What they said: Davis Love III

October 17, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: McGladrey Classic transcript archive

JOHN BUSH: We'll get started. We'd like to welcome Davis Love into the interview room. Our tournament host this week at the McGladrey. No rest for the weary. Making your third start since the Ryder Cup, your tournament-hosting duties this week. Just talk a little bit about the week as a whole.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, we're excited about everybody being here. It's neat, this is the second time I've actually come home to the tournament from another event, and it's great to see the billboards and the signs, and I was just driving over -- watching courtesy cars drive around your island. Little things excite us, that there's a golf tournament in our hometown.

So it's great. And every year the tournament gets a little bit bigger and a little bit more well built. Now I notice the little things, and our staff and McGladrey staff and Sea Island staff are doing a great job. So just exciting. It's fun.

I got here at three in the morning Monday morning, right into the Pro Am and came out just excited to play. So it's going to be a fun week for me.

JOHN BUSH: Talk a little bit about your goals over the last couple of tournaments in the year and about your longevity going for 27 straight years in the top 100 on the Money List. Just talk a little bit about your success.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I was thinking about that the other day. I've been in the Top 125 a lot, but I wish I would have been higher a lot of those years as well, and this is one of them. I felt like there were injuries and letting a few tournaments get away from me, a few good starts. Like Vegas. I got off to a good start in Vegas and didn't finish well and had a couple bad patches last week.

I played four rounds with Camilo, and we both figured we both had a bunch of patches in those four days where we felt like either one of us should have done a lot better. And that's kind of where my game is right now, playing some good golf but not getting great results. But I'm happy to be staying competitive and guys talking about how far I'm hitting it or how good I'm hitting and it that's exciting.

JOHN BUSH: We'll go into questions.

Q. You playing Malaysia next week??

DAVIS LOVE III: No. I don't think I got invited. But I am playing Disney and Three Tour Challenge with Nick Watney and Jason Day. I was a last-minute fill-in for that, and I felt like since Nick filled in last minute with me I owed him one. So I'm going to play in that and I'm going to play in the Shark Shootout, and I've got a good partner, a tall partner this year for the father-son. Instead of the short partner I had for three years, he's taller than me now.

And I know Drew loves practicing a lot. So probably be a good competitive tournament this year. So I'm going to be staying busy.

Q. You talked about longevity. Do you think if equipment hadn't changed as much as it has during your career that you would have been in the position you're in now??

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, that's kind of my argument with the USGA. We're all playing with the same stuff, you know. So I'd rather we go back to wooden drivers. I'd still have an advantage.

But no, I think, you know, when we all had wooden drivers and metal spikes that's what was the best stuff and now we're all playing with the same stuff. I think the length, it's amazing to me that everybody is long, you know. I think that might may have hurt me a little bit, that my advantage or Vijay Singh's advantage, Scott Verplank's advantage that we had when we started of being longer than -- not just the long -- I wasn't necessarily always the longest but I was longer than most everybody else and now everybody I play with, I play with Keegan Bradley, it's unbelievable. You don't consider him a long hitter, but he bombs it, you know, and then you play Camilo every once in a while will outdrive me about 20 or 30yards. I'm like, he didn't look like he was going to hit it that far. And Bud Cauley will hit it by you. It's just amazing that everybody -- I haven't really lost a lot -- my long drives are still long. I'm not as long every drive. You know what I mean. They're not all smashed out there. But when I hit a good one and then somebody hits it -- Bubba hit it 40yards by me at Cypress one hole. I hit a 6-iron into the par-5 and he hit a 9-iron.

Everybody is long. So I think that's where I've lost an advantage is -- Jack Lumpkin pointed out one time, he said, you know, you're not meeting up the par-5s like you used to, but everybody else is. He said, you gotta get your par-5 birdie average up because everybody is birdieing the par-5s. Used to be I had an advantage. Birdie three of the four par-5s I would get ahead of the field a little bit. Now everybody does that, and I think that's where I've kind of lost a little bit. And obviously the short game, the harder you work on your short game, I've proven that. The harder you work on your short game, the wedge game, the better it turns out because everybody's hitting it good. So you gotta do the little things.

