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April 17, 2009

Davis Love III


MARK STEVENS: I'd like to welcome Davis Love to the interview room. Davis shot a 67 today and is at 5-under for the tournament.
Davis, start off, give some general comments on your round today and thoughts going into the weekend.
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I scored well today. It's tough to hit the greens with all that wind blowing, but there were a lot of nice little chips and a couple good bunker shots, good up-and-down to keep the round going, and one nice eagle putt.
I had a pretty solid day. Typical Harbour Town day. You're going to have to chip and putt eventually, and I did both pretty well today. I did miss a few makeable birdie putts, but traded them off for some up-and-downs that were good. It was a good, solid round.

Q. With all the wind are you relatively surprised at how low they're going early in the morning?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, the greens are so good in the morning. I mean every putt you hit, as soon as it leaves the putter you know if it's got a chance or not. They're rolling great. They're a little bit trickier yesterday in the afternoon. I'm sure tomorrow they'll be good all day, a lot less players.
No, I'm not surprised. They're soft. They were a little soft today but firmer than yesterday. I'm sure by Sunday, they'll dry out and they'll get tougher each day. It's pretty typical. Low scores the first few days and then if you're hanging around 10- or 11-under par it seems like you're pretty good in the end.

Q. Can you follow-up on that, how do you adjust your game at all as those conditions change your aiming points or change your game or where you're trying to hit the ball the way the course is changing?
DAVIS LOVE III: You're trying to keep it out of trouble. It's hard off the tees here. If you hit it low, the wind doesn't get it much. I hit one high, really high into 18 and just the wind killed it. Which is what I wanted to do at 17, hit it really high and let the wind catch it going downwind, but coming into the wind it didn't work. Steve Flesch went really nice and low into the wind and skipped it over the green.
It's tricky, you have to play the right shot. When the greens are this small sometimes you get a little anxious and you try to guide it a little bit. But you have to adjust. It's tricky and you have to adjust and you have to guess, and hopefully guess right more than you don't.

Q. Given your record here, people automatically just expect you to play well here. Do you expect to play well here? Do you come in thinking --
DAVIS LOVE III: I expect to play well, but I put a lot of work into playing well this week, because I haven't been playing well the last few weeks and I've done a lot of work on my short game and little things like changing the grip, my putting grip. I just went back and kind off went over everything that I've been doing wrong. And Todd Anderson said, "Change your grip, and maybe get your putter a little bit shorter." And Jack Lumpkin said, you're doing this and this and this not well, and slow down, try not to hit so hard. Little things that make a difference, and chipping and putting practice always helps. I putted better. The little chips and pitches, except for one yesterday on No. 2, I hit a lot of really good chips and pitches, other than a couple of three-putts I'd probably be right there, 7- or 8-under, so everything is going pretty solid. I'm not surprised, I'm just thankful that the hard work is paying off now.

Q. I'm sure it's extremely disappointing anytime you miss The Masters, but given what you just said, do you think that having that week off and having some time to do things will help you at least in the immediate weeks after, including this one?
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, just was trying too hard to get in The Masters and now I can relax and play. Obviously I have to win. It's a lot easier to just go ahead and win one here in the next couple of months and get it over with.
I was fortunate, I won a nice field tournament last year, just unfortunately wasn't the one that got me to The Masters. I know I can win, I've just got to keep playing well and win one and relax and play. This place helps me do that, but I realized after Bay Hill that I was just trying to accomplish things on the golf course, rather than just playing the golf course. Even though I've been around a long time, I've still got to be reminded of what it takes to play well and what you did when you did play well.
And it's so easy to get into bad habits. Unfortunately mine are trying too hard and trying to make things happen rather than learning if I just relax and play and do the little things, just get into the routine, play one shot at a time. The things that sound easy are sometimes the hardest to do. I've just got to get back to doing that.

Q. Joey is on your bag this week, you've been doing that for a while or just this week?
DAVIS LOVE III: We've been switching off between Joe and my brother. When Fred doesn't play, Joe has been caddying. I think this might be only the second week because Fred's played a lot. Joe worked Honda and he'll do Colonial, Memorial.

Q. Is that a comfort level because you and Freddie get along well or because it's Joe?
DAVIS LOVE III: I've known Joe since I came out on Tour, you know. I immediately started playing golf with Fred, so I got to know Joe. And Joe and I have been around the world a lot together and spent a lot of time together. He's a real good friend and he's a great caddie, so I'm lucky to get him. Just the last couple of years we planned on doing it a bunch, but Fred has played a lot more than we thought he would. And he's played great, which is great for both Joe and Fred. In fact, Joe was supposed to caddie for me at Disney last year and Fred committed at the last minute, my brother subbed in and Joe and I missed the cut the week before, and then I won with my brother the next week. So bouncing back and forth you're going to get some good and some bad. But I owe Joe one, because that was supposed to be his week.
But he's a great caddie, he's fun to have around. I put a lot of trust in him, just like I do my brother.

Q. You look a lot more relaxed than you did earlier, a lot more relaxed. Could this be like a reset button for you, coming here for the rest of the year?
DAVIS LOVE III: I think after 24 years you learn to quit trying so hard to get ready for The Masters or playing The Masters, and then you come here and kind of relax. You're right, it's a reset. And I think you get that after every big tournament, whether you play well or not, you just feel like, oh, all right, just go back to the fundamentals again and get back to work.
I realized after Bay Hill how hard I'd been pushing to try to get in The Masters. Sometimes it's hard to stop yourself but this is a good place. Everybody that comes here, they come here for a reason - it's a more relaxed tournament, the rounds are faster, the course is easier to walk. There's a lot of great things about this golf course that when Pete built it, he built it for people to enjoy to play and walk and come here on vacation and enjoy a beautiful place. So it's the same for us. It's a fast walking, fast-paced, fun course to play. Even though it's hard, it's easy to walk. I don't know, the fastest course on Tour, maybe. Especially on the weekends. Guys are flying around early in the mornings.
Anyway, it's a place to relax, and I needed that after the last couple of months.
MARK STEVENS: Davis, if you could real quick go over your birdies, a bogey and an eagle.
DAVIS LOVE III: No. 2, I hit a driver and a 4-iron just in the back fringe, about 30 feet and two-putted.
Like I said, I hit it on the front of the green on 3 and three-putted.
And then driver and a 3-wood to No. 5 to about 30 feet and made it.
And then 13, 3-iron off the tee and a sand wedge, again, maybe 40 feet, a nice putt there.
16, a 3-wood off the tee and a sand wedge from 110 yards or something to about 10 feet.
Then nice up-and-down out of the bunker on 18.
MARK STEVENS: Thank you, Davis, good luck this weekend.

End of FastScripts

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