Read Davis’ Interview Following Wyndham Win
DOUG MILNE: I’d like to welcome the 2015 Wyndham Championship Winner, Davis Love, III. Davis, congratulations on your 21st career PGA TOUR win and 3rd Wyndham Championship title, jumped to 76 in the FedExCup Standings, through at least the Deutsche Bank Championship you’re set. I think one of the biggest story lines I picked up on was your putting this week. You were awfully happy with your putting and then turn it over to you for a few comments.
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah. Putting is the key on this Tour or any Tour and I putted very well this week and, you know, Doug just said, this gets me through all the way through the Deutsche Bank but I really had been playing not really for points or for positions, I’ve been trying to get my game back because I felt like, you know, through a couple of setbacks of surgeries I’ve been slowed down and I’ve been working hard trying to get my game back and, in fact, I got a group text from Larry Moody, our Tour chaplain — I could tell — I got a text but I could tell it was a copy and paste kind of group thing that he had been doing because it said, “I know this week means so much to you guys for your future next year.”
So he sent this same text to the guys that were on the bubble that they needed to play well this week to get to keep their card. I said well I’m so blessed that I don’t have to play well this week to keep my card because I will still — I can go to Dick’s next week or I can play starting at Frys and McGladrey in Mexico.
Larry really pointed out how incredibly blessed I’ve been in my career that this week didn’t determine my job but I could just go out and play and have fun.
As I’ve said several times this week practicing some with Tiger, Jack Lumpkin and Bob Rotella working with my own putting. My putting really came around, actually at the PGA, which didn’t show by my scores.
I gained some confidence in it and then I putted really well this week and the putter really saved me some par putts and obviously you got to make a bunch of birdies to win here. I made a bunch of those, too.
MEDIA QUESTION: Davis, you kind of touched on this the other day, going through the injuries the last few years, was there ever a moment when you had to guess and wonder if you could ever compete out here again?
DAVIS LOVE III: I withdrew from Tiger’s tournament after he had given me an exemption and I just felt like I wasn’t making progress, you know, I was disappointed that I hadn’t played well and I was disappointed that my foot still hurt and I went home and my doctor said, “Look, it’s going to hurt and you just keep doing what you’re doing, keep working on it and I promise you there’s nothing wrong with it.” Did another MRI and just keep after that.
That gave me the confidence to go back to the range and work on my game and try to get ready for the PGA and this week — and obviously the PGA didn’t work out but this week worked out.
I had some doubts when I thought it’s just not the — the neck surgery went pretty smoothly, this one went smoothly but the rehab didn’t come around as fast as I wanted. You just wonder, you know, is the body going to wear out. I’ve seen it with a lot of great players in my day, the only thing that stopped them was their body wearing out.
I’m very fortunate I bounced back from this and honestly not only did the putter feel great this week I really felt great this week. I didn’t really have an issue, sure my foot is going to hurt probably the rest of my life but it’s not going to stop me from playing. It’s getting better and better.
MEDIA QUESTION: Davis, after you were finished you went down to the range and just kind of looked at the range. Did you hit any balls at all or do you think that was enough?
DAVIS LOVE III: I walked out there once and I looked at my caddy, Jeff Weber, and I go, “What hole are they on?” “They’re on 16.” I said, “So we got an hour?” He goes, “Yeah. You don’t need to hit balls yet.”
I went back in, sat back down and relaxed a little bit. I did hit enough to just in case Jason made a putt on the last hole that I would be loose and then while he was signing his scorecard I was going to go putt.
Yeah, you don’t really know what to do. I learned at the Masters you don’t go to the cabin and think that you’ve won. I didn’t want to go to CBS and sit up there and think that I had won. I went and killed some time down there on the range with my manager, Mac Barnhardt and Feherty came in and entertained us for a little while. It was good.
MEDIA QUESTION: Are you looking forward to getting back to the grind of playoff golf now?
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, that was the goal and, you know, I wanted to win a golf tournament to get back in the Masters. One of my biggest things was just to get back in the Top 125 again.