Q. You said in Las Vegas playing helped keep your mind off the Ryder Cup and you're prone to microanalysis. In the weeks now since the Ryder Cup have you sat and thought about what maybe you would have done differently??

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah. I'm still not sleeping well. You know, I still think about things, and you get to Vegas and then you get to Frys and then you get home or amongst your friends or at the Pro-Am draw party last night 50percent of the people wanted to talk about -- we didn't such a great job with the Ryder Cup. It was so much fun. And you sit there and go if I'd have just put the pin left on 17 on Sunday rather than right, would that have made a difference, you know.

And the order of play and the pairings and all that, you can go over and over and over. Well, they wanted me to play Keegan and Phil on Saturday afternoon, but they didn't want me to put them out first on Sunday. Well, wait a minute. They were playing really good. So you want me to play them Saturday, but you don't want me to play them first on Sunday. Well, that doesn't make sense. So you keep going back and forth on all the arguments. And what I've come down to is we really may have dropped the ball on pin placements on the last few holes because we waited -- we watched all week. We wanted pins on the left, and in the middle of the green because a lot of our guys were drawing it in there. And then the most two important holes in the singles came down to 17 and 18 and we had pins where if you hit it long and left, it was tough to get close to the pins because they were on the right. Should we have thought of that? Maybe.

But I looked at it Saturday, this is what I've been doing for two weeks. I'm going on and on and on. But Saturday they all birdied it because it was on the left. Both teams were stiffing it. The Euros birdied it and I'm standing on 17 tee and they go, where is the pin tomorrow. I said well, it's been here. This must be the wide right one, and I didn't think to myself, well, maybe oughta just leave it over there because we keep birdieing it, you know.

If I could do something over again, it would be more getting guys thinking about how to play singles and where the pins -- maybe the pins needed to be easier or harder. What happened on Sunday, I don't really know, but they were playing great. And they didn't play great on Sunday. So something obviously changed. And is that playing because we were too confident, because we were too far ahead. I don't know. Maybe I should have had Bob Rotella there like Kyle Perry had him sitting there. He wasn't calling Rotella and asking him for advice; he had him in the locker room. Maybe I needed him in the locker room, okay; we're four ahead. What do I do now?

So yeah, we've been playing that game like everybody else. Unless you were there. I've gotten ten times the quote from Teddy Roosevelt the man in the arena; unless you were there sitting in the locker room with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley and them wanting to go where they wanted to go and seeing it happen, it all sounded great the whole week. We just didn't win. And I don't think those -- those guys haven't called to second-guess. They've called to say I had so much fun. I wish we would have won, but it was still a great week. It was the greatest week of my life is what I keep hearing.

Q. Are you surprised about the critical level of analysis that has followed??

DAVIS LOVE III: No, because I went through it with Kite, and I went through it with Lanny. I went through it with hal. As I said 100 times, Hal had a great plan. Davis and Chad and Tiger and Phi were supposed to go kick butt Friday morning and win two matches and get us off to a good start. Well, Davis and Chad and Tiger and Phil played like crap.

It's a great theory. If the first wave that hits the beach kicks everybody's butt, you know, you win the war. But if the first wave fails, you get behind. And we screwed that up. It was a great theory. Nobody said, Hal, this is stupid; don't try it and he said no, no, go do it. We're all like, all right, we're ready. We're going to get 'em, and we didn't win. And we got behind.

So our plan this year was to do something a little different and get ahead after two days and then in singles we would do our usual and play really well and it didn't work. But I am surprised at the back-and-forth of well, you should have done this, should have done that. Well, we put the guys that were hot that wanted to play first out against the guys they wanted to play against. I didn't tell somebody they had to do something different than what they wanted to do. They all went out confident and ready to go. I think it's unfortunate that it didn't work.

We thought Kite was one of the best captains we'd ever played for and he just got hammered for the way he did everything. And Seve, now that he's gone, his team was fighting amongst themselves and they beat us, you know. We were all happy and playing together as a team and we played bad. Tiger and Justin and I played bad, didn't get any points. So it was all Tom's fault. So I understand that. I signed up for that. Team would win, it would all be, you know, bad planning if we didn't win from the captain.

