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Davis Love III hoping to kickstart 2006 season

Davis Love III hopes happy memories of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am will help kickstart his 2006 campaign after two missed cuts in his first three PGA Tour starts.

The 41-year-old American, who has not missed the Pebble Beach tournament since turning professional in 1985, won the title in 2001 and 2003.

"I always love coming here," Love told reporters on Wednesday as he prepared for Thursday's opening round.

"You come to a place like this where you've won before and you feel comfortable. It gets a little bit easier to get into the mental routine.

"I've had a few good tournaments here and returning here always raises my confidence."

Despite missing the cut at last month's Bob Hope Classic and also at last week's Phoenix Open, Love believes he has been playing better than his results indicate.

"I just haven't put any good streaks together," the 1997 U.S. PGA champion said. "I've had a lot of big numbers at the wrong time.

"Last week I was rolling along pretty good and then I made a seven on a par three. Things like that kill your momentum.

"But I've been hitting the ball better and better every week," added Love, who tied for 24th at the Buick Invitational in San Diego a fortnight ago.

"I've been feeling really good about my golf swing and I've been working out hard. I feel great. The results haven't come yet."

Love turns 42 in April and wants to make the most of the next eight years on the PGA Tour.

"That's why I'm really working hard on getting in shape," he said. "Plus I had two or three years there where I was in and out of things.

"I had one good year, and then one bad year because I just wasn't feeling 100 percent."

Love suffered from a pinched nerve in his back in 1999 and from neck pain and numbness in his left arm in 2001. During both seasons, he was forced to take an extended period away from the game.

"The big goal for the next five to eight years is to be physically able to play," he said. "I'm really excited about it.

"Like telling Tom Lehman I'm going to be on his (Ryder Cup) team (this September). I want to continue to do things like that.

"I've played in every Presidents Cup and I want to continue that record. I want to contend in the majors. I'm looking forward to banking on my experience and getting better.

"I still hit it as far as I've ever hit it," added Love, who has not won on the PGA Tour since clinching four titles in 2003.

"I still know I can play and I still know that the experience when you get close to the lead pays off."

February 9, 2006


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