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January 4, 2006

David Toms


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: David Toms, thank you for joining us here at the season-opening Mercedes Championships. Great season last year. Won the Accenture Match Play Championship. Sure you're looking forward to another great season. Maybe some opening comments about 2006.

DAVID TOMS: Just glad to get going. I've had some time off this winter. I am fresh and ready to go. I guess, unlike some of the other players that, you know, really didn't have much of an off-season, I did. I played one event after THE TOUR Championship.

I'm ready to go, get started. Golf course is going to be pretty long for me this week. Fairways are soft. The greens are firm. I've got some longer clubs in, so it's going to be a good test. I'll have to play well to have a chance to win.

But, like I said, I'm eager to get going.


Q. Anything else been done health-wise in the off time here or are you just good to go?

DAVID TOMS: Should be good to go. I had a procedure this off-season back before the Target event. I was fine there. Haven't had any health issues at all. Shouldn't be a problem.

Q. Is there some regimen that you have to follow?

DAVID TOMS: No, nothing at all. No diet thing, nothing I have to do. One of the things that came out of it that was very positive is, as far as my heart goes, it's very healthy other than this one little condition that I had. I don't have any real problems otherwise.

Q. Not worried that microphone setting it off.

DAVID TOMS: No. I'm past all the radiation stuff that I had, so we're good to go.

Q. What are you looking forward to this year?

DAVID TOMS: What am I looking forward to? You know, just hopefully more good play. Since the late '90s, I've had a good year every single year. Some are better than others. You know, obviously I want to win another golf tournament to get back here. That's always in the back of my mind.

I'm pretty fired up to try to make the Ryder Cup team. I've played on teams in the past that were a lot of fun. I received a letter from Lehman, which I'm sure a lot of the guys that have a chance to make the team got the same letter that I did. Just got me pretty fired up to work hard and be a part of that team because I think it's going to be a pretty special event, being in Ireland, Lehman being the team captain. I think he'll do a great job.

You know, I want to make that pretty bad.

Q. What did the letter say?

DAVID TOMS: No, I think it's one of those just kind of a little motivational type of thing, just thought he had a lot of things, you know, that touched me, just talked about the team atmosphere, how important this event is.

We talked about it last year at the Masters about how, you know, he said there was an article in I guess the London paper that said it's the single most important sporting event in the history of that country. I mean, that places it pretty high up if you ask me. Just want to be a part of it. If I'm not, I'll know what I'm going to be missing.

Not that I have any added pressure on myself or my game, but knowing that if I play well and play my game, I'll be a part of that team. That's going to be in the back of my mind this whole season.

Q. If Mickelson is apparently now married to DiMarco as it relats to Cups.

DAVID TOMS: That's a good team.

Q. Tiger is aligned with Furyk, who does that leave you with?

DAVID TOMS: Who gets to play with me, is that what you mean (smiling)?

Q. Who has to play with you is the way I was going to phrase it.

DAVID TOMS: No, I'm pretty easy to get along with. I just want to be a part of it. I'll take whoever. Who knows, maybe I'm one of the veteran guys now. Maybe it will be a young guy. If I'm on the team, maybe it will be a guy that's a first-timer. There are a lot of young guys on the TOUR that I think would be good for that team. I'd like to kind of take them I guess under my wing, so to speak, and win some points for our side.

Q. Would you care to throw any names out of who would not surprise you of a guy who has never been there to be on that team?

DAVID TOMS: A guy that's never been there? You know, I'd have to look at the list right now. I guess if you don't have any points right now, it would be pretty difficult to make it. Some of the young guys. I guess Sean O'Hair, he's a great player. I've played with him a little bit towards the end of the season. Works hard. I think he's probably the future of the American team as far as the young guys go. I think Zach Johnson, he was close last time. He's a young guy that I'd like to play with because he's a very competitive guy that I think would do well representing his country. Just seems like he's a guy that has that spirit in him that would be good for the team.

Q. What about an old guy, Bart Bryant?

DAVID TOMS: Why not? The way he's played golf the last 18 months or so, I think very consistent. Seems like what he did at THE TOUR Championship, he didn't get rattled at all, he hit fairways and greens, gave himself a lot of opportunities for birdie. That would work well in that competition, for sure. Why not? I'd love to play with him.