Q. Have you heard anything or read anything that blamed you??


Q. Seriously??

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, it's the order was wrong or you should have played Keegan and Phil on Saturday. Why not do this, why not do that. I don't read them. You know, I don't read a whole lot of it, but you know, something should have been done different. We didn't win. So I accept that. And you know, whoever's next, David Toms, I'm going to say here's what we did. Like Paul told me, here's how it all happened. See what you can do, you know.

Q. Did you just confirm David Toms is the next captain??

DAVIS LOVE III: I'm assuming you got Toms, Furyk, Mickelson, Woods, Leonard. Somebody in there. I would bet Toms.

Q. Would you do it again??

DAVIS LOVE III: I don't know. Immediately after, you know, you get the same thing like Freddie got when he won or Jack Nicklaus, we want you to do it again. I wouldn't change anything about the whole week except for a point and a half. So I don't know. I don't think we could have -- like Mickelson told me on 10 fairway on Saturday morning, we're putting everything we got into this. We can't give you any more. Sit us out.

I don't think we could put any more into it than we did, other than a couple putts lipping out for them and a couple putts lipping in for us and we'd have won.

I loved everything about my team, and I'd hate to say I want to do it again because that team didn't win, you know. I'd do it again because I loved it. I wouldn't do it again just to get a win or just to change the outcome. I've told them this since that day, I'd be assistant captain or Chris Noss's job of doing all the behind-the-scenes work, I'd do that every time just to be on the team because it's fun. It was as much fun for me to assistant to captain as it was to play, and that's saying a lot. So it's a lot of fun to play. I'd love to be in there.

If David Toms is next, I'd be the first guy in line to say I'll do whatever you want me to do to help you. I think that would be a smart way to go is have either future or past captains currently, you know, like Paul Azinger or myself or David Toms or Justin Leonard, guys that just did it, like Tom Lehman and myself for Corey, I think that was great for all of us. You know, current guys that are attached to it a little bit more is a good way to do it.

Q. Is this the hardest part of being the Ryder Cup captain, the afterwards??

DAVIS LOVE III: I would say the picks. I realized about mid week of the Ryder Cup that win or lose I needed to go to Vegas, I needed to get back into the swing of golf so I could talk to people and explain what happened either way and see my friends.

You know, Bill Jones from Sea Island, we were talking about it a couple of times this week, and you know, his situation of being the CEO and now in a different role and my situation, you'll never cease to be the Ryder Cup captain, you know. We'll talk about this forever. We'll have always lost. It'll always have been a great week. It'll always be a huge event in Chicago. It'll always have some special feelings and some sad feelings about it. That'll never go away, so yeah, the hard part is really that the team that we put together that played, we missed that. We've been missing that for two or threeweeks, you know, getting texts and phone calls and seeing Jim at the board meeting, you know, it's like, God, I miss that week.

So the hard part is that it's over, and the nice part is you'll always be the Ryder Cup captain. That team will always be that team, but the hard part is that it's over. And if we'd have won, we'd have still wanted to talk about it and we'd still be excited. So either way, yeah, it'll live on.

Q. Have you got any texts or messages otherwise from anyone on Europe's side??

DAVIS LOVE III: Just from Jose Maria because most of those guys other than like Darren and Thomas, I really don't have their numbers, but no. Talked to a lot of them that evening and late, late that night. I talked to Westwood, but he probably doesn't remember. (Laughs).

But I went and talked to Darren immediately when I got to their team room, and he said, would you have done anything different? What were you all -- what was your all's plan versus what was ours and we talked about that kind of stuff. So we kind of got the hard part out of the way, you know.

Talked to Colsaerts and sent a letter to Lowery. I didn't see Jose Marie that night. He wasn't in the room when I was there. I saw the guys I needed to see, Thomas and Sergio and a bunch of them. We had that conversation.

They went off around the world after that.

Q. You said in Vegas that when you talked to Darren, he said that he would have done things differently but you never got a chance to ask him what he would have done differently.

