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May 5, 2004

David Toms


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, David, for joining us for a few minutes back here, the champion from last year. You had a chance to play the course today and there were some changes out there. Talk about the changes and we'll go into questions.

DAVID TOMS: Changes: No. 2, first of all, it's about 20 yards longer. I think last year I was hitting an 8-iron. I hit a 6-iron today. It's a little bit different.

No. 8, a totally different hole, really. The tee shot is not the second. The second shot is not even close to the same. It's an interesting green there. I don't think they'll use the pin they used today, at least I hope not for the tournament, there's not much green there. Probably a similar type hole, it's going to be hard to get it close. You'll see maybe some more birdies, but I think there you might see some others that last year you didn't see many of.

No. 9, it's a lot longer hole. I don't know how many yards they put onto nine, but I hit driver and 5-wood today, I hit them both real solid, and I never hit a wood into it last year. I think 4-iron was the longest club I hit in there last year, so it's definitely a more difficult hole.

No. 11, they put some trees in through the fairway on the tee shot, which tightens up that hole a little bit. That's about all I can say, other than I thought the golf course was playing a good bit longer today, maybe because of the rain they had this weekend, and last year I think it was in the 90s or so when we were playing so the ball didn't seem to be traveling as far. I would say it was noticeably longer than the first three days last year, for sure.

Q. (Inaudible)?

DAVID TOMS: I think at least. I don't know. They might have forgotten. I don't know. Did it need it? I don't think so. Last year I think the wind was down left to right, I thought it was a difficult tee shot, because I couldn't get over the trees. It was tough to fit it in the fairway before it went through the fairway on the right. Now I think it will be much easier to hit the fairway, although the fairway bunker is in play now. I just think that as far as the width of the fairway and the angle that you have, I think it will be easier to hit the fairways, just you will have you a longer shot into them.

Q. Were the greens a little more severe?

DAVID TOMS: The holes, you know, today I hit a driver and I had maybe 65 yards or so to the pin, and the pin was on the very back. So to me, when you have a hole that is that short -- I would have a problem with it if the hole was 440 but it's not, it's 340, so I don't have any problem with it at all.

Q. (Inaudible)?

DAVID TOMS: I hit it about a foot today, to a pin that you can't get to, but I did.

Q. (Inaudible)?

DAVID TOMS: I think it's going to get a little shady around the cup. There's not just a very big area up there, and you'll have guys not real happy about it if they put the pin up there.

Q. (Inaudible)?

DAVID TOMS: It will be interesting to see how guys play the hole. Will they lay back so they can hit a full shot, or will they hit a driver up there where they only have 30, 40 yards and have a real difficult up-and-down. I don't know, I haven't played it enough to know what's best for me to do. We'll wait and see.

Q. Are you glad the field is stronger this year?

DAVID TOMS: I expected it after the response from the players last year, I mean, everybody loved it, they took care of it, it's a big purse, great golf course. To me, it should have a great field. The guys that aren't playing here, they're missing something, they're missing a good event. It didn't surprise me at all.

Q. Is it more fun to defend your title with a great field?

DAVID TOMS: It makes it harder to defend your title. I've always said if you do win a tournament, you want to beat the best players, because that way you don't have any doubt whether you can do it if they're all here. To me, it's about going out, and if I play my best golf, I'll be right there in the end. That's all I can do.

Q. (Inaudible)?

DAVID TOMS: He was here, Vijay was here. The way he finished off the year, he was definitely the best player towards the end of last year, and what he's showing this year so far, to me, he would be the guy to beat this week, for sure.

Q. How do you feel about your chances?

DAVID TOMS: Last week I started playing better tee-to-green. My game was much better last week than it has been in the last couple of months. I'm excited to get started tomorrow. Obviously I can play well on this golf course and I felt good out there today playing golf, so we'll see. I just want to start playing better and I feel I'm getting close.

Q. (Inaudible)?

DAVID TOMS: I don't have -- you know, other than weakness, maybe, or weaker than that hand has been in the past, just because of having surgery, that might be all. I'm not really in any pain right now. I had some swelling problems there around the Masters in Atlanta and changed some medication and I'm doing much better with that. I have no excuses whatsoever.

Q. (Ryder Cup question.)

DAVID TOMS: Am I thinking about that? No, I'm thinking about just wanting to play good again. I think that will take care of itself, if I play like I'm capable of playing. Golf is not a whole lot of fun when you're struggling. And when you're playing good, you can't beat it. I just want to get back to playing well.

Q. (Inaudible)?

DAVID TOMS: I know the year was 2001 for me, the last time that I was in that position. I looked at it a lot and put a lot of pressure on myself and got to the point where I was struggling that summer. I was missing cuts and not playing that great. And when I did make a cut, I wasn't contending, and all of a sudden I felt like I just wanted to play good golf and I did that and won the PGA Championship and it took care of itself. So I need to get back to that.

I desperately want to make the team because I've always said if you're not playing on it and you have in the past, then you know what you're missing. It's the greatest golf event of the year, for sure. It doesn't happen every year, so I want to be part of it.

Am I doing anything different trying to make the team? No. Do I look at it from time to time? Yes. Like I said, if I play well, we won't be talking about it, I'll be on the team. And I won't have to put Hal through, will I pick David or not. I don't want to be on that fence. I want to be securely on the team and I should have a chance if I just play well. That's all there is to it.

Q. (Inaudible)?

DAVID TOMS: Well, I've played well in that event before. I like all the guys. I mean, I get along well with everyone that would have a chance to make that team. At the same time, if you're a captain, you've got to pick the guys that are coming in playing well, the guys that are hot, not the guys, to me, that are just kind of hanging on trying to make the team. If I was the captain, that's how I would feel. I want the guy that's coming on. Even if it's the guy that's way back and he makes it up to 20th on the list, but he's played his butt off the last two months going into the event. That's someone you've got to look at.

Would I go and say I'm not playing good, tell him that? Probably not. I'm not going to do that, but he can tell, he watches that. He's close enough to what's going on out here to know the guys that are playing well, and I think that's going to help him, as far as his captaincy, he'll know, And guys that might play that course good.

I remember that course being awfully difficult, having to drive the ball well, when I played the Open there in 96, I guess it was. He's not going to pick a guys who's spraying it all over the place, I wouldn't think. He'll do a good job with it.

Q. (Inaudible)?

DAVID TOMS: Not really, because a month later I won at Memphis with a 2 or 3-shot lead going into the last hole, and you can have as much bad stuff happen on that hole as on this hole. I piped it right down the fairway, hit it to the right of the pin, middle of the green, 2-putted, got out of there. That was erased pretty quick.

Q. (Inaudible)?

DAVID TOMS: I don't watch it. The only time I watch it is if my son wants to watch it. It's one of those days where he doesn't have the cartoons on that he wants, and we'll pull out of the VCR tapes. Every once in awhile we'll dot hat. I don't like to watch myself on the nightly news. I don't know, to me it's just like whatever, I'm going to go do my job the next day and move on.

Q. (Inaudible)?

DAVID TOMS: I have a time or two, because people have those highlights and they'll show it at different functions. Do I watch it and see what I was doing in my golf swing and what my tempo was like, what my putting stroke was like? No, I have not gone and done that.

End of FastScripts.

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