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May 22, 2009

Brian Davis


JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Brian Davis into the interview room here at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. Brian, a 5-under par 65, quite a round today. Got off to a little bumpy start, but if we can just get your comments.
BRIAN DAVIS: No, another good day, and as you said, a bumpy start. My caddie made a mistake (laughing). It couldn't possibly have been me. We battled back, and very happy at 5-under.
JOHN BUSH: A comment on that back nine, 4-under par-31 including three birdies in a row starting at No. 4.
BRIAN DAVIS: Yeah, I could have had a couple more on the back nine, as well. It could have been really low. But any time I'll take 65. It's early in the week, so two more rounds to go.

Q. What happened on the double on 12?
BRIAN DAVIS: Hit it left in the rough, behind the trees, hacked it out, short right bunker, played it out to about five feet and three-putted. It wasn't the caddie's fault, I was just messing with you (laughter).

Q. You've played really well for a while here. Does it carry over? Can you actually streak? Are you really feeling it?
BRIAN DAVIS: It's weird because this is the first time I've been fit for a few years, and I've been able to do a lot of stuff on my game and practice a lot more and focus mentally on what I want to do rather than how I'm going to feel in the morning. It's been really good in that respect. It took me a little while to get going. I was a little bit frustrated, then I had a couple top 20 finishes, just I could see it coming, and then I missed another couple of cuts and it wasn't there, and then came back again and missed the cut at Hilton Head.
New Orleans I saw it come back, and then I made a couple cuts, finished top 20 and started the roll.

Q. What's been going on with you health-wise?
BRIAN DAVIS: Just I had surgery a couple years ago to remove a benign tumor on my side, and I came back too early, made compensations with my swing. That went on for about six months to a year. And then I had two herniated disks because of the bad swings I was making, and just one thing led to another and my body broke down and then I had to sort of rebuild my swing around what my body was allowing me to do, which took time.
I do play a lot, so obviously that makes another reason why it obviously took so long.

Q. What did you do rehabilitation-wise? Like you said, it's hard to do.
BRIAN DAVIS: Trying to sleep good, stretches. That's all you can really do. There's nothing else you can do. I was fortunate not to need surgery, so that's a good thing. It just takes time.

Q. Did you realize what you were doing to yourself after the surgery, or did it take a while?
BRIAN DAVIS: I didn't really know until I actually got fit, what a mistake it was. It's one of those things, I wasn't exempt, and it was a case of I could still play. Us golfers, we don't like to lay down, and it's one of them things where I could still play even though it limited me to what I could actually do. I tried to sort of play through it, and one thing led to another, and it sort of had a negative effect on me mentally in the end because I had to play in a negative manner for a couple of years really because I couldn't hit the shots I wanted to hit.
You know, it just sort of saps your confidence, so you're not playing with your full aggressiveness, if you like.

Q. You overcame a double bogey, James overcame one, too. When you're playing in a group with somebody that's playing that well, do you feed off each other?
BRIAN DAVIS: No, we did. Obviously he got off to a tough start and doubled the first, and then hung around and made some birdies on the back nine, so it was nice for him. It's always good to play with someone who's playing well. At the end of the day it doesn't really matter, but it's not going to hurt you, certainly.

Q. Do you feel like a different person the last couple weeks, just that you have finally kicked it into gear?
BRIAN DAVIS: Yeah, I felt like a different person physically since Christmas. That's been the biggest thing. But obviously mentally I have not been right there because my performances have still been lacking. It was still hard to break through, but then as I said, I noticed it in New Orleans start to turn around. I'm enjoying my time at the moment, although I'm probably playing too much right now. My agent and my coach and everybody are telling me to take a week off, and I'm like, well, I'll take a week off when I'm playing bad.

Q. How much is your play affected by wanting to be on both Tours and fulfill those --
BRIAN DAVIS: I actually quit European Tour two years ago due to family reasons. My second child was suffering with kidney problems, and he was -- we have a doctor in Orlando and he kept getting infections, and we didn't really want to take him away back to Europe for like four months because health care is a little bit different over there. I just wanted to stay near the Arnold Palmer Hospital. My number one concern was him, and it just so happened that I couldn't go and play both tours. I'd like to once I get back inside the top 50 in the world, then I'd love to pick it up again. But at the moment it's not an option.