DAVIS LOVE III: No. I haven't been back to -- you know, that'll be -- that will go on forever. You know, the next time we're together we'll sit around and talk about, well -- but we put the guys we thought were hot that wanted to play your guys that were hot. And he'll say, if you did -- and you will get more in depth into what did Tiger and Strick say, why did they want to go at the end versus in the middle versus -- you know. So we'll do all that internal -- you know, he'll tell me what Poulter said versus I'll tell him what Tiger said. That kind of conversations will go on. We haven't had those yet.

You know, a lot of it that night was kind of weird because it was one of those -- I think like '99 where the only two times I've really seen that the two teams didn't really want to mix a whole lot together was when there were the two big blowouts on Sunday. It wasn't quite as exciting for us to have them come over -- or it wasn't as comfortable for us to go to their room as normal, and I think that really happened in '99. You know, they didn't want any part of us in '99.

So you know, the ladies -- our ladies went over a lot and several of us went kind of back and forth. President Bush 41 went over there and spent some time in their room. No, it was Saturday night he went over there.

But we mixed it up a little bit, but not quite as much because there was obviously a huge elation for them and a huge downer for us, so it didn't quite mix as well.

Q. To change gears, your last policy board meeting and the fact that you run this event, is there any concern after what happened last week with the top guys going to Turkey? Is this a conversation that either the policy board or as a tournament host that you're having?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, obviously McGladrey was interested to hear where guys were. We had some guys hurt, some guys that went overseas that hurt us. But I think I did four terms on the board. There's always something like that. The Race to Dubai was big for a few years, and then back when I was playing some overseas, it was the tournaments in Japan that we were getting releases for and going over there, and everything kind of shifts back and forth.

But no, I mean we understand that we're not going to get a -- unless you're at THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP or the PGA Championship, you're not going to get everybody to play. We've got a better field than we had the first year, not as good as we had the second year, and a little bit of that is injuries. You got Jonathan Lucas hurt. Brandt Snedeker had a baby. We've got a lot of that that lost some of our local guys.

But we expect that. The Grand Slam hurts us a little bit, that being next week. As an organizer of this tournament, the Grand Slam concerns me more than the stuff overseas because there's Bubba and Webb and guys that would probably want to play here. We need to get -- for the benefit of the start of the '13 season it would be nice if we could get the Grand Slam to go back to the Thanksgiving date.

When I played it, it was great. Everybody went for Thanksgiving to Hawaii and it was a lot of fun. Obviously if I win a major next year, it will be a conflict. We want them to have it on Thanksgiving because I wanted to be playing these events.

Q. Is it amazing to you that even now when you get the four major champions together and the prize money is like chump change??

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, they're going to end up going to Turkey rather than the Grand Slam if they're not careful. It's a neat week, but it needs to be its own week, you know, or its own weekend. And move it just a little bit away. A little bit later they'll miss that hurricane that just went through there. We're talking about our date and we're like, maybe we want to be at the end of November. We've been lucky for three years in a row, but maybe if we slide towards the end of -- I don't even know what you're going to call the end of the start of the season in the fall, if we were more towards the end, it might be better for us just in case we got a tropical depression or storm or something.

Q. Does the whole idea of a playoff in Europe concern you because it'll be during the same time period that you'll have your event??

DAVIS LOVE III: I don't know about the playoff in Europe. I haven't heard. Are they changing their system?

Q. They're going to try to do a FedExCup type playoff system starting next year. There's three events and then Dubai being the final.

DAVIS LOVE III: I haven't heard that. And I went off the board Monday evening. But it was not -- that hadn't been a discussion in the last year or two in our board meetings. So I haven't heard that it was a concern.

You know, there's always competition. There's always somewhere else, and I think that's what we've tried to do as a board is try to make the best events we can over here. That's why we drastically changed to the FedExCup season. That's why we drastically changed this year.

Jim Furyk and I -- I can't tell you how many times we sat -- for some reason we sit beside each other at the board meetings. We look at each other and we go, are we actually going to do this. This was the hardest year and a half, two years that I've ever spent on the board, to make this huge fundamental change to the qualifying system, starting the year over again, and Jim and I kept taking our list going, okay, we like this and this and this, so how are we going to make this and this and this to work to fit into that.

