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February 27, 2005

David Toms


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: David Toms, congratulations on winning the Accenture Match Play Championship. Your record now in this event is 18 and 5. You're quickly catching up on Tiger Woods. Start with some opening comments about a fantastic week for you, congratulations.

DAVID TOMS: Thank you. First of all, I'm really tired. This is a long week, and I just for some reason had a lot of focus out there. It just felt easy at times for me, I guess, on the golf course. Not easy to beat my opponent, but the golf in front of me, as far as the shots and everything, I really felt comfortable. I found some way to get the job done, whether it was saving a par putt or hitting a timely shot or making a timely putt in all my matches all week.

And then today wasn't any different. I went and played good golf again. I had a good stretch of holes in the middle or later part of my first round that got me pretty far ahead.

And then it was tough; it was tough this afternoon to play with that big of a lead. You say, well, you were leading, why was that tough? I found myself in a position where I was starting to play make the other guy beat me, just hit the fairway, hit it on the green and make the other guy beat me, where I was playing for birdies in all my other matches. It was different.

But I still did it pretty well and threw in a few birdies, and I think that Chris got too far down and just couldn't come back.

Q. Was there part of you this morning that after having played so flawlessly and beating Phil and Adam and that great stretch against Ian, I wonder if you had anything left for today.

DAVID TOMS: Before the match started this morning?

Q. Yes.

DAVID TOMS: No, I just you know, I felt comfortable because Chris and I have similar games, similar length off the tee. So I wasn't going to be intimidated for power or anything like that. And I felt like if I could just continue to play well, and there was no reason why I couldn't, because I still I could get the ball in the fairway off the tee, and that's very key at playing this golf course. And I just didn't know why it was going to be any different today than it was the other days, because I felt really that comfortable.

Q. It isn't a four round tournament?

DAVID TOMS: You're right, but like I said, I can't explain why I felt like I did all week. I just felt very, very comfortable with myself and the golf that was in front of me. I just felt very calm, no matter what the match was. I don't know I don't know that I've ever really felt like that in an event.

But match play is different because when you have in a stroke play event when you have a lead or you have a big lead, you're trying to avoid the big number. In a match play event, you can lose the hole and you can pick up and whatever and just concede a hole. You don't have to worry about losing all your strokes in one hole.

When I got as far up as I did today, Chris, he had it's very hard to come back from that far down. And it's not like, okay, well, you make a triple and the other guy makes an eagle and that's five shots. It's not like that. You have to beat him in that many holes.

Q. David, when you're playing that well for that long of a stretch, how do you not get too excited about playing that well and thinking about, man, I'm playing this well, or start to think about when is this going to end?

DAVID TOMS: You know, it's hard for things not to creep into your head. I was walking up the 8th hole and I was 7 up going down the 8th hole today, and all of a sudden it came into my head, what was I going to say at the trophy presentation (laughter). And I'm just, like, I literally took my hand and I was just (indicating), I was trying to get it out of there. It shows you how powerful the mind is.

I hadn't gone there at all. I didn't go there last night when I was in bed thinking about winning or anything like that. It was just the whole morning, nothing like that, and then all of a sudden here's this thought. So that's why I didn't shoot at the flag; I hit it 20 feet left, I wasn't going to hit in the water, I'm not doing that. You fight that, we do as golfers, fight that all the time.

Q. You were hitting yourself in the head. What were you thinking?

DAVID TOMS: Exactly. Get that out of there, think of anything but that.

Q. Chris said he thought you were one of the five best golfers in the world, and of course you had the injury last year. Do you have a burning desire to prove how good you are, that, hey, I'm as good as these guys? Will you drive yourself to get up in the top four or five?

