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January 12, 2005

David Toms


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: David Toms, thank you for joining us here at the Sony Open in Hawaii. After a one-year absence, briefly can you talk about what you were doing here at this time last year, recovering from wrist surgery?

DAVID TOMS: What was I doing? I was coaching basketball for my son at the Y and taking easy; had a cast on my hand. It was a purple one at that, it was pretty cool. Just not doing much, really. Watching this on television a little bit and just enjoying my time off.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You played well last week, finished in the Top-10. Maybe talk about some momentum heading into the season, a good first week at the Mercedes Championships.

DAVID TOMS: I felt good about the way I played. It was a long golf course for me after the rain, so a Top-10 wasn't bad for me, not being a longer hitter. I didn't putt very well. I was pleased with last week.

This week, the golf course is playing really long compared to what I remember it playing before. So it's going to be tough, I believe. I don't think the scores will be as near as good as they have been here in the past, only because of the length of the golf course right now and the rough is up. So you're going to have to be long and straight this week to do any good.


Q. What's your West Coast schedule?

DAVID TOMS: My West Coast schedule, the ones I'm not playing: Pebble Beach, L.A. Open or San Diego. I'll play the rest.

Q. Do you go into a year as a goal-setter and if so, what are they?

DAVID TOMS: Not really. Just because I always feel like if I'm prepared best I can for each tournament mentally, and physically I'll do fine. If I set goals as far as winning multiple times or something like that, I start thinking about that too much rather than just going through the process. And I feel like if I play -- if I'm prepared each week and I'm playing good golf then everything else will take care of itself.

I guess to answer your question, I'm not a big goal-setting guy. Although I know what I need to do to be successful, as long as I continue to do those things, I'll feel good about it.

Q. If you could only pick one of these to qualify for, which do you take, East Lake or Kapalua?

DAVID TOMS: Kapalua, just because it's about winning golf tournaments. A lot of some of those things have been taken away from us as far as winning, and that's one of the few things that's geared just toward that, winning golf tournaments. So I'd have to say Kapalua. Plus it's a pretty good way to start the year.

Q. Is that a reference to Augusta, things taken away for winning?

DAVID TOMS: Augusta is that way. I guess they have tried to work it back into the World Series of Golf a little bit the way they are doing it. But as far as just a pure reward for winning, that's what Kapalua is. And to me it's a great place to start the year compared to what's going on back on the Mainland with the weather and everything else, you know what you're going to get. And it's an elite field and they treat you really well,.

So I'd have to say Kapalua is more important. Although East Lake is a great measure of success for the year. Top-30 is something that's always in the back of my mind starting off the year. If there was a goal that I didn't write down, that would probably be one of them is to be there. But as far as just picking one or the other, have to be Kapalua.

Q. Do you think that would be a majority of the vote?

DAVID TOMS: I think so, I really do. Especially for established players that have -- that have made enough money and so forth, I think it's about winning tournaments and that's obviously what Kapalua is.

Q. A lot of Americans look ahead to retirement. Have you given one second thought about the Champions Tour down the road; do you think you'll play that?

DAVID TOMS: I mean, my wife says I will because that's all I've ever known is playing golf and playing competitively. I mean, I don't even really enjoy playing golf if I'm not playing in a competitive environment. I'm not one big on just going to the club and just playing to be out there.

As far as that goes, probably. I haven't really thought that much about it. I'm, what, a dozen years away from having a chance to be out there, and I have a lot of things that I still want to do out here. I mean, I've love to make the point of view, but I'm a long way from doing that and I've got to play great the next ten years. And so, you know, that's something that I'm going to grind away towards that goal.

Q. So when you said you'll play it because --

DAVID TOMS: Because of the competitive nature. I coach my son's little league team and basketball and I'm competitive with that. I just think that's in you when you're an athlete. So I'm sure that I'll play it. I hope that I don't have to play it for some reason, but that everything is financially secure by then and I'm not grinding away for that.

But I think, you know, if it's there and I want to be playing, I'll enjoy playing out there, just to be playing against the same guys I've played against my whole life out here.

Q. What's the worst thing you ever said to an ump?

DAVID TOMS: I don't think you could print that probably. I've never been kicked out. I've got a couple of buddies that have been kicked out from interleague they have to watch from the interstate out there. It's terrible. (Laughter.) Oh, man, but it's fun.

