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June 28, 2003

David Toms


TODD BUDNICK: We thank David Toms for joining us after 6-under 65 today, no bogeys over the last 30 holes. David, I'd say that's a good key to good play this week.

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I've played pretty consistent. I haven't been in many tough spots except for today. I had a couple of areas where I had a good couple of them. For the most part, I've been in control the last couple days of playing good, solid golf and giving myself a lot of chances. I got off to a good start today. That was key to having a fairly low round. I was 4-under through 5 and then finished up well, birdied 16 and 17.

TODD BUDNICK: You made eight consecutive cuts here, finished top-15 the last two years. Talk about your feelings heading into the weekend.

DAVID TOMS: Very comfortable on this golf course, comfortable with my spots off the tee as far as where I'm trying to hit the ball off the tee, even though this is a different wind for us here. The last couple days we've had a northeast wind, which is a little bit unusual so you have to be a little bit careful as far as what you're doing out there. You can't get up and hit it like you can when you have that south wind because you kind of know what to do. I feel comfortable. I need a low round tomorrow. There are a lot of guys that are right there. That's the way it should be when you're trying to win tournaments. You need to play well on Sunday. I'm going to have to play extremely well to have a chance.

Q. Nick Price after his round today was thinking that it would take anywhere up to 16-under. Did you know what it would take today to get in contention?

DAVID TOMS: Did I know what it would take today to get into contention to win tomorrow? I thought I would have to shoot or 6- or 7-under par round today to get into position to have a chance for tomorrow. I shot 6-under par and I don't know what the lead is going to be when everything is said and done today, but I think I'm close enough to have a chance with a good round tomorrow. That's what Saturday is all about; no matter what position you're in, whether you're leading or whether you're trying to come from behind, get yourself in position for the last day. If I didn't play well today, I wasn't -- even with a low round tomorrow, I wouldn't have had a chance, so at least I gave myself a chance.

Q. How much would it mean to you to win here? Obviously you know Rob pretty well, you've been here a lot. Would it mean more here than --

DAVID TOMS: Absolutely it would. Outside the state of Louisiana, this is kind of a home away from home for me. I've spent a lot of time here, I have some very dear friends here, my golf instructor is here, a place where I've spent a good bit of time. It would be pretty special just because all the people that I have around, and so far this week the crowd has been fantastic. They've been behind me, very supportive, and a lot of people are out there watching me play golf and voting for me, so to be able to come through for them would be nice.

Q. How often are you here to see Rob or whatever?

DAVID TOMS: It depends on how I'm playing. If I'm playing well, I'll come here very often. The way we've been doing it lately is he's been coming out on the road. It's easier for me. We have practice facilities at golf tournaments, we have balata balls, we have the greens that we're going to play on, and it's easier to practice and prepare at a site where we're playing tournaments. I don't get up here that often. I get up here every once in a while to hunt in the wintertime and when I really need an overhaul in my golf game, I spend a day here and Rob and I get it squared away.

Q. What do you hunt for here and is Rob your shooting instructor, as well?

DAVID TOMS: No, he's a good buddy as well as being my instructor. We go duck hunting. I didn't know there was another type of hunting.

Q. It's going to be a pretty crowded leaderboard. Do you like that or do you prefer it when it's two or three guys?

DAVID TOMS: I don't think it really matters. I mean, I only can control myself tomorrow. I'm going to have to shoot a low round of golf. I probably tomorrow have to play the best round that I've played all week, if the conditions stay the same as they were today. I'm going to have to shoot as well as I did today or even better to have a chance. No matter how many people are there, I don't think it matters. If I can go out and play like I can play, I think I'll have a chance in the end.

Q. Does the win in Charlotte give you more chance going into tomorrow?

DAVID TOMS: I don't have that doubt in the back of my mind, "can I do this again?" It had been a while since I won when I won there and I've gotten that monkey off my back. I know that I can do it again, so that's not going to be a factor tomorrow. The only thing I have to do is go out and play good golf.

Q. How worried were you when you had the back problems?

DAVID TOMS: I was very -- I've never had lower back problems, and it was so bad that I could barely even stand up, so I was extremely worried. I didn't know what it was. Within three hours of when I walked off the golf course, I was back home and had an MRI done and I was glad there was no major damage in my back, so I just needed some time off to rehabilitate it, and I'm fine now.

Q. Did you have any trepidation going into the U.S. Open?

DAVID TOMS: I had no idea what to expect. I hadn't played any golf. I was feeling better, the back was better, but that's a golf tournament where you need to be prepared, and I do my best to prepare the best I can the best I can and I was totally unprepared for that tournament. I tried to mentally stay focused and almost teased myself into the fact that I am prepared because I'm mentally prepared, not physically prepared. That goes to show you that a golf tournament itself is probably more of a mental grind than a physical grind. I didn't have my best stuff but I was able to play a good tournament.

Q. Can you talk about what part of your game has gone extremely well these last four or five tournaments?

DAVID TOMS: You know, I've probably -- in the spots where I have to hit a good shot or I have to recover after a bad shot, I've just done a lot better job of that. When you have a situation where you can make a birdie to keep a round going or you can get up-and-down to keep a round going, and today was a perfect example of that. That's what I'm doing better and it all boils down to confidence is all it is because I've got the same swing and I'm using the same equipment and trying to do the same things for my golf game, and I've started playing better.

TODD BUDNICK: Let's go through the birdies the first four of five holes.

DAVID TOMS: No. 1, I hit a pitching wedge to 12 feet, nice putt there.

I hit a 5-wood to 45 feet on the third hole, two-putted.

Chipped in on 4 with a lob wedge from probably 20 feet off the green.

Next hole I hit a 4-iron to 30 feet and two-putted for birdie.

Then 16, I was over the green, chipped with a pitching wedge to about five feet, made birdie there.

Then 17, I hit a pitching wedge to about a foot and a half.

TODD BUDNICK: You get off to a great start like that and then go through the 10 pars in a row. Is that frustrating?

DAVID TOMS: It was frustrating but I've been out here long enough that the harder you try, it seems like the worse it gets, so I was just trying to stay relaxed and go through my routines on the greens. I was hitting it 20, 25 feet on every hole and burning the edges and not making everything. They were trying to pump me up because I got off to a good start and they were trying to get me going. I wasn't able to do it so I stayed patient and in the end finished up well.

Q. You like the crowd, don't you?

DAVID TOMS: I do. I think that can be one of the best assets out on the golf course when they get behind you. You can use that momentum and you can feed off of them. At the same time, if you're not playing well they're oohing and ahhing out there. When you're playing good I love to have a lot of people out there. It definitely helps me.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you, David.

End of FastScripts....

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