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August 20, 2004

David Toms


CHRIS REIMER: Joined by David Toms, one of the few players to get the second round finished. Was it nice to get done out there.

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I guess that double I made the first round put me in a position to be able to finish today (laughter). You know, I got stuck out there in it yesterday where I had a lot of holes to play, and other than my last hole this morning, I got on a roll and played solid golf all day, so maybe it helped me to be able to play a lot of golf today. I just did get finished and it got pretty nasty out there on the last hole.

Q. Do you have a good history here?

DAVID TOMS: Do I? I haven't looked at my record here. I played well last year for a couple days. I didn't hold out too well on the weekend.

I like the golf course. It's playing a little long for me right now. I had a lot of 3, 4 and 5 irons out there. It seemed to be long for everybody else I was playing with, too. The fairways are obviously played wider than normal just because you don't get too much roll. You don't want to be in the rough, that's for sure. It definitely a hazard out there this year. You don't see many guys going for the green out of the rough on any hole unless it's one of the real short ones.

Q. It's worse rough than the U.S. Open, isn't it?

DAVID TOMS: When it's as wet as it is, it's a lot worse than the U.S. Open was this year, that's for sure.

You know, I remember the greens being real firm last year. I know the 16th hole played totally different last year. You were having trouble keeping it on the green, getting it over the water and keeping it from going over, and this year you're trying not to back it up into the water. The golf course is playing a lot longer, but the greens are a lot more receptive, so I think you're seeing a lot better iron shots.

Q. I know you've played in the rain a lot over the years, but how do you keep your concentration? There's all kinds of distractions. They stop play, start play.

DAVID TOMS: It just goes to show that you always need to focus on the shot at hand because you never know, we got stuck out there all day. I got to the golf course at 9:30 yesterday morning and was here until dark. You just don't know. You've got to be ready for every shot, be prepared when you go back out each time, be loose, do whatever you have to do to be able to play and get in the right mindset.

Q. Is it easy to get distracted and kind of go off?

DAVID TOMS: Very easy, especially if you're not playing very well. It's hard to just hang in there on a tough golf course like this. If you get behind and you get stuck in the bad weather, it can be just as hard mentally as physically, so I just think you have to be ready to go no matter what the conditions are.

Q. Does it make it a little of a lottery, the outcome, when you've got totally different breaks and you've got the weather?

DAVID TOMS: As far as being able to predict what's going to happen out there? Who knows? I know tomorrow it's supposed to be breezy and a lot cooler, but it's still going to be wet no matter what. The greens will still be receptive, but if it's cooler the ball is not going to be going as far so the course will play longer, so then I would think it would favor one of the longer hitters.

Q. It's kind of like the Ryder Cup, arrive real early and stay until dark? What do you expect this time, your second at the Ryder Cup? How do you expect it personally to be different for you?

DAVID TOMS: Well, I think personally I should be more comfortable and kind of knowing what it's going to be like, maybe handle what happens on the first tee on the first few holes, maybe feel more comfortable there. But still, it's a nerve wracking experience. I think for me, I can't wait. I know when I left the Belfry, I said to my caddie right after McGinley holed that putt, the goal is to get back to a Ryder Cup and the next goal is to win one because I didn't like the feeling of losing last time.

Q. Did Scott say anything back to you?

DAVID TOMS: He said, let's go do it, and that's what we've done. It's a long process. Obviously we've played last well the last couple of years to make it.

Q. You looked at the Belfry like the veteran. You looked like you had been there, you played terrific, looked calm, collected, you were as solid as anyone out there. How do we tell when maybe David Toms is feeling a little bit jittery?

DAVID TOMS: I don't know, I try not to show it, especially to your opponent because no matter what you're feeling on the inside you need to feel confident in what you're about to do. I think Mickelson helped me tremendously. Whenever I would get mentally out of it or not know what to do, not know the strategy, not knowing do I give a putt, do I not, he was always right there to help me through it. I can't say how much that helped me, and obviously we had a lot of success.

Q. How much do you think some of the guys who have no clue what they're getting into will be helped by playing in Detroit and not Birmingham?

DAVID TOMS: That will be huge. I think being over here and playing in front of our crowd, I mean, you can't help it, you're sure to get fired up about it. If you were to get down, instead of having somebody there hoping you're going to hit a bad shot or lose a hole trying to pump you up to get you back on top, so I think it's going to be a different feeling.

