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May 28, 2004

David Toms


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Defending champion David Toms. Welcome to the FedEx St. Jude classic media center. Great day for you today, career low 63 at the TPC South wind. Now you have 10 rounds in the 60s. Talk about the golf course today.

DAVID TOMS: Obviously the golf course is playing easier today, and we knew that before we even got out there because I could see a few of the scores on the board. And one of the guys in the locker room was commenting on it.

I got off to a good start, I mean, a real good start. I was 5-under through the first six holes. The middle of my round was a little bit slow, but it was a combination of bad speed on a few putts and also I was kind of in-between clubs a few times.

I wouldn't say I ever really struggled any during the round but I lost my momentum during the round, but it was a great day.

We had a lot of birdies in our group. Bob Estes birdied the last seven holes after a triple bogey on 11. We fed off each other the whole time and had a good day.

Q. Talk about yourself rounding into form now. Seems like you've been playing better and better the last couple of weeks culminating with this week. Kind of go through your year so far and how you've progressed with your injury.

DAVID TOMS: You know, it's been real slow. I've been very disappointed in my performance so far even though I've had a couple of decent tournaments.

I missed the first eight tournaments or so and just never found the form that I had the last few years. I've been working hard on my game, maybe at times a little too hard. I just try to go out and have fun this week and things are coming together, and I'll start making some putts, also. So things have been real big for me this week.

If I can have a good weekend that would mean the world to me, if I can have a chance Sunday afternoon because it's been a long time since I've been there, so we'll see.

Q. Is it too late to talk them out of digging up the course? 10 rounds in a row in the 60s?

DAVID TOMS: Any time that you're trying to improve the golf course, improve the tournament, improve the quality of the field, and stage and even bigger and better tournament and sponsor in FedEx, more power to them.

I'm sure I can play the next one good, at least I think I can anyway, who knows. Maybe I'll go out there and help them do it so I'll know some ins and outs of what's going on. They're trying to improve the event just like everybody is, and I think it'll help this golf course, and if it improves their field, then it's successful.

Q. You're obviously feeling pretty good vibes from being here at Southwind?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I like it. Earlier in my career I didn't play here very well, but it seems like the more I've played the better I've played. The last few years it's been good to me. Also, I've played it well but I've just played better golf. I don't think it's just this golf course, it's just my golf game has gotten better over the last few years, so that probably has a lot to do with it, also.

Q. Was this as good a round as you've shot this year?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I played great. I know it was not a very difficult day, but I really didn't struggle at all out there. I think 14 was probably -- I missed the green on 14, had a real difficult bunker shot and ended up hitting a great shot and getting up-and-down, but other than that I was in control the whole day, hitting a lot of greens, a lot of fairways, so as far as playing solid golf. This is as good as I've played in a long time, not just this year.

Q. Given the conditions yesterday, was yesterday's 67 just right behind today's 63?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I played great yesterday other than I screwed up the fifth hole yesterday from the middle of the fairway, and I hit it in the water at the last. And if I birdied No. 5, which is an obvious birdie hole from the middle of the fairway, where I had an iron into a par 5, if I birdied that, then I had an even better round yesterday than today's.

Q. What did you think when you saw Fred pull the pom-pom out on No. 3?

DAVID TOMS: Well, he said something about it yesterday. He said he had some, and then in the morning he showed them to me. I laced a 3-iron into the third hole today and hit it about two feet and made eagle, and he pulled them out on the third hole, so I knew he had them, and there on 18 he made sure the crowd knew he was on my side, I guess.

Q. Do you enjoy playing with him?

DAVID TOMS: I do. We've been partnered before. We've played a lot of golf together over the years, but we were partnered at the Presidents Cup last year. We played together in the CES Charity Classic before. It seems like I've gotten paired with him before, and he's always pumped me up and said positive things to me.

I've always had a problem with believing in my ability sometimes, and it seems like when I play with Fred he's always giving me that, you're good, just believe it, kind of thing. So he's good for me to play with anyway.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Can we go through your round? Start on the front side, No. 2, with a birdie.

DAVID TOMS: I hit a sand wedge to probably six or eight feet, made that one.

On 3, I hit a 3-iron to a couple feet from the hole and made a great eagle there.

5 was just right of the green and chipped up to about ten feet and made it.

The next hole I hit another sand wedge in, maybe 12 feet or so, made a nice putt.

12, I hit a pitching wedge about 12 feet, made a nice putt there.

16, I hit it over the back of the green and chipped up about six feet, made a nice birdie there.

Then 18, I hit a 7-iron about five or six feet again, made a nice birdie there.

Q. How strange was Bob's round? I mean, four birdies in a row, bogey, triple bogey, seven birdies in a row?

DAVID TOMS: I think we were feeding off each other early because I got off to a great start. So did he, made four birdies in a row early. You know, 10, he hit a bad drive and kind of left it out short of the green and didn't get up-and-down, didn't hit a very good chip.

Then 11, it's one of those holes that he actually hit the right club and hit just over the front bunker, hit the downslope and rolled all the way through the green into the water. Then he hit it on the green and three-putted. I felt bad for him because he was in control, played a great front nine, and then two holes later he was giving it all back.

I talked to him at the end, and I said that's the best comeback I've ever seen after a couple bad holes. I don't know how that affects his bounceback stat making seven birdies in a row after a triple, but I thought it was unbelievable. He had radar with his irons all the way through the backside after No. 11. He was grinding it out.

He's a past champion here, likes the golf course, made tons of birdies today, so I'd look for him to play great on the weekend.

Q. Being in this position and having played so well now for so many rounds, what's your approach going into Saturday?

DAVID TOMS: Well, if the golf course stays like this, like it was today, there will be a lot of good scores tomorrow. Somebody will come from back in the pack to get up there, so I've got to go out and play a really good round of golf tomorrow to continue to separate from everybody else.

So that's what I'm going to do. But at the same time they're putting the pins on the edges, and I'm sure they'll try to make it difficult tomorrow, so I'll have to pick my spots and continue to play smart golf like I have the first two days. If I can continue to make the putts and drive the ball in the fairway I'll have a lot of opportunities to make birdies.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: David Toms, thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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