Davis Love III Interview - Target World Challenge
BY iseekgolf.com | US PGA Tour | 2003 Target World Challenge | Final Round | 15 Dec 2003
Davis Love III: I hung in there. I was really playing good in the worst of the weather. I missed a little putt at seven and it just infuriated me, that I’d ground it out that hard through all the bad weather and hit so many good shots, and then missed that little putt, and then missed one a nine as well, so I was a little bit frustrated making the turn. I hit a few loose shots at 10 and 12, just trying all of a sudden to play conservatively and just get back and hit fairways and greens. That didn’t work, so then I had to turn back around and start trying to make birdies again coming down the stretch just to get a cushion and I finally got one at 16. It was fun competing. It was fun, rather than to have a six or seven shot lead and just hang on, it was fun competing. It was a difficult day. A lot of you were all walking around out there wet, and it was hard to control the ball and then it quit raining, but it got cold. My hands got cold and the ball didn’t want to go anywhere. It was a trying day. Tiger certainly proved that if he’s not swinging good, when it comes to crunch time, he can shoot the best round of the week even in the worst conditions. He shot a heck of a round of golf.
Q: Did you get nervous out there at all? And if so, at what point?
Davis Love III: Thursday. But, I’m always nervous. I’m always excited and nervous. In a tournament at this, when there are only 16 players, it’s almost like the first day it’s more nerve-wracking than a regular tournament, because you know that every birdie moves you up and every bogey … it’s such a tight race all the way. I was nervous the whole week. Today, I was very calm starting off. I hit really great shots. I hit a great 3-iron into two, made a nice putt at three, and a good save at four, and some good shots at five and six and seven and eight. I hit a lot of good shots, and I was very calm, but I felt like every shot was important. I missed those two little putts at seven and nine, and felt like I was letting somebody back in the tournament. At the time, I didn’t know who it was. Like what happened. I go and make a double at 12 again and there’s a golf tournament. But I could have made a double at 12 if I’d made those two little putts. Then the double wouldn’t have been bad, and it wouldn’t have put me to where I only had a one shot lead.
Q: When did you know it was Tiger you let back in?
Davis Love III: I guess when I left the ninth green, I guess he was through 14, so he had gotten to eight. It was maybe on 13 when he birdied 16, we were playing 13 when he birdied 16, so I knew that he was either going to be eight, nine, or 10 finishing. 18 was playing hard, but Vijay had birdied it. You don’t really expect to make a birdie on 18, so I figured he’d (Tiger) be at either nine or 10.
Q: Did it ever bother your nerves at all to know that you know that you were with KJ and were 7 strokes clear, and then all of a sudden you’re down to one or two. Does that ever grab you at all?
Davis Love III: Yeah, it grabbed me pretty good after I didn’t birdie 13. I got 15 and 16, which are tricky holes, especially when it’s cold. You can’t just hit, like we’d been doing, a 1-iron or a 3-wood and a 4-iron on the green. It’s a little disconcerting that when you know that you have built a huge lead and made a couple of little mistakes and all of a sudden it’s gone. Tiger birdied five in a row right when I was making a double bogey. So a seven shot swing in just that stretch of holes, although I made a birdie, so maybe a six shot swing.
Q: When you hit your wedge on 16, and got up for the putt, I guess it was about 45 feet up the ridge, were you thinking make or thinking two-putt and get to the next one?
Davis Love III: No, I was trying to make it. I wouldn’t say that I felt like I was 100% sure I was going to make it when I was standing over it, but trying to make it, reading it to make it, and like (inaudible) always says, putt to make every putt. I missed a couple short ones, but I got lucky and that one went in. But I hit some good putts, some good long putts and didn’t get the speed, and that one I got just right. I was frustrated because if I’d hit the wedge right at the hole, it wouldn’t have hit on that hill and sunk back as much. It would have been OK. It would have been a 20-footer at the worst. It’s still a birdie putt and I was still trying to make it when I hit it. When it got up there about 10 feet away, I knew it was in and I was very excited that I wasn’t going to have to have a second putt, and that I’d built up a 2-shot cushion.
Q: It seemed that today it was playing a lot longer than it had been.
Davis Love III: Yeah. Today was harder than Thursday just because you had the length, and the cold and the wet and muddy golf balls, and then you had the rain. Doug said that it didn’t look like it was raining so hard, but everything was getting so wet. That was my brother Mark’s worst nightmare. He doesn’t want a rainy day. He caddies two tournaments a year … he doesn’t want any rain. That’s a hard thing to handle for a caddie. You have to juggle the umbrella and the pin and the clubs and the balls and the towels. When it starts coming down hard like that, when you’re the caddie, you’re hoping they’re going to blow the siren and let you regroup!! Together we managed to keep everything dry and keep going. We probably played a little slower than we should have. It was a very, very difficult day. I mean, you saw KJ … KJ wasn’t playing awful, he just hit them fat from the middle of the fairway because it’s so soggy and the ball doesn’t go anywhere, and the next thing you know, you’re bogeying every hole. Until it quit raining and the sun came out a little bit, he didn’t really have a good hole and it was a struggle. 72 is a good score and Tiger’s score was pretty incredible.
Q: In 2000, when you won this, it turned out to be a nice springboard for 2001. What is this?
Davis Love III: Well, I think it’s a continuation of a good year. I made some strides in my game this year. Certainly over 2001 and 2002. My start of 2001 was pretty good, and then I just didn’t really do much with it. I think that this year, I’ve met my goal of trying to compete every week and be ready to play every week. Even though I’ve had two weeks off, I came out here to play to win, not just to show up and collect a little money and go snowboarding. I came to win and I worked hard to win. You watched all of us play. We all screwed up a lot of times. I came to play to win and overlook the mistakes and the rust and came out on top. I think it’s just a continuation of what I’ve tried to do all year, and hopefully for next year, I can work a little harder and be a little more consistent and not sit back and say I’ve got it now. Keep working hard.
Q: What’s it like to win a tournament like this? Unofficial?
Davis Love III: It’s a different feeling, obviously, because it’s not world ranking points and it’s not official money. But the guys that aren’t in this tournament or who are just out are wishing they were in, and the guys who are playing are wishing they could win. Tiger is going to give his money away like he usually does, I assume. What’s his motivation to shoot 65 today? It’s because we want to win. We don’t want to lose. If you come and show up, you want to play to win. Does it feel like the Player’s Championship or Hilton Head or Denver? Not really, but it’s still very exciting and you still get just as nervous. It’s like comparing coming down the stretch of the President’s Cup or the Ryder Cup. Which one is more intense? I couldn’t tell you much difference when I was out there on 17 at the President’s Cup. I was nervous as a cat. I didn’t handle it real well on 18. This doesn’t help me get over that. You still get nervous, no matter what the tournament is. Your pride’s on the line and there are people watching on TV and people watching in the gallery and they’re pulling for you and pulling against you and you want to win. The difference between the Masters and the Players Championship is a fine, fine line. But you want to win and that’s the main thing.
Source – ASAP Sports