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Love Affair in Sea Island


Davis Love III is serving as the official host for the McGladrey Classic. The $4 million event is making its debut on the PGA Tour this week at Sea Island Resort in Georgia.

Love calls Sea Island home, and his Davis Love Foundation will be the beneficiary of the tournament.

Love met with reporters Wednesday and was asked about the tournament and his role with it, as well as his take on the USA's loss in the recent Ryder Cup and whether he'd be willing to be a captain for the American squad in a future match. Here's what the 46-year-old had to say to reporters during today's Q&A.

MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Davis Love III into the interview room here at McGladrey Classic serving as our tournament host this week. Davis, I know this is a special place and a special tournament for you. Just get your comments on being here.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I'm glad to be home, first of all. I'm glad there was a provision in the captain's agreement that it was over Monday night, no matter what, because it looked like it was going to drag on for a long time with that weather. But excited to be back, still obviously on an emotional high from last week and from being in this building the last -- I guess we've been in here a few months watching the buildup to this. It's just incredible that it's already happening, and I'm excited to honestly be a small part of it. It's the people on the other side of those walls that have made it happen and all the volunteers and the McGladrey folks and the Sea Island folks. I'm honored to stand up in front of people and be the host, but there's a whole lot of people that made it happen, my brother and Mark and Scott Reid and the whole staff and the whole staff here at the Sea Island Golf Club.

I'm almost sometimes embarrassed when they say I'm the host because I haven't done that much. It's my friends and my team that have done it all, and as Justin Leonard sent me a text yesterday, he said I'm scratching -- or no, John Burke that used to caddy for me sent me a text. He said, "I'm scratching your name off as official host and writing Lexie Love underneath it." Because they got everybody organized yesterday and all my friends while we weren't here. But it's a whole team effort, and we're excited and can't wait for it to start.

MODERATOR: Talk a little bit about obviously the Davis Love Foundation being involved and also what this tournament will do for the Boys and Girls Club as well as the Special Olympics and what that means to you.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, it's all about the Tour giving back to charity. We've been trained in that over the years. This is the fourth time I've been on the board of the PGA Tour and I've never been prouder as we cut that cake at the Tour Championship a few years ago and Tim announced that we've given a billion dollars to charity. And that was impressive, except for his next comment was that our goal is over the next ten years to give another billion to charity. And that's the way he's always been, that's the way the sport has always been is we're driven to do more and more for charity.

And watching Jack and Arnold have their own tournaments and then Tiger quickly getting his own events that support charity. He flew in -- we all flew in to Atlanta yesterday. He took off as fast as he could to go to Washington to open a new Tiger Woods Learning Center. And that's just what -- Zach and Matt and I are racing here to support this event that support charities, and that's what it's all about. I'm appreciative that this is going to benefit our foundation and this community. Robin's always worked hard at small events to raise money around here, and now we're having the biggest one we can have, so we're real excited about what this means for our community. It's at a great time for really any community that has a PGA Tour event. It's a time when it's hard to raise money for charity, and we're excited that this is going to be a big boost to our charities, and to this economy. I was talking to Saxby Chambliss and Lindsey Graham yesterday talking about making sure that we support Hilton Head and other events in this area that do so much for charity. He was talking about $80 million impact that has at The Heritage. So we just want to have that kind of impact in our community.

MODERATOR: Okay. Questions?

Q. Davis, you've been involved in a lot of Ryder Cups as a player, and this one -- that hasn't gone to the last match very often. Even despite the fact that it didn't go your all's way, talk about the excitement of things getting that close going down to match No. 12 and being a part of that.

DAVIS LOVE III: It was an exciting finish, and I said last night at the Pro Am draw party that I've never been as proud of a U.S. team. I've been on 12 teams and never been as proud of a team because they really never got down. Even though they were behind, even though the weather was bad, everything was kind of stacked against them; they were confident. They were together. I said, you know, we had Tiger and Phil on the same side of the ping pong table, on the same side of the U.S. team leading the charge. And it really was a great week, even though it came down to a half a point and we didn't win. I don't think they could have put forth much of a better effort. We had about an hour and a half in that six-match segment that we lost five and a half to a half that we didn't play well. Other than that, we played great all week.

They played great all week, and they just had that one little extra push in that one segment. If we'd have gotten two points like it looked like we were going to get there for a little while out of that segment, we would have definitely -- obviously the outcome -- all we needed was a half a point. Those two points that it looked like we were going to get and we didn't get was where we lost it. They played well. I was thrilled to be there, to be a part of it. I thought I was going to be -- I didn't know what my role was going to be until I got there, but once we got there, Sluman and Goydos and Tom Lehman and I, we had a blast helping out and being a small part it. But it is a team. There were 100-plus people supporting that U.S. team over there, and they really put a good effort in.