Q. Did you ever play with him much before he broke through to win a year and a half ago?


Q. Yes.

DAVID TOMS: No, not at all.

Q. He wasn't around on TOUR.

DAVID TOMS: Say you're a winner on TOUR, you get in a certain category, then you play. If you play well, and those guys play well, it seems like you always play with the same players. I'm sure there are many players on the TOUR, and I've been on the TOUR for almost 15 years now, there's a lot of guys I've never played golf with that have been on the TOUR the same amount of time. You just get in these categories where you all seem to play together. Unless you're trying to win golf tournaments, sometimes those things can change towards the end. Seems like you're always with the same people.

Q. You only played one event after THE TOUR Championship. What was the reason for that? Would you have liked to have played?

DAVID TOMS: Well, I guess it was just a couple weeks after THE TOUR Championship, I had the heart procedure. I thought about playing an event in China. I was invited to play over there. I decided not to go because of that. Also the World Cup. You know, I was qualified to play in that and I didn't go because of the timing on all the heart procedure I had done. I had to lay off for a couple weeks afterwards. It worked out perfect. I could go play in the Target tournament. That's the main reason I didn't play.

Q. What do you think about ABC backing out on the tour deal?

DAVID TOMS: I just heard that. I didn't know. I knew some things probably would change. That goes to show you why the TOUR headquarters, the offices try to go a different direction to present our product in a different way with a new points system. It was all television driven. Already see somebody we have that is not going to pick up golf that's been in it for a long time. I don't know. I guess they're going in a different direction. I still think we have a great product and they're going to be missing out. I believe that. I think our product will continue to get better. That's unfortunate for them.

Q. Some nostalgia this year? This is the last year where you only have to look at a Money List.

DAVID TOMS: It will be kind of a transition year, where we're all trying to figure out how it's going to affect everybody, our television, and you guys. You guys are going to have to try to figure it out, too. We're going to all struggle together. There's going to be a side note to every event, how is it going to be moving forward.

Q. When do you think you'll get the details of it?

DAVID TOMS: I'm slow to learn, so it might take me a little bit longer.

You know, I don't know. I mean, I guess throughout the year. We'll just get little tidbits. We'll see. I think the sooner the better. It all affects off the golf course, too. I made the comment to the TOUR about, "What do guys do when they're trying to get into a four- or five-year endorsement deal off of the golf course?"

What do you base it on? Do you base it off the a money list? Do you base it off a point system? Is it a top 30 thing? Do you have to make the Super Bowl to get this part of your contract? How is it all going to affect everything we do off the golf course?

I think it will be easy to figure it all out on the golf course. But how do you structure your deals moving forward, I think that's an important part of it.

Q. Are you glad you're off the board?

DAVID TOMS: You know what, I enjoyed it.

Q. Given what we're heading into now.

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I think so. I think there will be some -- it was already a good bit of work, to begin with. It was four, five, six days of your time every year for the last two and a half years for me. I think they're going to have some issues, some eligibility issues with the new system, guys falling through the cracks, having to vote on those things. Those things take time. You could literally sit in a room for four or five hours, talk about one person, about what to do about this one particular situation. They're going to have a lot of those, I feel like.

Q. How much is Joe Ogilvie going to slow the meeting down?

DAVID TOMS: He'll ask a lot of questions, but I think that's good. He'll represent the players in a way I think is very positive because he's a smart guy, knows his numbers, knows a lot about business. He has a lot of sense to him. He'll do well. He might ask more questions than everybody else is willing to answer.

Q. Were you a questioner?

DAVID TOMS: I approached it just trying to do the right thing for the whole of the TOUR, not necessarily for a certain group of players. I mean, that's the way you have to approach it. I enjoyed the time.

Q. What did you learn about that?

DAVID TOMS: I learned there's nobody trying to pull the wool over anybody's eyes, and you couldn't. The whole process, if you just go out on the TOUR, it's always like some kind of conspiracy theory that the TOUR headquarters is trying to do something without the approval of the players. It's just not the case. I mean, after being part of it, I just know, unless I was part of some conspiracy, I mean, it's not the way it is. No way. That's my story (smiling).

