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June 6, 2009
DOUG MILNE: Okay, Davis. Thanks for join us for a few minutes after a successful round three with a nice, very nice touch at the end. Just a few comments on I guess, this is probably your 19th or 20th Memorial Tournament. Obviously a big event on your calendar. Just tell us, as you're heading into the final round, at least now just one shot off the lead.
DAVIS LOVE III: Now when I get to tournaments like this and they say 19 or 20, I go why did I miss two or three of them? Tournaments like Hilton Head, they tell me I've played 24 in a row or something like that.
Yeah, I love coming here. The only reason I've missed is either injuries or I think I missed because of some friend's wedding one time maybe.
Anyway, yeah, I played well the last three days. I've had an up and down roller coaster three days like everybody else. You get some good shots, and they don't turn out good, and you hit some bad shots, and they really turn out bad. You can make a bogey real quick. I've been up and down.
But I've putted real well, and obviously today I chipped real well. I chipped in twice and putted one in from the fringe. So it was a good solid day of scoring.
I could have hit it better, but it's tricky out there. If you miss just by a little bit, like I said, you can get in trouble.
Q. What do you have to do tomorrow to keep from having to play on Monday?
DAVIS LOVE III: I just was informed out there that, if I won, I wouldn't have to.
Q. Oh, that's all? All you have to do is win?
DAVIS LOVE III: All you've got to do is win. So that makes it easier. By saying you finish in the top five or top ten or whatever because that's why I'm here is to play to win.
You know, I think a lot of times I've been playing for top 50s or making teams and stuff, and it's gotten in my way. But I did say that I was going to play this week and do everything I could to play well this week and then let whatever happens on Monday happen.
I think last year here I spent so much time going back and forth to the other courses and preparing myself to play the Open qualifying and mentally thinking about Open qualifying that it affected the way I played here. This is obviously a tournament I haven't won.
So I decided -- made a commitment this week that I was just going to work on my tournament week and not -- you know, I've talked about the courses, and Joe's looked at the one we haven't played. But I'm not racing over there every afternoon and playing and, you know, worrying about what's going to happen over there.
I think I messed myself up because I putted over there so much, the other two courses, that I didn't putt well on this course. Now I putted great in the qualifier, but I didn't putt good here. So I've just been trying to hang around here and take care of Monday on Monday.
Q. When you think of the Memorial Tournament as a whole, what does it mean to you to come out here and play a round of golf like you did?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, you know, it's one of our many Majors, if you want to call it like that. It's an invitational and a special event. Jack does such a -- I talked to him about the greens in the locker room the other day. The greens, if anybody has a complaint, they're too fast. They're too perfect.
They do such a great job from when you step out of your car until you finish playing your round of golf, everybody is trying to make this the best tournament on tour, the best they can. It's reflected in the field, and the thrill guys get from winning it. Like I said, it's one that I want to win before I'm done. Just keep grinding on it.
Q. Was it just lack of wind today -- there's a lot of -- not a lot, but a lot more low scores than there were the first two days.
DAVIS LOVE III: I think it wasn't quite as tricky today. I know a lot of guys -- I played a good round yesterday. I didn't struggle as much as some of the guys did in the afternoon yesterday. But you could tell by the scores that most of the good scores were in the morning, and it was a little tough in the afternoon.
You know, less people on the greens too today. I mean, they're super nice. Like I missed that putt at 17. I'm like how can you miss? The green's perfect. Little bit of a mis-hit and it doesn't go in, you just expect every one of them to go in.
Yeah, you know, this course is generous off the tee on most holes. If you drive it well and you hit the ball underneath the hole and the greens are perfect, you can make some birdies. You start missing a few fairways and you start hitting it past a few pins and miss a few greens, it all of a sudden, you know, it's hard to make pars. That's why I think you see one guy 6 under and the next guy 6 over. It can go either way.
I've always felt like that here. When you're playing well, the course seems -- you know, it seems like you can play it. When you're playing bad, it seems really, really hard. Like Luke, 8 under and then 4 over. Then, you know, he scrambled around today for even like I did. He was kind of scrambling all day. If you're not right on, it plays really, really tough.