Q. What was the first shot that you didn't hit so good over there that you got a reaction for?

DAVID TOMS: I don't know.

Q. You were hitting a lot of them that week (laughter)?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah. You know, I remember the first the matches with Mickelson I remember going pretty well and then I remember getting down to Sergio later on, and it was tough because he's a fiery kind of guy, the crowd is behind him, and he was showing a lot of emotion. I was just trying to stay even. That's the first time I can remember getting kind of frustrated with my game and what was going on in the situation because I knew I needed to win.

Q. I think you're the only one on the U.S. team that's won since May. Is that a problem?

DAVID TOMS: I don't think so. I mean, I had dinner with Commissioner Finchem the other night, and I said, "is it okay for the Tour for all the foreign players to be winning?" I think that's been a lot of it, not necessarily European players but Australian players and South African players and all these guys winning tournaments playing great, it's hard for an American to win with all these guys like Vijay and Ernie and Retief and guys winning tournaments. It makes it a lot harder for us to win.

Guys are playing well, rookie guys have played well to get on the team, and then the two captain's picks have played well and were very worthy of those picks, and other guys that had flashes of playing great this year. I'm just hoping once everybody gets there and gets fired up, everybody is playing well going into the competition.

Q. I'm wondering how much of a challenge it is to adjust to the conditions. The practice rounds were played in mostly nice weather. The next two days it rains, tomorrow it's supposed to be cool and breezy. How much of a challenge is that to adjust to those conditions?

DAVID TOMS: I think we seem to have to do that a lot. Every single week, it seems like one week we're playing in calm, muggy conditions, the next week it'll be cooler and breezy. I think just as a Tour player, you learn to be able to adapt to the conditions because if you don't, I mean, guys will you're not going to play well. One week we're playing on bent grass, another week on poa annua, then you go south and play Bermuda. You just have to be able to do it all. Obviously some people do it better than others in different conditions, but out here on Tour you just have to learn to do it.

I don't know what the secret is. Like I said, the secret is being prepared for what's right in front of you and to do the best you can on every shot.

Q. What prompted you to ask the commissioner that question about foreign players? Was it a concern of yours?

DAVID TOMS: It wasn't a concern of mine. I mean, I've had a couple of older players, even Senior Tour players, say they thought it was with the TV deal coming up they thought it would be great for Tiger to be winning and dominating because TV ratings go up when he's playing well, so I asked the question for my own curiosity, and his answer was no, he thought it was great because of so many people, so many sponsors now, worldwide sponsors with presence all over the world. He thinks it's good for the foreign players to be playing well. I was happy with his answer.

Q. Did you expect a different answer from him (laughter)?

DAVID TOMS: No, I didn't expect anything different, but his answer made a lot of sense to me, so I was happy with that.

Q. Are you concerned about the TV deal?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I mean, I think I'm concerned just like all Americans are what's going to happen in our world. I mean, I think it trickles down and affects us. Just like everybody that has a job out there, what's the future hold, and I guess there's obviously I'm not worried about it because they say we're going to be fine, but we'll have to wait and see.

Q. You could make the same argument for the European players. There are many on the Ryder Cup team in Europe, so it's going to be much the same?

DAVID TOMS: Maybe we'll all shoot 80 and win 2 1. It's going to be a tough golf course. I remember playing the '96 Open there and it was very difficult. I don't know if technology has changed the golf course or if they've made any changes. I can't wait to get there.

Q. Do you think it's just harder to win now than say five or ten years ago?

DAVID TOMS: I don't know, I've always thought that especially in a field like this, anybody that's playing here this week has a chance to win. So when you put when you have the top players that aren't playing their best, anything can happen. That's just the way this game is.

Q. I mean just generally the last few years.

DAVID TOMS: Is it harder to win? I don't know. Somebody asked me if I'm going to play well this week. I have no idea until I get out there and I get going. You just don't know. I was in total control the first round today and all of a sudden I made a double bogey on the last hole out of nowhere. I hit it up against the tree and I had to chip out. Did I see that coming? No. You just won the last week and you come out and you double the first hole and you plug it in a bunker and you double the second hole, and all of a sudden you go from thinking you're going to win to if there was a cut here, just trying to make the cut. So you just never know.