I was playing, you know, at Bay Hill thinking that I couldn’t walk another step, you know, my foot hurt so bad. I said if I’m going to make the Top 125 I’ve got to get this fixed and then have time to play at the end of the year.
So, I waited until the last minute to get in the Top 125 but that was my goal. That’s why I had surgery in the middle of the season. That’s why I tried to work so hard in rehab to get back was to try and get in the 125.
A lot comes with that. Win obviously is a lot more. But getting in the Top 125 means a lot of tournaments I don’t have to get exemptions to or get back in The Players Championship. It kills me the last couple of years not to play in The Players Championship. My friends at home assume I’m in The Players Championship because I won it twice. It’s kind — that one and the Masters are kind of crushing that you don’t get in there.
because I do, I feel like this week if I hit — if I putt well enough I hit the ball well enough I can still compete on big golf courses like golf courses like that. It’s hard to believe everything that comes with it. I’m ready to play. I’m excited about it. I was planning on going to Dick’s and playing next week anyway so this is an upgrade.
MEDIA QUESTION: Davis, given those comments you just said then is this the sweetest of the three victories here at Greensboro for those reasons?
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, I would say any victory now is going to be really sweet when you’re over 50. I remember Raymond Floyd winning when he was 50 or 51, maybe.
DOUG MILNE: He was almost 50.
DAVIS LOVE III: He was at the Tournament of Champions I remember and he was saying which tees he was going to play for. But watching guys, Tom Watson almost win the British Open, things like that have inspired me that hey, I can hang in there and certainly, you know, Fred Funk winning, Kenny Perry winning, Vijay still being out here — I keep saying I’ll go over to the Champions Tour when you go, Vijay. This is sweet. I obviously had some great wins over there at Forest Oaks that meant a lot at the time. This is very, very sweet.
MEDIA QUESTION: Davis, this whole week had such a cool story line with Tiger here and you were part of that from the very beginning. When he faltered today did you know that is it somehow fitting that you picked up the tournament and kind of your tournament and won it?
DAVIS LOVE III: You know, we could sit here until midnight and I could thank people, therapists, doctors, trainers, sports psychologists but Bob Rotella obviously I worked with since my first — even before I got on Tour texted me a few times this week keeping me going.
And I eagled 5 and because I’m 51, it’s time to go to the bathroom (laughter). So, I went over to the bathroom on — while Ryan was hitting on the 6th tee. I said to myself, “You cannot look at the leaderboard the rest of the way. You have to just play your game. I’m birdieing every hole and you just don’t get lost in results, get into the process. What would Rotella tell you to do now.”
Honestly when I walked off 18th green I didn’t know what was going on. I knew I needed to make birdies coming in. I knew that I had to make that par putt at 16 because you’re just playing the game and you can smell the blood in the water. You know what’s going on. But I didn’t know the scores. I think that really helped me, just one of Bob’s lessons.
Ben Crane on last hole at San Diego, had no idea he won the tournament. That’s how you want to play, just play the hole the way they’re designed and try to birdie every hole.
That little pep talk with myself. So I had no idea what Tiger was doing to answer your question. I caught a couple glimpses of the board and I saw my name at the top or I saw my name tied but I didn’t know the scores so I tried to just avoid it and it worked out.
You know, if you look at my game and Tiger’s game, we’re making a lot of progress, both of us. We’re getting better and better rather than going the other direction both from — both missing a lot of time.
I’m excited for him and we had a nice little chat on the putting green this morning, let’s one of us go to the Barclays. It’s nice to have friends supporting you like that even though they’re trying to beat you, you know.
MEDIA QUESTION: Davis, you brought this up, just out of curiosity you haven’t wanted to watch the Masters the last couple years not being in it, what does it mean getting back to Augusta?
DAVIS LOVE III: It’s thrilling. You want to play in the big tournaments and most of you guys know me very well. I’m very realistic. If I don’t think I can compete I don’t want to be out here. If I didn’t think that I could go to the Masters and hit good shots and make birdies I wouldn’t want to go.
