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May 11, 2003

David Toms


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Congratulations on winning the Wachovia Championship. I'm sure it's good to be back in the winner's circle. It's a wonderful Mother's Day for your family.

DAVID TOMS: It's been a long time for me. I finally got that monkey off my back, I guess. What a place to start, on a great golf course, first-year tournament, first-class tournament. I probably couldn't have picked a better spot, really.

I've had a great time this week, started early in the week with some entertainment. I was with Wachovia people at some of their client appreciation banquets and met some really nice people there. It just carried over to the rest of the week. I felt very much, for some reason, I just felt at peace this week with my golf game and just the whole surroundings were good. I felt like I was in total control over what was going on, at least for 71 holes.

It will be a week that I'll remember for a long time, just because of the way I played golf. I really feel like this week, I played as well, for the major part of the week, as well as I've ever played a TOUR event. Just felt like I picked my targets, was aggressive when I needed to be aggressive, I backed off when I needed to. I felt like my game plan was right on, and you could see the way I distanced myself from the rest of the field until that last hole that I played extremely well.

Q. Can you take us through what happened on the last hole?

DAVID TOMS: Yes, the tee shot, I was just trying to hit it. I hit a great tee shot there the first three days. I think probably in the back of my mind I was trying to hit it a little bit too hard off the tee. My game plan was to make a birdie and finish off in style.

I wasn't more than ten yards off the entire week with a drive as far as where I was trying to hit it, and there it went 50 or 60 yards off-line. It just came out of nowhere. I wasn't nervous. I'm sitting there with a six-shot lead and felt like I got past 17 without a disaster, the tournament was mine. I wasn't even nervous. The only time I got nervous was when I finally got to the green.

I know all you guys want to talk about that, but I want to talk about how I dominated the golf tournament for 71 holes. Some guy over the last hole said something about Van de Velde, and it's -- whatever. The crowd was great all week until that comment. But, that's okay. They probably wanted to see, you know, see something to make it close.

But the last hole, I got over there and I could have been more aggressive with the second shot and in the trees where I hit my third shot but I chipped backwards. I had flashes of chipping it in that bunker, but I just hit it too hard, hit it in the fairway by the water. I hit a great shot for my third shot, got to where I could hit a sand wedge on the green and stuck it back 40 feet. I could have hit a pitching wedge but then you bring the water over the green in play. All of these things go through your mind.

Playing golf for 71 holes and being very positive of what I was trying to do, then all of a sudden I was trying to hang on and that's why I made an 8. I went from being in total control and picking my targets and knowing what I was trying to do to all of a sudden it being totally different. Today I'm just trying to hang on and finish. So that's what went on.

Q. What were you feeling, having won for the first time since the PGA Championship?

DAVID TOMS: Well my first feeling was, I finally finished last hole. It was like, oh, this is over. But then just -- the last six months or so, my caddie has been having to deal with me, with probably having not quite the most positive attitude in the world; thinking that everything that could go wrong was going wrong, I was looking at him, he was looking at me, and just to finally get rid of that and get a win and get back to playing the kind of golf that I'm supposed to play.

Q. How aware were you of J.P.?

DAVID TOMS: I did not see a leaderboard until I was on 14 green. On 14 green, I was behind the hole looking at my first putt and there was a leaderboard right there but had my umbrella and just pulled it down far enough where I would look at it. I could tell by the crowd, some guys kept congratulating me every time I went up to the tee so I figured I had the tournament won. I knew I was good shape. Then on 14 I knew I had a four-shot lead and then lagged it up close and played the next few holes really solid. I didn't know until 17 green that I had a six-shot lead. I saw that on 17 green right before I was hitting my second putt.

Q. Inaudible?

DAVID TOMS: It did because when I was on 14, I had a four-shot lead and I was really trying to make birdie on 15 just so I could get another shot there, because I just felt like the way the last three holes could play that I needed a cushion, just in case. I don't know, it all worked out.

Q. Inaudible?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, you saw what happened last year at the World Cup, Mickelson and I, he missed the fairway on the last hole and I missed a shot in the water to cost a victory there. I had to deal with that for a couple months before the season started.

Then I went to Phoenix and played great for three days, had a chance to win; didn't get it done on Sunday.

So then The Match Play, to come all the way up against Tiger and then lose it in the end, I had a couple of chances and wasn't able to take advantage of it. I wanted to go out today and I wanted to play a good round of golf and win this golf tournament and I feel like I did that.

Q. How big was that monkey?

DAVID TOMS: It was getting bigger and bigger, every tournament that went along; and every time I was in a position to win and didn't get it done, the heavier it got. When you have high expectations like I do, you know, it's tough when you're not winning, it really is. You see other people that you feel like you have the same game as they do and they are winning; that's the ultimate satisfaction is to win. I don't care, like last year, I made almost $4 million and didn't win a golf tournament. To be honest with you, I don't know how much money I was -- and get a win but still, it was a great year for me, but it wasn't as satisfying as winning golf tournaments. It's always nice to put your shorts on and your Hawaii shirts that first week of January, and finally I get back there.

