back. You couldn't do one year and Presidents Cup next year.
Q. Miss too many press conferences.
DAVIS LOVE III: He's catching on. Like I said, he's text messaged me a bunch this year.
Q. If he didn't take the job, do you think he would have -- because of the comment?
DAVIS LOVE III: The general public I think would have a hard time with Fred not being Ryder Cup captain, I would think. The fans would want him, and say, wait a minute, what happened to Larry Nelson, what happened to Fred Couples, why isn't he captain? Mark O'Meara, there was a little of that, but Freddie is so popular, but I think they would miss him being the captain. Would I miss it if I was a player so hopefully they can get him in.
Q. What were these text messages?
DAVIS LOVE III: Good playing, get off to a good start, and then good playing and keep it up and when are you going to use my caddie. (Laughter) Because he needs to make some money.
Q. Were you shocked that Freddie knew how to text?
DAVIS LOVE III: The TOUR tried to make him do e-mail and iPhone and all that to try to get him up to speed. They got him to at least where he's really good with the texting. But you can text him and then immediately call him and he still won't answer.
So he has not figured out that, no, wait a minute, we know you've got the phone in your hand.
DOUG MILNE: Davis, thanks for coming in.
End of FastScripts