DAVID TOMS: To be honest my desire is to be a top 10 player every year. And I've been outside the top 10 in the World Ranking since I skipped well, since I missed those events last year early in the year. I dropped, I guess, from seven or eight all the way down to whatever, I was 20 something at one time last year. It's my goal to be a top 10 player. I feel like that's from a skill level, from a physical standpoint, in everything, I feel like if I'm playing well, I can be a top 10 player in the world. As far as a top 5 player, I feel like I have limitations. Year in and year out, week after week, that there are just there are a handful of guys that are just better than I am.

Q. Is that mainly length? You're a great player.

DAVID TOMS: Yes, yes, with the way the golf courses that we play nowadays are set up. If we played this golf course, this length every single week, those guys are always going to rise to the top, and I accept that. But I know that I can be a top 10 player, and that's what my goal is.

Q. Chris mentioned on the first round, 7th hole when he's moving up and you make that putt on him on 7, that's really big. Because he says I'm 2 up here, I'm rolling, and then you obviously took it the other way and went off on a tear; how big was that?

DAVID TOMS: I don't even remember (laughter). 7th hole, I made one, what, all the way across the green?

Q. He was up close he said it was about 15 feet?

DAVID TOMS: To me, that shows you how much I was thinking about myself and what I was trying to do and keep the pressure on and just play well. Really this whole round today for some reason, this is kind of a blur to me. I don't know if it's because I'm tired or we played a lot of golf this week. You think about how many holes we've played, and every single hole was important and every single putt was important.

Can I think of just one instance today where I felt like it was the turning point for me? No, not really.

Q. All week long it seems like that stretch, starting the back nine, 10, 11, 12, you just killed it. Do those holes set up particularly well for you or any reason for that?

DAVID TOMS: You know, I don't know. I always felt comfortable on the tee shot on the 10th hole for some reason. I got the ball in the fairway and always this a good yardage for whatever club I was trying to hit. A lot of times you don't get that; some days you don't feel comfortable with your yardage all day long. For some reason on that hole I did.

The 11th hole I hit a good tee shot every round, and I feel like I'm a fairly solid fairway wood player, 3 wood, 5 wood. I had a lot of good shots there. And I've never been able to master the 12th hole, I don't know what it was. In previous years here, I never felt comfortable with the club selection. This year I hit a lot of good shots on that hole.

We go to the 13th, another hole where I can hit a cut off the tee and really the lake is not in play if I hit it solid and cut it off the bunker. I always hit it down there and had a little flip shot into the green. I played those holes well.

Q. On paper your closest match all week was the first round. If you can remember back that far, did you feel in control of that match, or could you have been out of here on Thursday?

DAVID TOMS: I could have been out of here the first round. Richard Green, I didn't know anything about Richard. I now know that he's a really solid player, hits the ball in the fairway. He kept the pressure on me the whole day, because he never really was out of play at all. And in the end I ended up having to make some birdies to win. My highest round, I felt like I was either I think I was 2 under the first round, and that was other rounds after that I started going pretty deep. So they seemed to be a little bit easier.

Q. Is it a blessing to have that kind of match?

DAVID TOMS: At some point in the week you're going to have a tough match; you're going to go extra holes, you're going to go the last hole, the odds are. And you've got to get through it and refocus for the next day. I had some tough opponents this week; I played a couple of hot players in Mickelson and Adam Scott. And even Mark Hensby played a great round of golf when he was playing with me, and it was tough. If I wouldn't have played as well as I played I had to to win my matches.

Q. You talk about the battle with the head. Was there any part of you at lunch that said, "please don't choke"?

DAVID TOMS: Well, I was in a position Chris was in the same almost the same position that I was in against Tiger. Tiger had me 5 down, and I had Chris 6 down. To me in the Tiger match, in my match, it was anybody's ballgame halfway through the back nine. So I just wanted to go out early on in the final round, the second round, and keep the pressure on, hit some good shots, make him make birdies, instead of giving him a hole or two.

I think it was a big putt on the first hole in the afternoon. I hit a perfect drive, okay, I've got this hole now, and then I hit a flared 8 iron, hit a bad chip and made the putt after I could have been 6 and 5 right there. So I think that was if I had to say a timely shot, it was probably that putt right there.

