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January 15, 2006

David Toms


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: David Toms, congratulations on your 12th PGA TOUR victory here at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Maybe some opening comments about a great week for you.

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, it was. I played really well when the winds were strong. Had good, solid rounds and took advantage obviously yesterday of calm conditions, and then played another solid round today. Kept the ball in play and just, you know, kept the pressure on Chad and just I played well.

It's nice to win, obviously. It always is, but this early in the season helps my mindset a lot going into the rest of the West Coast.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: How important it was for to you get off to that good start, birdie the first couple of holes?

DAVID TOMS: That was big. First hole, making birdie there, kind of just set the tone for the way I guess the day was going to be. I felt very calm out there all day today. Felt good over all of my putts. My speed was good. Not only did I hit a lot of fairways, but I hit it on the right side of the fairway to where I had good angles, and it's just one of those things where it was working well for me.

Q. Your pattern has been other than the Match Play to typically win more in the middle of the year, is there anything that you can pinpoint as to why you won so early this year?

DAVID TOMS: You know, I just think it's more willpower than anything else. You know, wanting to win more than anything else.

Before, early in my career it was like, oh, make some cuts, try to get into contention, see how you do. When I started winning tournaments, that felt good, too. But I wouldn't say it was everything to me, and now it is.

I feel good, I'm confident in my game and my ability, and it's what I want to do is win. I think you have to really, really want to do it before it's going to happen. I think the last couple of years, I'm getting older, I was 39 last week, so I'm not saying I'm close to being done or anything. But I have to get it now when I can and when I do play well, capitalize on it. I think it's just a mindset more than anything else.

Q. You're pretty good with the lead going into the final round, are you aware of that? Is there anything to that that gets you

DAVID TOMS: I'm aware of it. But today, being tied with a guy that played great golf the day before, I knew I was going to have to play well. It wasn't like you're laying in bed last night trying to figure out how to pars and get by. I knew I had to play well and get in that mindset to have a good round, just like I was going out and play Thursday's round knowing I was going to have to play well.

Q. It's probably an old story in your eyes, but there's still people that look at you and think of you on the stretcher and that whole incident back at 84 Lumber, can you talk about winning in terms of being able to just let everyone know that "this is behind me," if it is?

DAVID TOMS: I still get questions about it. Every week somebody will ask me in the gallery or somebody with the media or just somebody with the golf tournament, you know, am I okay.

I'm fine. That is definitely behind me. Just like when I had the hand surgery a couple of years ago, I came out and was able to play well right away and erase any questions that I might have and whether or not I was going to be able to do it again.

You know, I've come a long way obviously from that day in Pennsylvania.

Q. Was it on your mind at all to start the year?

DAVID TOMS: None whatsoever. I have no diet issues. I've got a clean bill of health other than that one little problem I have and that's fixed and it's really not an issue at all.

Q. Is there anything that you learned from 2002?

DAVID TOMS: At this golf tournament? Yeah, how to play No. 5 better. I hit it in the right rough instead of the left trees or sorry, 6. I keep thinking 5.

No. 6, that's the hole that I missed up in 2002. I was determined not to hit it in the left junk over there and I hit it in the right trees, but I hit a great shot and a nice up and down for par.

Q. Talk about being back with your health and everything, you looked a little choked up on 18, was it good just to know that I can get back where you had been?

DAVID TOMS: I think it's just more about the total satisfaction of winning a golf tournament and being able to reach one of your goals. To me, it just kind of touches me. There are obviously superstars that win all the time and it looks like it comes easy to them. I guess sometimes like today, maybe it looked like it came easy to me because I played great, but on the inside it's always a battle. It's a battle every single day that we go to work whether or not you're going to have a good day, a so so day or a bad day. To overcome all of that and win a golf tournament, it's the ultimate reward for all of those emotions that you go through.

Q. Maybe following up to that question and your answer, it wasn't an epiphany that all of the sudden you decided you wanted to win golf tournaments. What made that change and when did you come to realize that?

DAVID TOMS: Stat wise you can tell that my ball striking has gotten better over the years towards the last five, six years. So if I have a good mindset and a confident mindset; I know I can hit the shots. Then it's about playing the smart shots when you have to and recovering when you have to and keeping a positive minds set.

So I wouldn't say that all of a sudden you would just say I'm going to win. There's a lot of work that goes into it, a lot of work many my golf swing and a lot of work on my putting and to be able to putt it all together.

I know that all that is together now. It's just more of a mental thing than anything else.