I want to go because I think I can still play a little bit and, you know, do I have all these goals written down that I have to win the Masters before I’m 60? No. I want to go and play there and play The Players, I want to play all these places that I’ve been blessed to play for so long.
I don’t want to give it up yet and it would be very easy to not have foot surgery and just go, you know, play a little bit for fun and go do TV or get in the barbeque business or something, but I want to play.
I did not want to — next year is my 30th year on Tour. I did not want to end, you know, not playing The Players again or playing the Masters again and I almost went to the U.S. Open qualifying 36 holes against my doctor and therapist’s wishes just because I wanted to play in the U.S. Open.
I’m excited to start working my way back towards playing in some of those events and obviously this is a big step in that direction.
MEDIA QUESTION: Davis, any of the younger players out on Tour, do they call you Mr. Love or how does that work?
DAVIS LOVE III: They do (laughter). Some of them while we’re playing sometimes they slip up. But, I called Arnold Palmer Mr. Palmer so many times that he calls me Mr. Love sometimes just to jab me back at.
You know, I really appreciate the respect from those guys and I have a lot of respect for them and I have a lot — I’m really fortunate, all of us at Sea Island, so many great guys around us to hang around with and play with and if I’m helping them a little bit that’s great.
But certainly, you know, watching Zach Johnson work on his wedge game or Jonathan Byrd work hard on his putting, watching Harris English hit golf balls, Patton Kizzire, he won again, watching those guys play inspires me, keeps me young and it’s great for Dru Love and I, we have incredible golf games we can play with. Just great to be around them. If they call me Mr. Love every once in awhile it’s okay.
MEDIA QUESTION: Davis, you look at the history of this tournament and Sam Snead and you alone in second. What does that mean to you?
DAVIS LOVE III: To have your name thrown out there with Sam Snead at any point is incredible. I did think about that a couple times out there today, that for some reason this tournament has been good to guys in my age group.
So — and, you know, multiple winners. You know, when you get to a tournament where you feel good and comfortable and having fun and got a lot of fans, it certainly makes it a little bit easier and more fun to play. It’s just nice to be mentioned with Sam Snead and to get another win here because this tournament, this State, this town has been so good to me.
MEDIA QUESTION: Can you catch him?
DAVIS LOVE III: I can’t catch him. I want to play in the Masters again and the U.S. Open again. I don’t think I’ll chase that record. You never know if I keep getting healthier and healthier.
MEDIA QUESTION: I’m compelled to ask an Atlanta-centric question. I don’t know what you might consider the odds are that that might see you at East Lake?
DAVIS LOVE III: Like I did today, starting in No. 6 tee I’m going to take it one shot at a time. I better call Bob Rotella first on the drive back to Sea Island tonight to discuss how to get results out of your head. But I don’t know. My chances are as good as anybody.
You get hot with the putter and you never know. Somebody asked me in here earlier this week if you won what would you tell Jay Haas. “I’m going to Barclays. That’s all I got for you.”
I guess I’m doing to Deutsche Bank, too. I’m in The Playoffs. That was the goal at the beginning of the week and I’m excited about it. So I look forward — I got to do a little restructuring and cancel some flights but I’m excited to be going into The Playoffs and certainly now you shift gears. East Lake is the goal, you know. I’m confident with my putter and my game and jump right back in there next week.
MEDIA QUESTION: Davis, have you been back to Forest Oaks? When you go there, what goes through your mind?
DAVIS LOVE III: It’s been — we did some kind of a fundraiser or something over there since the tournament moved over here but the courses I designed I don’t get back enough. I was thinking about that when I came up the other day, went over the Chapel Hill to see the golf coaches over there and check out their practice facility. I just don’t get to places I’ve designed enough.
But, yeah, maybe next year. The week gets so busy now. I used to do all kinds of stuff when I came to tournaments. I used to fish a lot, play other golf courses but the Tour has gotten so big and so busy so much going on that it’s hard to sneak out but I’d love to see it again, play it one more time.
DOUG MILNE: Davis, congratulations.