Q. How long was it?

DAVID TOMS: About six feet, or I guess ten feet.

Q. When you're playing this well, do the fairways look wider and the greens look bigger?

DAVID TOMS: First of all, the fairways did play about as wide as they were going to play, because they were so soft. If you could ever get a ball in between the rough lines, as far as where it started, it would stay in the fairway, so that helped. But the greens, they're receptive as long as you could dial in. You had a little bit of wind, and it was a little cold, so the ball doesn't go as far; especially when we go to Florida, it doesn't go near as far.

If you could dial it in, the greens were soft. Every shot, I felt comfortable out there all the time, no matter what if it was a 3 iron or if it was a wedge or a driver, it didn't matter to me.

Q. When you say were you in a zone at some point?


Q. When you're talking about the feeling you've had all week this week, did you ever like wake up in the morning and wonder if it was going to be there? Were you nervous it was going to go away?

DAVID TOMS: Was it going to go away one of the mornings during this tournament?

Q. Yes.

DAVID TOMS: Like I said, I don't know. I didn't even sleep very good not that I was nervous or anything, for some reason I didn't sleep well this week, and I was up early every morning. You play so many holes, I mean, everything just kind of runs together. And I just felt like it was just I went to the Titleist facility on Monday, and I got out there and I got some work in when a lot of guys weren't able to work because of the weather and everything. And I started to hit the ball really good, and I got some good work in on my short game. I got to just practice a lot of things off site and get away from it, and I started to feel really good, and it just carried over.

Q. With this win this week, you're the sixth guy in history to pass $20 million. I wonder how hard that is to wrap your head around.

DAVID TOMS: Well, I think that's just a direct reflection of what the purses have done the last four or five years. As far as tournament wins and performances, you know, there are a lot of guys that have a lot better careers than me. So I'm just going to chalk that up to I'm in golf at the right time. But I have played well, too. I'm not taking away from that, but it's just I'm obviously in it at the right time. Tiger got us to this new level and I'm enjoying it.

Q. Could you speak to where this relates to maybe some of your other wins and where you are in your golf game right now? How pleasing was this for where you're at?

DAVID TOMS: It's hard to say because this being a match play event, obviously it's a little bit different, and you don't have to beat so many guys. You only have to beat a handful of guys, and one guy each day. But as far as a big win, this is a World Golf Championship. This is a big deal. It's the best players on a great golf course. I can take a lot away from this and gain a lot of confidence from it. It's good to be back in the winner's circle again. I can't wait to call Planos and tell him I'll be coming back to Kapalua. We'll have to do another hunting trip.

Q. Does it change your perspective on how you view the rest of your year?

DAVID TOMS: You know, anytime that you can win early, this is by far the best I've ever done at this stage of a year. This is by far the best West Coast I've ever had. So I can only use that as a stepping stone to hopefully do something special this year and get up there high on the Money List. It was my goal to make The Presidents Cup team, and I certainly think that today has helped that, to be part of that team, and I look forward to that. I really feel like I can build on this and do something really good, special this year.

Q. Any concern they're going to try and Toms proof the course next year?

DAVID TOMS: No, it's totally Toms proofed. What were they going to do to it, move it back 50 yards on every hole? I don't know, I had a really good week and that's when Tiger played his best golf and the way he made birdies and dominated fields and made it look easy at times, I guess maybe that's what it feels like, the way I played this week, and hopefully I can build on that.

Q. You think you can get used to that?

DAVID TOMS: I could get used to playing like that, that's for sure, being in control and feeling like the game was a little bit easier. I could certainly get used to that.

Q. Have you reached the point, you've won a major, now you've won a World Golf Championship. I think you've won 11 tournaments overall. Have majors now become much more important to your whole idea of golf?

DAVID TOMS: Yes, majors, obviously everybody wants to win them, but it's certainly a goal of mine. We've got two of them in the South this year, so I like my chances.

End of FastScripts.

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