Q. You look like the kind of guy who would go to a hockey game and let them have it.

DAVID TOMS: You know, we do have a minor league hockey team in Shreveport, the Mudbugs. It's a rough environment to take a child to a minor league hockey game. Everything's got "uck" in it, you know, whatever it might be, everything they say has got an uck in it.

Q. Football, those crowds can be tough. LSU games, is that fine for your son?

DAVID TOMS: Oh, yeah, he's fine. Have to do that because that's just part of my life, and part of his. He loves it as much as I do. When he looks back on it when he grows up that being -- every time we go to a game, we go in the locker room before the game and go on the field. It's just something that we do, and I think he'll remember it forever.

Q. How much football did you play?

DAVID TOMS: I didn't play -- let's say, I probably quit junior high school sometime. I figured I was not quite cut out for that. I did other things but that was the last time I played football.

Q. What's the name?

DAVID TOMS: The Mudbugs. It's actually the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs.

Q. The Ucks?

DAVID TOMS: The ucks, whether it's the puck or whatever, a lot of ucks going on.

Q. When you left high school, did you ever imagine living the life you live right now?


Q. In terms of wealth, at what point --

DAVID TOMS: What did I grow up with, or in terms of wealth?.

Q. No, in terms of wealth now at what point in your career; was there ever that "wow" factor when you woke up and realized you're rich? Pardon my bluntness.

DAVID TOMS: You know what, I still don't see it as that. I see it as I can do what I want when I want and go where I want to go and basically, we do whatever we want to. Other than that, I don't have -- I don't look to myself as rich in any way. I just look at it as I have the resources to do what we want to when we want to.

Just because, you know to, me, the people that you run across doing what I do for a living, you run across a lot of people that are a lot better off than I am, so it kind of puts you in your place. If you ever think that you're something, there's going to be somebody else that's a lot bigger than you are. I think that helps, I really do. I think that helps, and the places that we go and the things that we get to do. We were talking walking down the 16th fairway, I was talking to a guy that's from here and he was telling me the price of these homes going down the 16th fairway, and they don't look like all that much, but just to put it in perspective. I think all of those things keep you grounded.

Q. What are they going for?

DAVID TOMS: A lot. Three or four million bucks or whatever. They'd go for a couple hundred in Shreveport. (Laughter.)

But, you know, it really does. Everywhere we go is like that. Every time you go to a place. You go to Sugarloaf and you look around and see what you see there. I think all of those things keep you grounded.

Q. There was never really a point after a first win or after your third win where you kind of realized that I am now financially able to do things I never dreamed of?

DAVID TOMS: I think when I started flying privately is probably when I realized I was lucky to be able to do what I'm doing. Because, you know, getting in and out of Shreveport and getting to the smaller places that we go sometimes, it made a big difference in my lifestyle. And that's when I felt like, hey, I'm pretty lucky to be able to do this and very fortunate.

But before then, I was getting stranded all the time, whether I was either in Atlanta or Dallas spending the night on a Sunday night, couldn't get home. And now, other than just bad luck, I get home whenever I want to get home.

Q. When did you start flying privately?

DAVID TOMS: I think 2001 is the first team I started.

Q. And what percentage of the Top-125 on this tour do you think fly privately?

DAVID TOMS: You know, people ask me that all the time and I've never really gone over the list. I kind of know who does, but I haven't really put a pencil to it as far as how many guys there are. I know there are a lot of guys that are doing it in some way, whether it's fly a fraction of a plane or buying time or what they are doing but there are a lot of guys doing it, majority of the time.

Q. You mentioned about wanting to grind, get into the Hall of Fame. So I would assume that means you feel like you have more winning ahead of you than behind you?

DAVID TOMS: I would think that I -- I would hope that I'm about halfway done right now. I've got, what, ten victories, and I guess with a major; so I guess I'm eligible for the Hall of Fame. But, you know, obviously I've got a lot bigger tournaments that I need to win. I think you'd have to be multiple majors and win five or six more times and sustain good play for a long time.

But you know I feel good physically and I mean I know that other than just being not a long hitter, I think everything else, I'm okay with. Ball-striking-wise, my short game is fine and I think it's just going to have to be dedicated to it and work hard enough to keep winning.

Q. Given the depth right now on TOUR, what do you think a benchmark ought to be for the Hall of Fame, 15 wins, three majors, 12?