Q. That's what you used to do, right?
BRIAN DAVIS: Well, I did it my first two years and then I quit in the second year because of that. But I just slipped outside the top 50, as well, and I tried to play both tours without being inside the top 50, and it nearly killed me. It's a lot of golf and a lot of traveling.

Q. You said they're bugging you about taking a week off. Are you playing next week?
BRIAN DAVIS: Oh, yeah, and Memorial. It's one of them things, I've got any schedule set because I'm not in Colonial, I'm not in Memorial because I didn't qualify last year and I'm a little bit outside, so got to play San Antonio, Byron Nelson. And then I got in those two, and I love Colonial tournament and Memorial. Unfortunately St. Jude is probably going to be the one that's going to miss out.

Q. I was going to say, are you going to play St. Jude on the way to the Open?
BRIAN DAVIS: No, and the qualifying, as well, on the Monday. So I've decided that St. Jude is probably going to have to take a rest. I think I'll be like eight or nine in a row, so I'll be done by then.

Q. Are you in the Open?
BRIAN DAVIS: Not yet, no. I'm not doing the qualifying on Monday. I made a commitment earlier in the year to Colonial, to play their tournament, and I play their Monday pro-am with the tournament director, and I said I would stick to that commitment regardless of what happened.
Now, obviously weather permitting, it looks a bit dicey for the weekend here, so I don't know what's going to happen with the British Open qualifying and the Monday pro-am, as well, but I made that commitment and I'll stick by it. The way I look at it, if I make it in through qualifying or top 50 in the world then I'll take it. I've been out here long enough now that you can't keep chasing qualifiers and tournaments when you're playing every week. Again, if I was having a few weeks off in between that nine-week run, then I probably would do all the qualifyings.
But I love it over here, and my main concern right now is playing well on the PGA TOUR.

Q. Are you in the U.S. Open?

Q. So you'd have to do that qualifying and the British Open qualifying?
BRIAN DAVIS: Yeah, but I'm not doing the British Open one.

Q. So you're just going to let the chips fall, and if you get there, you get there?
BRIAN DAVIS: If I get there, I get there. I did the same last year, and although I didn't play well enough to get in those events, it actually helped me plan my schedule and plan -- as I said, I play a lot, so if you're making all the cuts, as well, you finish up Sunday, you've got 36 holes on Monday, probably fly somewhere, then you've got practice round, pro-am, play that tournament, and then the 36 on the Monday really kills you. So I've decided -- I made that commitment to Colonial earlier in the year so I'm sticking by that, but as I said, St. Jude will probably miss out because I don't think I can go there.

Q. Growing up, was Turnberry a place that you played a lot?
BRIAN DAVIS: I've never actually played Turnberry, believe it or not. I've played a lot of links golf and obviously British Opens, as well, and I've played Carnoustie and St. Andrews more than I can think in British Opens and obviously the Dunhill Links Championship which we have on the European Tour. So they're two of the courses I'm familiar with. Obviously I did well at Sandwich a few years back, finished fifth.
But overall, yes, obviously I want to play the British Open, so I will try and -- I think AT&T and John Deere have Top 5 finishers get in, so if I can do that, it would be great. Or if I finish top 50 in the world by the cutoff point, which would be great.
But the main thing is I made my commitment, I made my schedule and I'm sticking to it.
JOHN BUSH: Any of the seven birdies stand out today?
BRIAN DAVIS: A lot of them, really, just good iron shots. The birdies I made, I hit it in pretty close.
Around here there's so many different sections to the greens that you can only be slightly off of an iron shot and all of a sudden you've got 30 feet up and down a slope. All the birdies today I hit good shots, got it in the right section and were pretty close, and I was obviously able to make birdies.
JOHN BUSH: Thanks for coming by. Play well this weekend.

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