Jack's made it a little bit longer and bunkers a little bit deeper. It's tough if you're not hitting it good.
Q. Chipping in twice in one day, how unusual would you say that is?
DAVIS LOVE III: For me or for Phil?
Q. No, just for you.
DAVIS LOVE III: Or as we were talking yesterday when we saw Phil's commercial, wondering if Paul Runyan is the greatest short game player ever.
And a funny thing that Paul always said -- and my dad claimed it was true. He got more -- he chipped in more than he did not get up and down in his prime. So it was funny that we were talking about that yesterday, and then I chipped in twice today.
But I had some straight-in ones that were pretty straightforward that I did chip in. But I was positive. Like I said, Joe said, hey, you're chipping great. You might chip that in. Instead of thinking about, oh, gosh, I hope I get this up and down and I can finish at 6 under. I don't want to hit it by because this green's fast. Luke said, you want the pin? I said, yeah, I want it out. So I was thinking about chipping it in.
Now, that doesn't always work, but it did on 12, and it did on 14, and it did on 18. Hopefully, tomorrow I'll think that on all my chips. But I haven't been hitting a lot of balls. I've been spending a lot of time around the putting green getting used to that fringe. It's weird. It goes from puttable to a little bit tangly right off the green. So I've been spending some time with it. Anyway, lucky too. You have to get lucky for them to go in.
Q. So you can't recall the last time you did this twice? Or could you?
DAVIS LOVE III: I've done it a fair amount but not like in the last month or two.
Q. Davis, do you have a number for tomorrow that you're thinking of already, or is it too soon?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I'd like to have Geoff Ogilvy's 63. That would be plenty good. But, no, you don't know. You don't know what everybody else is going to do. You've just got to try to play the golf course and birdie every hole and just be patient, see what happens. You never know. I've had good front nines and good back nines and just don't know what's going to happen.
Q. Apologize for not pulling your record before I walked in, but what was the best shot you had at winning this thing if you recall being in the hunt on a Sunday anywhere over all those? What was it, 17 times?
DAVIS LOVE III: I've been close a few times, but I don't think anything great.
Q. Any theorys on why you've not knocked this one off?
DAVIS LOVE III: No. I don't have any theorys.
DOUG MILNE: Didn't play your best.
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, I haven't played well.
Q. That's a good theory.
DAVIS LOVE III: I don't know. It just seemed like it would be a good course for me. I've played well on Nicklaus courses, and I just haven't gotten it done.
Q. You mentioned outside not looking at scoreboards working with Bob. How's your thinking these days? Are you happy with where you are?
DAVIS LOVE III: I'm having to work on it all the time. He spent a lot of time with me this week just trying to get me back to basics. All it is is doing what I did in '87 and '97, just trying to do it now. It's the same old stuff. It never changes. It's just a matter of doing it.
And you know, you want it too bad, or you're trying too hard. It's easy to go out -- it would be easy for me to go out and hit four bags of range balls trying to perfect my swing because that would feel like I worked hard at it. What I've got to do is get my mental game, you know, better. I think I've done a good job of that this week. You know, being patient. When I hit a couple good shots and made bogey at 9 with a three-putt and screwed up 11, then miss a green at 12, instead of thinking, oh, gosh, here it goes again, I'm in trouble. I almost chipped it in on 12, and that gave me enough confidence to finish the rest of the round. You know, just hang in there.
So it's more of a mental exercise for me now. Why I played real well on Monday of the Monday in between the Texas tournaments and the qualifier and I didn't play any good, or one round in six in Texas other than that day, I don't know. It's got to be mental. I'm not hitting it bad on the range, and I'm not -- you know, I'm rolling the balance real well. It's just getting my head around the game and hanging in there.
Tomorrow will be fun because it will be -- I know what I have to do. It will be a challenge, and I just have to go out there and do my best mentally. If I do that, I know I can compete. If I don't do well mentally, I know I can't compete.
Q. Haven't you had stretches in your career where your chipping's been on? You chipped in on the players in eight one time.