DAVID TOMS: I think it's 15 wins and a couple of majors, and playing well for a long period of time. I mean, you know, I don't think you could win five times, three years in a row and then disappear. If Joe Mudd had done that in his career and won three years in a row, and he's nowhere to be seen for ten years -- so I think just playing well for a long time. And maybe cuts made needs to be part of the equation, too, somebody that he dedicated their whole I've to the Tour, played a full schedule every year, and played great maybe that should be part of it.

Q. Modern player, 21 teams, two majors, great Ryder Cup record, Hall of Fame, didn't even come close to getting in, what do you think of that? I speak of Lanny Wadkins who you have a close relation to.

DAVID TOMS: I think that's -- I mean, Lanny, why is he not in it? Because he's been in golf his whole life; he's been an ambassador of the sport; he's played great; he's won a lot. I think he should be in. I've never really paid attention who is in it, so I didn't even know that he wasn't, but I think he certainly should be voted in absolutely.

Q. Do you know how the voting goes for the Hall of Fame?

DAVID TOMS: No. It's a media thing, isn't it?

Q. Not entirely. Not even a third of it, maybe 25 percent or so.

DAVID TOMS: But I think a guy like that, if I had the same credentials and I wasn't voted in somewhere in my life, I would feel slighted for sure.

Q. Curtis Strange?

DAVID TOMS: Oh, he's got to be in.

Q. He didn't come close, but he's always among the top one or two guys who misses. Lanny two years ago didn't even make the Top-10 of the voting.

DAVID TOMS: Curtis has been No. 1 in the world before. Has Lanny ever been No. 1 in the world?

To me, Curtis, two U.S. Opens, led the Money List, No. 1 in the world, I don't know what you've got to do. Maybe you have to win five majors and 25 times the way that this is going, I don't know. (Laughter.)

Q. When you said you were not a goal-setter, you said because you know the things that you have to do to be successful, what are those things?

DAVID TOMS: Well, I think a lot of it is attitude. I think that a lot of guys out here don't win because of their attitudes not geared that direction. I think when my attitude is right, and being excited about playing golf, because I get down on myself pretty easily when I don't have the results that I want to have. Whether, like I said I'm not a big goal guy, but to get the results I want to, to say hey, you've worked hard and all of a sudden it doesn't come to you right away, I'm kind of like -- I guess I'm impatient when I feel like I am prepared and I've worked hard for one tournament or just a month and I've really worked hard.

Q. A 15-year-old girl playing this week, your thoughts on Michelle?

DAVID TOMS: My thoughts?

Q. Playing.

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, let's go to Michelle Wie. Let's go to her. I think it's good for this golf tournament. I think it's really good for this golf tournament. I mean, she's as nice as can be. The guy that I played with today said she's been out here every day for the last month playing here, so it's obviously important to her and she's going to be prepared. I think she'll do well. If she feeds off what she was able to do last year and step it up just a little bit, I think she can do well. I've never played golf with her, so I have no idea anything about her game.

Q. Will you be curious tomorrow how she's doing?

DAVID TOMS: Absolutely. To me it's the story of the week. To me, the two stories are: Can Ernie win three in a row; and Michelle Wie, how is she going to play. To me I think that's the story here. And it's got, to me, I haven't seen the field, but I've seen some of the players that are playing so it must be a pretty good field, too.

Q. Both Stadlers this week on the golf course.

DAVID TOMS: I think that's really neat. If I could somehow, you know, be playing, still be playing the PGA TOUR and still have my son playing too. I think that would be the ultimate thing that could happen in my life. I think, you know, I guess when I was 30 when Carter was born, so I'd better keep grinding for a while to have a chance, but I think that would be pretty awesome to be able to do that. I guess its depend on how Craig has been, what he's been doing in the off-season. I'm sure his son is excited to be starting the Tour. He's probably been grinding and practicing everything and else. What's dad been doing? I don't know.

Q. Did your son get all of his homework done last week?

DAVID TOMS: That's been a struggle. He's been out for almost a month of school now. To go back on Tuesday, because we don't school Monday because of Martin Luther King day, so Tuesday going back is going to be a struggle. Get up at 6:30, that's 2:30 over here in the morning. I think the first couple of days might not be too bad, because he'll be excited to see all his friends, but after that it will set in and it will be a struggle.

Q. About time for you to go on the road again.

DAVID TOMS: Exactly.

End of FastScripts.

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