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May 29, 2004

David Toms


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, David, for joining us. First of all, let me begin with the Crestor Charity Challenge. As the 54-hole leader, David is the winner of this week's Crestor Charity Challenge.

This week's charity is the St. Jude's Children Research Hospital who will receive $50,000 from the FedEx St. Jude Classic and Crestor. In addition $50,000 will be given to the health care charity of David's choice. Congratulations.

DAVID TOMS: Thank you. First of all, it's nice to have a great sponsor in Crestor. I think it's -- what I heard about this earlier in the year, I'm on the Policy Board and I thought it was a wonderful idea.

It just goes to show you what the PGA TOUR is all about. Besides us players, it's all about charity, and I think that obviously FedEx and the St. Jude people have a great tournament here, and St. Jude will definitely benefit a lot from this, and I'll see what I'm going to do with my share of it, I guess. I'm sure that if it's not St. Jude it will be something very similar, and we actually -- Hal Sutton and I have an event in Shreveport that we're trying to get a children's hospital built so our area kids don't have to come all this way to Memphis. It will be put to good use, that's for sure.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Now to the competition. Another great round here at TPC at Southwind. Why don't you just talk about how you're playing.

DAVID TOMS: I got off to another great start today. Conditions were ripe for scoring early. I played really well and I was 5-under through 7, I guess.

And I made a good swing at 9, made bogey on 9 but I hit the club I thought I needed to hit, hit it right at the pin where I thought I needed to and it went all the way over the green and made bogey there.

But then I came back on the tough 11th hole an made birdie there. The backside got tougher, got windier. They had the pins in the corners.

The only hole that I really would like to have back was 16 because I hit a great drive, I only had 4-iron in and I tried to get a little cute with it over on the right side and hit it right of the green and had a tough up-and-down and made par. Other than that, it was a good, solid day after getting off to a great start and I kind of hung on on the backside and played smart golf.

Q. What have these three days done for your confidence this year?

DAVID TOMS: You know, it seems like every day has been a little bit different. I got off to a good start every day, but I felt good about my game going into the start of the round.

My practice sessions have been good after the round. Before the round I felt like I'm in control and the ball has taken off where I'm looking, so if I just have a good mind set and have a good idea of what I want to do with a shot, it's been coming off, and then my putter has been good, also.

So I'm not surprised because I know it's in there, and good golf is in there somewhere, it just hasn't come out yet this year. It's nice to be playing well, again, be in the hunt. This is why I love to play in the Tour is to be in positions like this or to have a chance to win a golf tournament.

I mean, I was playing so bad a couple months ago I could have packed it in and gone home for a while and waited until maybe I was totally healthy or totally ready to play because I was struggling, but I stuck it out, kept grinding every day, showing up on Tuesday, playing a practice round, playing my Pro-Am days and trying to work hard, and it's finally starting to pay off.

Q. How will the special tee times tomorrow affect your strategy? Will it be an advantage, disadvantage for you?

DAVID TOMS: First of all, we're all going to be playing the same golf course instead of somebody teeing off at 7:00 and then I tee off at 1:00 or whatever it was today. We're all going to be playing under the same conditions, which that doesn't happen very often. A lot of times guys that are playing late can get the wrong end of the deal, but tomorrow we're all playing the same course at the same time.

Plus I won't have to sit around all day to get ready to play golf, sit around thinking about it. I'll just get up early and get after it.

You know, today I got here and I didn't know where to eat breakfast or lunch because I was right in between. Tomorrow it'll be breakfast time.

Q. What did you go with?

DAVID TOMS: I went with a brunch, how about that (laughter)? Obviously they're doing it because of weather, so maybe it's going to be a tough day out there, I don't know. You never know in these parts when the storms come in what happens. It could rain tonight and the greens could soften up, could be really windy tomorrow and it doesn't rain tonight and it could play a lot like it did Thursday afternoon. You just don't know. I'll wait until tomorrow when I get out on the range to come up with a game plan how I want to play the course.