DAVIS LOVE III: When I'm playing well, I think that's why a lot of times I kind of run away -- when I do get ahead, that time at Greensboro, it was a terrible day. I started making birdies and missed greens, and I thought I'd chip it in, and I would chip it in. Both time I won the players, I got way ahead because, when I'm -- Rotella always said, if I can get you close to the leader in the lead, I know you'll do a great job. My problem is getting through. You're a slow starter.
So I think the closer I guess -- like today, coming down the last hole. Joe's helping me, but I'm trying to chip that ball in on the last hole. I'm trying to hit the 6 iron in there close. I'm trying to make birdies. I'm trying to hit every shot good.
When I am playing well, that's what I do. And my mom always says you can tell when I'm locked in and focused and when I'm not. But it is. It's just the same old thing.
If I'm thinking chip it in, I'm getting them up and down. I'm thinking, oh, my gosh, just get it on the green. It's a bad lie.
Q. So it's mental as opposed to you've spent extra time working on your short game?
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah. It's more than mental.
Q. Do you have any unique New York moments from Bethpage the last time around? Anecdotes and stuff that stick in your head that happen to you directly? Maybe something you saw, something you heard at what's been, I guess, roundly considered the loudest, most raw cuss U.S. Open ever?
DAVIS LOVE III: Somebody else asked me that. I don't remember much about it. I wasn't in the mix that much. I enjoy the golf course. I was wet. That's what I remember. Kept getting wet.
Q. When players like yourself and like a Corey Pavin, with the rich history you guys have, when you guys get near the top, do you feel like an extra pull from the crowd? Like maybe it takes some of the thunder away from the other guys?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, certainly I get a lot of support. One guy today said do it for us old guys. Who's us?
Q. Speak for yourself.
DAVIS LOVE III: I get a lot of support. That's for sure. Because I've been -- you know, around here 19 times or so. I have a lot of people who remember my face, remember my name, and give me a lot of support. So that's nice. It always helps me. I'm sure it doesn't hurt. You don't want to hurt another guy's playing good, but it's nice to have support for sure.
Q. Do they remember you even with that haircut?
DAVIS LOVE III: I don't take my hat off much.
Q. Being one of the old guys, is one of the frustrations the mental still isn't -- it's still the hardest part of the game? You play so long, and you never really conquer that totally?
DAVIS LOVE III: That's what I ask Bob all the time. Why? Why do I know how to do it and I just can't do it? He goes, that's the challenge, you know. He has athletes from every other sport. I mean, the top athletes in every sport, and we all go through the exact same things. Doesn't matter if it's LeBron James or top field goal kickers or hockey players or anybody. We're all doing the same thing. Just a little bit of doubt.
Just not being able to turn -- you can't turn your brain off. You can't put it in neutral. That's the hardest thing is to just go play. Why did Geoff Ogilvy all of a sudden make whatever he made, nine or ten birdies today? He was not playing that good apparently by his score. Then all of a sudden, what clicks? It's the chicken or the egg. How do you get the confidence and how do you get on a roll? Then why, when you get on a roll, can't you stay there?
Then we all look at Tiger and go, okay now. How does he do it? We don't sit there and analyze his golf swing, you know. We don't want to copy his golf swing or his putting stroke. It's just we know he's better mentally.
Same thing as Jack. Every time I'm around Jack. I played with him at Seminole, and I was trying to extract just one little bit out of him. How did he do it mentally? You know he was stronger mentally than everybody else? You learn little tricks from him, but that's the difference, I think, between the top players and the guys that can stay on a roll. Just something different mentally. They're wired a little different.
Q. I was going to say is that the conclusion you ultimately draw? Just genetics? Are they just different?
DAVIS LOVE III: They're definitely different. We were watching Kite and Crenshaw on TV yesterday in the locker room while we were eating. Two completely different personalities with the same teacher going at it completely different ways. You have to figure out what works for you. You know, I've tried going more towards the hard work, grind it out, do this and this and this and this and this every day, day after day. That doesn't work for me. Then I start trying harder when I get to the golf course.