Q. And I know you're going to get this, so I might as well get it out. Where are you as far as wanting to be a captain at Medinah?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I walked around with Darren Clarke last week and Jose Maria and Sergio, and we all talked about how much we want to play again that standing on the sidelines -- really not on the sidelines, standing beside the players as they play, seeing a different perspective makes us want to work hard and play again. But it makes me want to be a captain a little more. I'm a little worried about -- watching Bubba and Hunter and several guys tearing up and us getting emotional every night, I'm worried about the speeches and the -- I'm good at crying when something's special, and I think it would be hard for me to handle the standing up in front of people part of it.

Organizing the towels and the rain suits and all that kind of stuff, I've got a good handle on. I think I'd be a better assistant captain because I like doing the work. But I definitely want to be a captain. If they talk to me about it, I'll be excited about it. But Corey was very, very nice to ask me, and we had a great time. And that was my biggest disappointment is, again, like Tom Kite or Lanny Wadkins or whoever I've played for, Jack Nicklaus in Australia that we didn't win for, I was severely disappointed for Corey, not really as much for the players because they put their best effort. They played well, and they were happy with the way they played. They can deal with it, but it's hard for Corey because he put two years into it and couldn't hit a shot. He couldn't affect the outcome that much and didn't get the win. But I'd love to do it.

Q. What do you think your chances are that they come to you and ask you that? How would you handicap yourself in your career? And when it comes along, the position in everybody's career of getting to be a Ryder Cup captain seems like it's a very small window. Do you view it that way and what do you think your chances are?

DAVIS LOVE III: There's obviously a small window. The guys -- you can't count on it for certain because the way age falls, obviously we can argue whether Larry Nelson should have got it or Mark O'Meara should've got it or is Fred Couples going to get it, has he gone to the Champions Tour, is it too late? So if it came down to a decision of either take it or don't take it right now, I would take a chance on hurting my chances to play or whatever. I think if you asked me two months ago, I'd have said no, I don't want to take any chance on screwing up playing. But now I look at it, I don't want to take any chances on not getting to be the Ryder Cup captain. If players ask me, are talking to me about it and they want me to do it, that's what I want to do. That's what it boils down to.

I think when you're on the inside and you see it, you know, you get a whole different perspective. If they want -- if the players want me to be the captain, then I want to be the captain. If I get a sense that they want somebody else, then I wouldn't do it. Doesn't matter what the PGA of America or what I feel. If I feel like there's a few players that want me to do it, then that makes me feel good and I want to do it.

Q. Davis, I guess this only applies to you and Zach and Matt Kucher, but will this week be a little bit like Hilton Head following the Masters? With everything that happened last week and all the pressure and how long it took, is this going to be like even though you're playing competitive golf, is it going to be like a vacation this week?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think for those guys because they're very sharp. They just gotta stay awake. They'll be ready to go and excited to play. For me, I didn't get to hit any balls last week, so I'm rusty. But it's great that we're all playing together. It'll make it fun for all of us, but I think those guys are still going to ride the wave. Even though they didn't win and they're disappointed, I think they both played -- I watched Matt play almost every hole he played until Sunday. They're both playing very well, and I think they'll do real well. So I'm going to have a tough time keeping up with them, I think, tomorrow. Yeah, it's going to be a lot more relaxing obviously than last week.

Q. Real quick on Matt's season, even though Jim won the FedEx Cup, Matt's still No. 1 on the Money List, which I assume he'll maintain throughout the season and everything, but where did you see Matt improving the most as a player this season?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I think he just -- you know, Matt's been one of those guys that everybody's always thinking, when is he going to play better, you know? They've expected so much of him at a young age that they're waiting for him to have a year like this year, so I think he just got his confidence at the beginning of the year. I remember him working really, really hard in Hawaii right out of the box on his swing, and he came out with kind of a new approach or a new -- I don't know if it was a whole new swing, but he just came out working hard with new stuff and excited about it. And you know, he's a very confident, fun-loving, excited guy to play golf, and I think he finally just got a little bit more confidence this year and ran with it. And he was great at the Ryder Cup. I watched him play a lot this year. He's just on top of his game, like so many of the guys that were over there. But I think he's just got that confidence back that we don't know how we get it or where it comes from, but he's got the momentum and the confidence right now.

Q. And you talked early on about, you know, this community and the economic impact and how good this event is for coming here. What's the economic mood of this island and this area based on what's going to happen in the next few days and the auction on Monday? What are you hoping that comes out of all of this?

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, I think being on the inside of that situation, on the board, I think it's time for, you know, for it just to come to a close. Bill Jones and David Bansmer and their staff have worked tirelessly for over two years on this process, and people can't understand the process, but you know, I've said this a lot of times. A lot of people would have walked away from dealing with this process. They put a lot of effort into it without a whole lot of -- you know, no personal gain to them. They're doing the right thing for this community, for this company, for the history of the company. And when it happens, when it's all over with and they can move forward, the company's going to be better and stronger. You look at it like the Greenbriar, you know. Look at the Greenbriar this year. It was unbelievable how great it was, and that's the process that's going to happen here. We just gotta get through it. And this tournament couldn't have happened at a better time, you know, to show the world what we've been dealing with the last two years because Sea Island hasn't changed. It's still a fabulous place. I spent almost a whole week when the waves were big on the hurricanes over at the Beach Club, and nothing's changed. It's still fabulous, and I think we're going to show the world how pretty this place is this week.