Q. What's the overall state of your game and how do you feel about it versus when you were playing your best a few years ago before the surgery?

DAVID TOMS: I don't think deep down I'm quite as confident just because every day seems like I'm not real sure what's going to happen until I get out there and get into it. I think the key for me right now is driving the ball in the fairway. I struggle with that, you know, every once in a while. One day I'll drive it great, the next day I can't get in the fairway. If I could be more consistent there, I would feel a lot better about it. I would just say overall my confidence isn't quite as high, but when I'm out there playing great, the second round I was in total control, playing great the whole time, never was really in any trouble. Will I do that tomorrow? I certainly hope so, but I'll tell you on about No. 4 or 5.

Q. Your driving accuracy stats aren't quite as good as they were. Is that a function of the wrist?

DAVID TOMS: I have no idea. I don't know. I don't like to make any excuses but obviously I haven't been as consistent. I'll get some shots out there where I'm like "where did that come from" kind of thing, and I feel like I've worked hard on my swing, tried to prepare each and every week best I can, and if I don't get the results, is it something going on? I don't know. I feel fine physically. Am I still weak? I don't think so, but I don't really know. I mean, I wouldn't want to blame my poor driving on the fact that I'm having trouble managing it because I'm not.

Q. You and Hal are close. Do you have any indications of who you might be paired with?

DAVID TOMS: I can't tell you that (laughter). Really, he hasn't. He hasn't said anything about that. I just know that every time that I read a quote from him, he's not, like, I'm not going to have necessarily guys that are comfortable with one another out there because I want them to play great, want them to go out and beat the other team. I don't know if he'll go on who you've been paired with in the past. I don't know how he's going to do it.

Q. How would you feel about partnerships with Mickelson?

DAVID TOMS: Obviously he's playing great, played well all year. Obviously I would like to be paired with him. Our wives get along great, we're good friends, which is a big part of it that week, and if I were to have that opportunity, I think we'd do well.

Q. How many guys on the team can hit Tiger's ball in alternate shot?

DAVID TOMS: I'm not really sure. I don't know which he's playing these days. I don't know. You know, to me, to be honest with you, all the new balls seem to be very, very similar. I mean, I've hit them all on the range, not necessarily meaning to, but they're all mixed in sometimes, and they don't seem that different to me.

Q. When Hal walks up to you and hears you say he might pair you with somebody that you not necessarily not like, but that you wouldn't think you would be paired with, what are you thinking in your own mind? Who am I going to get stuck with or be paired with somebody that wouldn't seem to make sense?

DAVID TOMS: First of all, I would think that he has a reason for what he's doing because I think he's going to do a great job. He's obviously got some great ideas of who he wants to put together, and if he wants to put me with somebody that I haven't played with before or don't hang out with off the golf course, to me that's not a big deal because he would obviously have some reason for that and I would just go out and play.

Would other guys be the same way, I'm not sure, but I think there's that week I think we're all on the same page. I would have a problem with having a teammate that wouldn't want to play with somebody else for any particular reason, especially that week. I mean, I could see here at this golf tournament not wanting to be paired with somebody, that I don't play good with that guy or last time I played with him I shot 80, but in a situation like that, I think that would be unfair to have an attitude like that.

Q. We've had a couple of captains that have been good people but that most people really like. What Hal seems to bring is someone who's going to tell you the way it's going to be. Is that a fair assessment?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I don't see anything wrong with that. I mean, to me, that's why captains pick.

Q. Is that what you guys need? Because people have talked about the difficulty for the U.S. team to be united, that you guys are all having your own lives, have your own jets, going this way. Do you think that personality and that style of "I'm the boss and you're not" might actually be what you guys need?

DAVID TOMS: Absolutely. I mean, the answer is yes, and I think that's I mean, first of all, that's the way it should be in that event. I mean, there's no I know it's hard because guys are competing every single week, and you might have had players who have had situations in the past, but to me, everything should be put aside, and you're playing for something greater than yourself, that's for sure. I think the answer to your question is yes, and he will do a good job with that and he will put everybody in a situation where it's going to be best for everybody to gel, I think. He's going to let it be known.

CHRIS REIMER: David, thank you very much. Good luck.

End of FastScripts.

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