Then I go too far the other way, not practicing enough. So you've got to find what works for you, and that's what bob's really good at is, look, just do this and this and go have fun. You know how to play golf. It is frustrating. But that's what's exciting about it.
I know, if I can get better at it, I can keep playing out here even though that guy in the gallery thinks I'm old or Yang thinks I'm old. He did realize I outdrove him on every hole.
Q. Davis, how long has this been going on? Did it start later in your career? This little bit of doubt that you mentioned. When did that start?
DAVIS LOVE III: I think when I was old enough to keep score. I think everybody has that. My 15-year-old son, if he is 3 under at any point in the round, he starts thinking about shooting in the 60s, and that's his only problem with his golf game is that he loves shooting in the 60s.
When it gets to where he's in the 60s, then he starts thinking about it. And so it starts as soon as you start keeping score. As soon as you start trying to improve. You know that I've never broken 80 before, and all I've got to do is par the last three holes, and that's what we deal with. It doesn't matter if we're shooting 60 or 70 or 80 or 90, we're all dealing with that same -- you know, letting the score, as Vinnie Giles always said, pencil in your pocket get in the way of just playing the game.
You know, Rotella, Faxon, all my guys that we talk about it, it just comes down to thinking results and not just playing the game.
Q. Davis, didn't you have to win at New Orleans one year in order to get into the Masters?
DAVIS LOVE III: Yes.
Q. And that was in '95, wasn't it?
DAVIS LOVE III: Right.
Q. You did win?
DAVIS LOVE III: Didn't have a Monday qualifier to back me up. At least I got a shot.
Q. There was no plan B for that one.
Q. Was it a mindset of, okay, have to make a par putt or something. I have to do this in order to get in the tournament. And you made up your mind that you were.
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah. And I had been playing well -- I've had several chances playing at Houston and whatever trying to get in the Masters and haven't done it. But I was playing really well. Like I had a lot of chances leading up to that that I could have won, and that just happened to finish it off that week.
Honestly, I didn't know until outside that they had two wins since the last U.S. Open be thing. Maybe they don't count fall events like the Masters does. I'm going to do my best tomorrow. I want to play for this tournament, and then whatever happens, like I said, I've got Monday.
Q. Davis, not wanting to put any doubt in your mind, know that you're going to be playing in one of the final groups in Jack's tournament, are you already starting to feel a little bit of butterflies?
DAVIS LOVE III: Not really. I've been around long enough. I've played in a lot of last groups. I'm excited about it. I putted better, I think every day this week. So I'm excited about the way I'm playing.
You know, I haven't been in the hunt a lot lately, but I've been playing a lot of golf lately, and I've been feeling like I'm playing pretty good. I'm excited about it?
Q. Do you like that feeling of being in the final round?
DAVIS LOVE III: Oh, yeah, that's why I'm here.
DOUG MILNE: Let's go over some of your birdies, an eagle. Just give us some clubs.
DAVIS LOVE III: I filled out my yellow card. I'm the only one that does it. They laugh at me when I turn it in.
5, I hit a 3 wood off the tee and a 4 iron on the front of the green, two-putted.
7 hit a driver and a hybrid just in the front fringe. And made a great putt because it was one you could leave it 5 feet short or 20 feet to that pin.
8 iron to about six feet at 8.
9, like I said, I hit a pretty good 9 iron 45 feet behind the hole. It was really, really fast. I knocked it by and missed it coming back.
11 just made a mess. Hit an 8 iron in the rough, then a wedge over the green. My third. And then putted it off the front and then chipped it up about six feet and made it for bogey.
13, hit it long and left and chipped it up about with a 6 iron, about six or seven feet, missed it. And then 14, spun it off the front of the green with a sand wedge and chipped it in from 20 feet, 25 feet maybe.
And then a driver and a 3 iron to the back of the green, hit a good putt but it was flying. Hit the hole and stopped it from going way by. Made about a three footer for a birdie there.
17, a 3 wood through the fairway and the rough. And then a pitching wedge popped over the green and chipped it down there six feet and missed it. And then 3 iron, 6 iron roll back off the front, chipped in on the last 30 feet.
DOUG MILNE: Davis, great playing. Thanks for your time.
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