This fundamental change was to set it up where all fall season now is going to be very important. If you don't play a few times in our fall, you're going to get way behind in the FedExCup. Guys now, you can see Rory McIlroy, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, the FedExCup is important to them. They're trying hard to win it. So now these seven events at the beginning of the year are going to be important to them because they're going to realize if I go to Hawaii and seven guys have won are ahead of me or five guys have won -- five different winners in the first seven events and a guy's won two and he's way ahead of me, I can't take that. I can't start that far behind. So it's going to really elevate our year around season. And I think that's ten -- I think it was Joe Ogilvie made a great point about two years ago, he said you know every idea Tim comes up with, we challenge it and tweak it but they all worked. He goes this is going to work and I think it's going to work for us and if we lose a few guys to Europe or a few guys to the thing in Turkey the overall picture will definitely work again. I think it's going to be exciting to start over and get going again and make Vegas a big event again.

It was a big event, and I remember Vegas was top of my schedule. You had the Invitationals and you had Vegas and you had Denver because they were big purses and great fields. And you know, I won both of them. They were great events. And I think that's what we need to get back to is that the fall events count a lot more. They're going to have really good fields.

We had a great field here last year obviously. We were worthy of a Masters invitation last year with the field we had. So hopefully we're going to get back to that, but these six, seven eight events in the start of the year are going to mean a lot more.

Q. Do you see any parallels to what you were saying about guys playing in the fall and not wanting to get started in Hawaii, et cetera, to the guys that used to pretty much sit out till Florida??

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, that was our argument, you know, and we need to do something with the fall is because it used to be -- the West Coast didn't count. Greg Norman would say the TOUR doesn't start till Doral. Well now the West Coast you have to play out of there. You can't sit around for eight weeks. You're going to get behind. And I think that's what we're doing now with the fall is you're not going to be able to sit around and wait for a tournament of champions, Kapalua or Sony to pick up your season.

And you see it. Guys balance their season out. Phil might skip the first two in Hawaii, but he plays three or four on the West Coast before he's done. And you're going to have to -- you have to balance it out for the whole year.

But guys will plan accordingly. It's going to be tough after the FedExCup if you're on a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup team and turn around and immediately go to Frys, it's going to be tough. But you might wait a week and go to Vegas or you might play the two in Asia and then play the last two. So you're going to have to balance your schedule throughout the year.

Q. Can you see the West Coast getting hurt by this??

DAVIS LOVE III: I don't think so. I think it's far enough apart. I think the more -- you know, I got my first look at a full schedule in the board book the other day. I'm like, well, there's a block there, then I have a block of time off. Then I have a West Coast block and then I have a spring block. And I think it works really well.

The guys that wanted a break when we did the FedExCup, they're going to get their break, but they're going to have to take the end of -- Thanksgiving through the first of the year is going to be your off season, kind of like actually the old days when the TOUR championship ended in early November. Then you played -- we would play -- they called it the silly season, we'd try to beat Fred at Greg's tournament in the mixed team or something, and then you'd take Thanksgiving and Christmas break and then you'd start back over again. So it's going to be a lot like the way we played before the FedExCup season.

Q. I want to go back to your golf for a minute. What sense of pride do you have in having this run of 26years in this the Top 100? I would think not even Mickelson has done that.

DAVIS LOVE III: There's a lot of it answers to questions, it just means you're getting older, but I've hung in there a long time, and I think Tom Lehman was asked that question at Jonathan Byrd's little Pro-Am last year, what's the secret to your success. And he said perseverance, and I do have -- pride is a good word, too. When I went to Vegas, Scotty Verplank texted me and said pretty good for a ceremonial golfer, but he was saying, you know, I know you're competitive and you just want to go out and play. And I don't like to get beat. Nick and I did not want to get beat by Rickie and Bubba. We played hard to win, and I made eight birdies on Monday here. My Pro-Am team won. When I go to play, I like to play. When I go to goof off, I like to goof off.

But I'm going to play the Shark Shootout so I can get ready for the father-son, and I want to play. And I want to play Disney so I don't take a whole all of November off. So it's important to me to stay competitive and keep after it.