Everything happens for a reason. I think this tournament, the timing of it, the perfect weather this week, everything's going to show that this town is still lively and happening, and this is going to be -- it's going to be good for the charities. It's going to be good for golf, but it's going to be especially good for Sea Island to show the world that they're still cruising right along.

Q. Are you a little shocked by the price tag number on that? It's kind of a fire sale when you look at all the properties that are involved in it.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, when you look at the world economy, you know, whether you want to look back at buying GM vehicles a while back or buying property anywhere in the world or me selling a used motorcycle, you know, the price is down. And you know, that's the state of -- I've had a lot of smart business guys say, yeah, it's going to come back, but it's only going to come back to 50 percent of what it was before. So you know, it is what it is. We lost a lot -- I got a lot of stocks that look exactly the same, as that value. So you know, I think somebody's going to get -- buy a diamond for a cheap price and they're going to polish it up and have something worth a lot of money down the road. Really the only loser in this is the family, you know. I think we're going to move forward. If they can operate the last two years, going forward is going to be great because they've done an unbelievable job of nothing the last two years, the staff and employees that have kept this place running. It's the question McGladrey asked and the question the Tour asked, and once you come here and see it, you're like, oh, yeah, everything's fine. So I think it's just going to get better and better, and credit to this whole company for keeping it together.

Q. Davis, when you're at home, actually how much do you play Seaside and how does it suit your game?

DAVIS LOVE III: Not much. You know, I don't play -- you know me. I don't play that much golf when I'm home period, so if you spread it out over all the great golf courses here, it's not much. I know that in the last year, two years, Zach and Jonathan have played it a lot more than I have. A lot of other guys have, too, probably like Lucas or Boo. But I play a lot all over the island. I spread it out over the island and I'm more hit balls out here with Jack Lumpkin and work on my game, and I'm more play the other end of the island, whether it's Ocean Forest or Frederica. But obviously for my whole life, they have pictures of me playing this golf course when I was too young to even remember, so I know my way around. The only issue for me is how rusty am I going to be. It's not the golf course, because as I said, I consistent get to do much the last couple weeks. The biggest thing is I was at my daughter's national horse show in Perry, Georgia for seven days before I went to the Ryder Cup. So that was a lot of pressure week, too, for our family. So I really haven't been able to do much golf the last couple of weeks.

Q. Davis, I'm working on something about fitness. I'm wondering how much that's changed on the Tour since you've played here and what you do to get fit and stretch and get in shape for tournament golf.

DAVIS LOVE III: Well, it's totally changed. When I came out on Tour, they were just coming out with this little bitty fitness truck and nobody knew what it was there for, and now we got two giant ones out there that are full all the time, guys going to local gyms. You know, it was amazing this past week at the Ryder Cup, I would get up at 5:30 or 6. The guys would be teeing off at whatever, 8:00, and I would get out in the hall, and the players were coming back from the gym. That's a change, you know, that they had to go to the gym at 5 in the morning to get ready to go play golf. And I've told this story a lot. At the John Deere we had a rainout, and I said, good, I can go back and take a nap, and I was heading for the parking lot and here comes Rickie Fowler in his workout gear heading for the fitness truck. Well, if Rickie Fowler's going to work out, I probably shouldn't take a nap. I'm 46. I better go to the gym.

And you can't beat these guys out here if you're not in shape. You're giving up something, you know, whether it's Tiger or Phil or Stewart Cink. You're just not going to beat those guys because they're going to do everything they can, whether it's on or off the golf course to get an edge. And it's really -- fitness, one, protecting against injuries, and two, just getting better is a big part of it. And I didn't get to go to the gym much last week either, so I'm behind on that. I'm behind the 8-ball on everything. But it's a big part of the game, certainly. I think it's as important as putting or chipping or driving. It's part of it. The mental side. Everything's a big part, but fitness is a huge part.

Q. What color was Rickie's workout gear? Orange?

DAVIS LOVE III: Rickie didn't have enough orange on. His dad wore an orange shirt on Monday. And I said something about his orange shirt, and he said, yeah, Rickie can't wear it, so I'm wearing it for him. (Laughs). I looked for orange Under Armour for him in about four or five different places and couldn't find it before we went over there. It was fun to watch those guys play, all of them, but it was especially fun to watch a rookie like Rickie or a rookie like Matt soak up their first Ryder Cup.

MODERATOR: Davis, it's going to be a great week. Thanks for coming by, and play well this week.

DAVIS LOVE III: Thank you all.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.