Q. Sticking to it?

DAVID TOMS: Sticking to it.

Q. What does your schedule look like, west coast?

DAVID TOMS: Two weeks over here, Phoenix, LA Open Match Play.

Q. No Abu Dhabi?

DAVID TOMS: What is that? That's the thing over in the Middle East? No. I don't even know when that is. Wasn't invited. I don't have an agent any more. I don't get invited to those kind of things.

Q. When do you think that will get sorted out?

DAVID TOMS: What is that?

Q. The second part of your answer.

DAVID TOMS: I have no idea.

Q. Is there anything date-wise scheduled, court-wise?

DAVID TOMS: Sometime in the summer. I just don't know. I don't know yet. I'll let you know. I want you to be there (laughter). I want you to cover every last word of it. I'll let you know. I just don't know yet. I'm guessing June, July. I hope it's not the week of the US Open so I have to put it off to another time.

Q. Big logo on the head?

DAVID TOMS: It's very big. I think that's why I'm only going to go with the visor. They can only make it so tall.

Q. You're a visor guy anyway?

DAVID TOMS: A little sun on top of my head, so I was trying to cover up today. It is a little big, though.

Q. Thoughts on next week? Do you now look at Michelle Wie as a 16-year-old junior in high school or as one of the 143 players you have to beat next week?

DAVID TOMS: I look at her as part of the event. I mean, she's been a part of the event for, what, three, four years now. I mean, it's not really a story any more. I mean, it's good for her, and it is a great story because of her even having the ability to compete with us. But at the same time, I mean, it's not a new story. Figure I'll see her next week, say hi, wish her the best.

I think it would be great if she makes the cut. Adds something to maybe some more viewers back home.

Q. Do you care if she makes the cut?

DAVID TOMS: Do I care? I think it would be good for the event. Obviously a bigger audience for the weekend. Why not?

Q. Weren't you on the cut line at John Deere at one point?


Q. Yes.

DAVID TOMS: I'm sure. I didn't play very well, I'm sure I was at some point.

Q. Are we beyond that now when some of the women come onto the men's tour, whatever country we're in, can't lose to a girl?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I think sure. You're past it till you get home. You go to dinner with your buddies, they're all over you about it. But as far as just a pure playing standpoint, sure. Yeah, I think so. I think so. If you were trying to close a business deal and the woman got it and you didn't, is that a big -- would they make fun of you? I think we're all past that. I mean, I think it's great that they're even able to compete with us. She actually can.

Q. Did you notice a type of a buzz at John Deere?

DAVID TOMS: Oh, yeah, sure.

Q. When does the novelty wear off? Has it already?

DAVID TOMS: I don't think it wears off until it wears off in the public's eye. If they're still at the -- at the John Deere, I was on the opposite side of the golf course, and there's nobody out there watching us play golf. You knew where she was the whole time. It was almost like a Tiger type of following. You know where he is. You know where she was on the golf course. That says a lot. I don't think it wears off until that goes away for some reason. I just don't see that happening any time soon.

Q. When Annika played, I think there were six to eight women who played that year. Do you see this becoming a trend or her as being the only one willing to do this?

DAVID TOMS: I mean, I don't know. I don't think it's going to be a trend. I think you have maybe a couple players that are capable of even competing strength-wise and everything else. I think she's one of them, with the power part of our game and everything. She can do it. Whenever she decides that she doesn't want to do that any more... I think when she's full-time on the LPGA Tour, winning their golf tournaments, why even? I think now it kind of brings attention to her game. Would she be making the money off the golf course if all she did was play ladies events? I mean, would it be the same?

To me, it's more of a story, and she's more of a story when she's trying to play our events, make cuts in our events. I think she's a bigger story trying to make the cut in the Sony Open than she is trying to win just a mediocre ladies event. I think so. I think it would be a bigger story - for her and everyone around her. That would be a bigger deal. I think that's probably why she's making the money off the golf course that she is, is because of that. She's able to compete with us. I think so anyway.


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