My goal now is I'm off the board, I'm not the Ryder Cup captain. Next year should be great. I should have no distractions. So I'm excited about next season, and Vijay and I played three days last week and talked about we're not going on the Champions Tour. We want to beat these guys. We're not even thinking -- everybody else is asking me and Vijay, when are you going on the Champions Tour, and I'm thinking how do I get as many wins as Vijay. Vijay is thinking how do I get as many wins as Phil. So we want to keep going out here. We're competitive.

Yeah, but it is. It's a sense of pride. But there's a lot of money to play for. I've never won a FedExCup. I'd like to get back in the top -- in the world rankings. I'm still motivated.

Q. What was the worst year that you recall having, or was there ever a time where you wondered whether you were going to be any good the next year??

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I'd have to go back and look. In '94 I think I had -- I was not playing that well. I was still on the Presidents Cup team, but I wasn't playing that well. Actually at Vegas sat down with Brad Faxon and talked about, what am I doing; I'm all confused, and came back and actually played well in the fall, played well at the Presidents Cup and more of the winter and had a pretty good year in '95.

When I got hurt, when I hurt my ankle, I was really concerned because they were telling me you might not come back from this the way you were. But luckily I got through it.

You know, I've had since 2000, 2001 this neck thing has held me back. So you always wonder when are you going to be the Jerry Pate or whoever you're going to be hurt and you're not going to be able to do it anymore. Like I said earlier, I feel it. I used to hit every drive would carry the same distance. Now I can hit one and go I hit that pretty good and get out there and go, wow, it didn't go as far as I thought it was going to go.

I'm at that point now where I can feel the difference, and I hit good solid drives in the fairway and then I get on a par-5 and I can try to crank it back up a little bit more. I can feel the age. But you know, when I go out and play with these guys, I don't feel like I'm missing a whole lot and I still enjoy competing.

Q. You know Jim Furyk quite well obviously. I'm just kind of curious how impressed you are with the way he's been able to bounce back specifically this year over and over and over again after taking several tough losses.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I can tell you what I've told him. This is what my dad would have told him. He was three swings away from probably being like a Player of the Year candidate. He hits the fairway 16 at the U. S. Open. His ball stays in the trees maybe in Akron and he chips out and hits a wedge on the green and he wins that tournament. And then he hits the green at 17 in the Ryder Cup, we win the Ryder Cup. He would have had a hell of a year given three swings over again.

And I think that's -- as competitors we see how close it was to great more than we see how everybody else sees it, well, he screwed those three tournaments up, didn't he. Well, no, Jim Furyk got picked for the Ryder Cup because he was two swings away from winning two big tournaments. He was playing very, very well, consistently well. And he's a tough competitor.

So I think Jim is one of the all-time grinders, gets the most out of his practice sessions, the most out of his rounds, the most out of his game. He does not hit it as far as me in the air and he knows he's limited in some aspects on some golf courses, but he just keeps working hard at it, and I think he's really, really committed to getting the most out of his game every day, and I love that about him. And you know, Stricker was No. Ten in the world when we picked him and he's the same kind of guy. He works really, really hard when he plays. He has a lot of pride in his game. And you know, I just love the way Jim grinds at it. Jim never listens to what people say about his swing or his results. He just keeps going at it and playing hard.

We love that he's playing here. I have a feeling he'll bounce back from the Ryder Cup just like he did everything else. He gave everything he could at the Ryder Cup, and he played better than his results indicated, but I get remembered for bogeying the last two holes at Oakland Hills for losing the U. S. Open. You know, we get remembered for a lot of things. Jim's done a lot of great stuff as well and played a lot of great golf.

Just like the Ryder Cup or just like him at the U. S. Open, you don't get to enjoy the good times unless you screw it up every once in a while in front of everybody, and everybody that's a great basketball player or football player, hockey player, they miss a free throw in a big game, you know, but you gotta miss a few in the big game to hit the winning shot in a big game, too. And Jim loves being there and I think he'll continue to be there for quite a while.

JOHN BUSH: Davis, we appreciate your time. Looking forward to a great week.

DAVIS LOVE III: Thank you.