Q. Generally, when did you recognize that, that you're in that position?

DAVID TOMS: Probably '99 when I won twice. I won against a quality field at The INTERNATIONAL, the first quality win that I had at a time and followed it up a month later and won coming down the stretch on a tough golf course at Callaway Gardens against Stuart Appleby. It wasn't a matter of, can this guy do it or not. The other guys, I read a quote out there that weak of I won that Davis Love said that "when David Toms gets on a roll, he's tough to beat." To look at what a veteran said about my golf game, obviously that had my respect, it hit home with me that I can do this and I can do it well.

Q. Is there more urgency now as far as based on what happened to you last year, wrist injury a couple years ago, is there more urgency in your head to say I've got to take advantage of the talent that I have?

DAVID TOMS: I think so. This year there was a sense of urgency because I really want to make the Ryder Cup Team. I think Lehman is going to be a heck of a captain. It's going to be a great event over there and it's something that I desperately want to be a part of that team. So I needed to get off to a good start so I didn't have all that pressure on me towards the summer or end of the summer. This helps a lot towards that goal.

So, yeah, there was a sense of urgency starting. That's why I was so disappointed last week because I felt like I was playing well, I had two good days, I was right there and I blew up on Saturday. No particular reason, I just didn't play good and I was very disappointed. So to come back and play good here, it helps.

Q. Coming off of yesterday when you shoot a 61, do you almost have to forget about that round when you're tied? And just talk about the mentality, some people say it's hard to follow a 61 with another good round.

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, it is, but birdieing the first hole, it was already like, okay, I'm going to play good again, because it felt the drive felt good, the second shot, I was kind of in between clubs and I went with the risky club, got it up there close and made birdie, poured it right in the middle. Hey, just a continuation of yesterday and that's the way I felt about it.

Then No. 2 is the hardest tee shot on the course, I striped it right down the middle and you can make a big number there and striped it right down the middle. So I was like, here we go again, I'm going to play good.

Q. You talked a month ago about the way you won at Match Play last year and frankly the way you won this week and what you said then was "I'd like to be able to do that more often." What does it take to do that more often? Are you getting any clue on that and do you think you're capable of it?

DAVID TOMS: I really think that it's more about attitude than my physical golf game.

Last week, I was kind of hard on my caddie. It was a tough week to club and I was hitting over the green, short of the green, just hitting some shots and I'm like, you know, I'm blaming him for this and that.

This week, I had I don't know what it was, I had a calm about me and I wasn't riding him very hard at all. We worked well together and it was just you know, it was just a mindset that I stayed positive. When I missed a green, I was like, "okay, let's go get it up and down," instead of like, "I can't believe I hit that shot." Or, you know, "that was a dumb play" or whatever it was. It was more about, hey, let's go get it up and down.

That's what I did well this week, that's what I do well every time I play good and it's just one of those things that I battle with myself all the time.

Q. The attitude, you mean just positive attitude?

DAVID TOMS: Sure, it is. You hear it all the time but it's so hard. You know, we all have bad days, but it's like you don't ever have any bad days, not with your Hawaiian shirts; you always have good days.

Q. I didn't need to hear that. You don't seem like a guy who beats himself up.

DAVID TOMS: I think it's more on the inside. I try not to show it too much.

Q. You don't, that's just it. I wouldn't have guessed that.

DAVID TOMS: Well, good. I fooled you, didn't I? (Laughter).

Q. Do you pay attention to your World Ranking?

DAVID TOMS: No. You know, to be honest with you, if I play like I'm capable of playing, I'm a Top 10 player in the world. That's where I've been for a long time now and I knew I was outside of it looking in and I had to play well to get back in. So, you know, when I'm not playing well, I fall out and when I'm playing good, I'm somewhere in there.

Q. Ideally, where would you like to be in that ranking, just anywhere in the Top 10 or Top 5?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I think to be honest with you, I think that's where I am. I don't think I'm in the Top 5, I've been there before, but you know I have some limitations with my game and it's not necessarily made for every golf course that we play.

So I'm fine with I think that's where I belong, you know, and what I can do to get to the next level, I'm not really worried about that. I'm just going to go out and try to play good.

Q. Your iron on the first hole?

DAVID TOMS: Hit an 8 iron.

Q. Can you talk about not being made for every course? Are you made for this course?

DAVID TOMS: I think so, when it's playing fast like this and we have the trade winds are blowing. I think so. The fairways are tough to hit. And so you don't have to just bomb it out there. I know some of the guys that play it well are bombers but for me, I have sufficient length to play here. It's a good course for me.

Q. Seven inches on the first hole?

DAVID TOMS: Seven inches on the first hole? On No. 1? No, no, I had about 12 feet.

End of FastScripts.

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