If they have high winds, all I can say is I hope the field staff sets up the golf course to where there still can be some birdies made tomorrow, so just to make it an exciting tournament and fun for the fans. I know we struggle a lot of times in the majors. I don't know what the fans want to see, but I would think -- they got pretty excited when I was making birdies out there today. Hopefully they'll give us a chance to do that.

Q. Haven't you done your part not to make this an exciting tournament (laughter)?

DAVID TOMS: Well, it was exciting for me today, and there were a lot of people out there watching golf that seemed like they were pretty excited, too. I don't know, I just had fun. I've had fun the last three days playing golf and I'm going to go out there tomorrow and do the same and hopefully play well.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Can we go over your birdies and bogeys?

DAVID TOMS: Yes. I hit a 9-iron to No. 1 about 12 feet or so and made a nice putt. 3rd hole, hit it in the green side bunker in two and hit a sand shot out pretty close, about three feet.

Then I birdied the next par 5, right up by the green in two shots and chipped up about, I don't know, a couple feet or so, made a nice birdie there.

Hit a sand wedge -- birdied the next hole, hit a sand wedge about 12 feet, made a nice putt.

Then I hit a 9-iron about 20 feet, No. 7, hit a nice putt there.

Bogeyed 9, hit it over the green, didn't get up-and-down.

Birdied 11, hit an 8-iron to about 12 feet, made it.

Birdied 13, hit another 9-iron to about ten feet, made a nice putt.

And I parred the rest.

Q. Vaughn said he was pretty nervous out there. I'm wondering if you noticed that. Also, do you remember the first couple of times you were in a situation where you were playing the weekend in one of the final groups?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I think one of the first times -- my best finish my rookie year was 3rd at Tucson, but I came from way back and shot a low round the last day. I remember being paired with Payne Stuart in Flint, Michigan, one time and we were in the last group or next to the last group on Saturday or Sunday, and that golf course, every hole is parallel and there's a lot of people out there. And they were all over the first tee, two or three deep, and they were going crazy for him and I remember getting it in the fairway on the first hole, and he said, man, put your blinders on, don't pay attention to what they're doing with me and go out there and have fun. That helped a lot.

Today we walked off the first tee and I talked to Vaughn all the way up to our second shots because I know what it's like because I've been there. I was trying to talk to him and just maybe get his mind off of golf and just talk a little small talk. So I did that a few times out there today, but it's still tough.

We're both out there trying to compete as hard as we can. I wouldn't say we're buddy-buddy out there at all. I mean, we talked a little bit and hopefully that helped him because I know it's helped me in the past.

Q. You mentioned that mentally feeling comfortable with your mental approach has been maybe the biggest key this week? Is that still the same because you used your putter really well but you were also hitting your irons right on, as well?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I've done a good job of committing to the shot I'm ready to hit, whether it's a fade, a draw, not being uncertain of the club I'm trying to hit, making sure if it's even not the right one.

Like 9, when I hit it over the green I was confident that was the right shot, even when I hit it 15 yards over the green. I wasn't hesitant with what I was doing. Tomorrow if it gets windy I'm going to have to do even a better job of it.

Q. When you were trying to get back to the -- trying to get your game back, did you ever lose kind of the concept of yourself as being one of the Top 10 players in the world?

DAVID TOMS: Oh, I lose that even when I'm playing well if I'm not getting results. This is a fragile game, and guys have a lot of ups and downs. It's been like that my whole career. It seems like when I get on that roll and get confident, I play well a bunch. I mean, it's the toughest part. That is the toughest part.

I remember Dr. Rotella told me one time, we know you can talk yourself into a bad shot, why can't you talk yourself into a good one. That's easily said, hard to do. But that's the mind set I have to try to have, and I've done a lot better job of doing that this week.

Q. During the comeback from the injury, I know you've been here a cupful times visiting with Rob Akins. What is that relationship like and how has that helped you?

DAVID TOMS: He's helped me tremendously since probably 1996. Definitely one of the main reasons that I'm sitting here today as a nine-time winner on the Tour is because of his help. I owe him a lot, and we work well together. I would hope that I've done something for him and to help him further his career, also. It's been a good relationship.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, David.

End of FastScripts.

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