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July 9, 2010

Davis Love III


DAVIS LOVE III: They've got live scoring, semi-live, so I was watching that and my wife was texting me, and I knew that he had birdied the 14th to go one ahead, and then I kept checking my text messages the first couple holes to see what he was doing. He had a three-shot lead with one to go, I guess, so I felt he could handle it from there.

Q. This is his first big win, right?
DAVIS LOVE III: His first time playing in an AJGA tournament. He actually got an exemption to play in it. The guys from the AJGA, which I played in and I've supported for a long time, they came up to me at TPC, and they said, Why hasn't he played any AJGAs yet? We said, We don't even know how to get him in, but he's not quite ready. They said, sure, he's ready, let him play.
So they gave him an exemption to this one and another one, and then my wife figured out halfway through the round today if he finished in the top 5 then he could get in any of them, and then obviously winning he'll be in the tournament of champions and stuff like that.
It's a big step for him. He played the Western junior last year kind of ahead of what I think is his schedule. I don't want him playing over his head because I don't want to put any pressure on him. So instead of pushing him into things, because he can get in them if I asked, I've kind of been holding back. I think he's ready for just about anything, but he's still raw, raw talent.

Q. Did he surprise you this week?
DAVIS LOVE III: No, he can -- I think he can play like that all the time. He's played just enough this year to get seasoned, you know, in scoring, and he had a good little tournament at home last week. He hits it so far, he should be shooting those kind of scores. If I was really, really critical, I would say he should have been doing this already. He should have been winning at this level. But he's just raw. He's probably like me when I was at his age, hit it all over the place a long way, and if he putts good, he's going to have a chance to win, and if he doesn't, he's an average player, and that's kind of the way I was when I was a junior. If I putted well, I was hard to beat, but Scott Verplank and all those guys out putted me all the time, so I was just another junior behind the Verplanks and guys like that. But I think Drew will be competitive because he's long and he really likes to play. Very competitive.

Q. Is he as long as you at this point?
DAVIS LOVE III: No, not quite. He can hit it as far as me, but he can't consistently hit it as far as me. He's short one day, long the next, long for nine holes, short the next nine. He's a 16-year-old kid that's just growing. But he hits it far enough, and he's got the potential to hit it a long way.

Q. Has he beaten you yet?
DAVIS LOVE III: No, he could beat me, he just hasn't beat me. I always told him growing up I was trying to beat my mom. I never thought about trying to beat my dad. I didn't worry about it that much. I just said, you've got to beat your grandmother first. So when he beat her, that was a big step for him.
I mean, he could. If we played enough together, he would. We just don't get enough -- we had some nine holes here and there, but if we played five rounds, 18 holes one week, he would definitely beat me.

Q. Have you trusted somebody else to teach him?
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, all the Sea Island guys, Todd Anderson, Jack Lumpkin and all them have helped him, but recently my brother has been helping him, which my brother is working a little bit with some guys on the Nationwide Tour, some young guys around home. And I think that's helped him more than anything, because he's got confidence. My brother helped me so much, it's that connection with my dad, and I'm not a teacher, my brother is a teacher, he can teach golf. I can tell you that your swing is screwed up; he can tell you how to fix it, and there's a big difference there.
But he's really helped him, I think, this summer. He's been working with like Chris Kirk on the Nationwide and a few of those guys, and I think that's really helped Drew to have somebody -- instead of dad coaching him -- I help him with the mental side of it and what he needs to practice, how he needs to practice. But no, I don't -- I told him one time, you've just got to get a little closer to it, a little closer to it, and then he went out, and Todd Anderson goes, "Why are you standing so close to it?" He said, "Because my dad told me to." He said, "Well, don't listen to your dad."
I stay out of it as much as I can, but I try to coach him. After the first round, he was right near the lead, and he said, "I'm so nervous; what do I do?" And I just helped him with his mental stuff. If I keep reminding him of that -- and I've got guys on this TOUR and on other tours that I pass the Bob Rotella stuff onto, as well, so he knows he has to do that. That's the thing he's going to get better at is how to play. He can hit a golf ball, he just needs to learn how to play.

Q. Is it good for you to see him play or does it add pressure when you're trying to play well and worry about how he's doing?
DAVIS LOVE III: It's hard for me to watch him. I watched him nine holes last week, my mom and I. We left because we felt like it was a distraction to him and people were talking to me. It's hard. I watched one match this year, a high school tournament, with binoculars, and he didn't even know I was there. We played a practice round there, and I said, "I'm going hunting," and I did go hunting, but I came back, snuck in and watched him with binoculars. That way I can watch him to see how he plays without anybody, any parents watching.
But his grandfather has been great for him. He takes him to just about every tournament for us, my wife's dad.

Q. What's his name?
DAVIS LOVE III: Charlie Baxter. He's really the one that gets him to his tournaments, because I'm always gone, my wife is like -- like last week my wife was at a horse show with my daughter, and my father-in-law took him to the tournament. But for this one they were all there watching. Very exciting. I've got to go call him.

End of FastScripts

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