Q. Inaudible?

DAVID TOMS: I think so. Because the people that got sponsors off the golf course, the people that you just feel like, you know, need to live up to their expectations, live up to your own expectations. I think that pressure that I put on myself is what drives me to try to win and to try to improve. You know, I missed the cut last week in front of my home crowd on a golf course where I've dominated before and played great golf and I missed the cut.

And to be able to come back this week and be in total control of my golf game and be able to win, that feels really good to me, to be able to be down -- I was really down, and I think that sometimes you just have to dig deep and that's what I was able to do.

Q. Inaudible.

DAVID TOMS: Well, I made a couple changes in my golf swing, and that clicked for me. That's the same thing that happened the year I won the PGA. That's how golf is; you hit some good shots and hit it where you're looking and all of a sudden you become confident and you feel like, hey, I've got it. And that's how golf can change. I'm just going to try to stay on top of it and continue to -- continue that maintenance and make sure I don't get to where I was early this year where I felt like I wasn't in control of what I was trying to do.

Q. Inaudible?

DAVID TOMS: Not really. You know, I just became more confident every day in my ability to play this golf course. I felt like my game plan -- what helped me was the fact that we had the same wind every single day, the same direction. So by the end of the week, you know how the holes are going to play. So, that helped.

If the wind would have totally changed somewhere in the middle of the week and we would have seen a different golf course, we would all be starting from scratch again.

Q. Inaudible?

DAVID TOMS: It is. You know, under some tough conditions today with the wind and the rain, I felt like I was just -- I was in that zone where, you know, if I hit it -- if I played conservative and had a long putt, I 2-putted, when I could be aggressive, if I could take advantage of a couple shots that I did hit close, I just felt like -- that's why the last hole was such a shock to me because my emotions were in check. My golf game, my golf swing, I felt good about everything and I wasn't having to battle at all today. It didn't come easy because I still had to take my time and make sure I was prepared for every shot.

Q. Inaudible?

DAVID TOMS: Well, at times, probably a two-club wind. The hardest thing is the ball's wet, the face of your club is wet, the wind's coming from, you know -- I don't know if we ever had just a straight-into-the-wind shot into a green all week. It felt like it was always coming from the side. So it makes it tough, trying to pick your target and your yardage and everything else. My caddie did a great job of that. We communicated well all week, which is good because you know when you get down, when you get down on yourself, you get down on your caddie. He's been with me through thick or thin. He's been there for almost seven of the wins, at least. We look at each other like, what are we doing wrong?

But this week, it's like we clicked, and with the weather the way it was today, he did a great job for me and I owe him a lot for this victory.

Q. You talked about Van de Velde on 18 and the guy congratulating you on 18, what about the guy on 9 ?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah I heard that. Whatever, I think that's the BudLight talking. (Laughter.)

I would hope, I would hope, that somebody wouldn't like me in the eye and say, "Why don't you let everybody back in this golf tournament." I would hope that people are not like that, especially when they don't know me personally. They don't know if I've ever done something wrong to that person, that's different. But somebody that doesn't know me from Adam to look me in the eye and say that, I just think the alcohol is talking. Maybe he did want to see a down-to-the-wire finish.

Q. 10 and 11, playing in the pouring rain --

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, that was big. I thought I hit a great tee shot on 10 and the wind got it and just barely kicked into the bunker had to hit a shot just down the fairway. I had 8-iron left of where everybody else is chipping from the front of the green. I hit a great shot back there to ten feet from the hole and it was pouring down rain, I had my rain top on, the umbrella and put it right in the middle and that felt great.

Then 11, it's still coming down hard and I drove it in the fairway and thought I hit my second shot to a foot and went right at it. But that shows you, I had 163 and hit a 6-iron as hard as I could and it came to just the front edge of the green. So, shows you what kind of conditions we were playing in.

Q. Inaudible?

DAVID TOMS: You need to ask him. I don't know if he had his finger on there long enough. I'm sure -- maybe he thought I was dead, the way I played the last hole, I don't know.

Anyway, I thought that was kind of a neat gesture. He actually told me before I hit my first putt, he (Kirk Triplett) said, "Why don't you knock it in and give them something to cheer about." Maybe that's what I was thinking about when I ran it ten feet by the hole.

He was good to play with. We had a little small talk out there today, talking about how some of the younger guys on TOUR, how far they hit the golf ball and he and I are back there just trying to get it in the fairway and go from there. He was a good partner to play with today.

Q. Players usually leave you a ton of messages congratulating you, what do you expect to hear on your voicemails?

DAVID TOMS: They are going to give me a lot of grief for the way I finished of golf tournament, I'm sure.

At least the guys that played here, they are going to understand how tough the guy course was, how the conditions that we played under today were. They are going to realize that I played a great round of golf until that last hole, and they are going to have to stick it to me a little bit for the way I finished, but that's fine, I can take it. I've got the trophy and that big check -- I don't even know what happened to the big check. Too many numbers on it.

Hopefully I'll get some nice messages. It was a great tournament. It really was. I had to play my best golf to win, and that's the way it should be.

Q. Inaudible?

DAVID TOMS: You know, probably so, because we had no experience. I guess there were a handful of guys that have played this, played some outings here on this golf course, probably not under these conditions that we played under this week, tournament conditions.

But to be able to win a tournament where no one really has any experience on it, that was -- it was good for me because it was something I could be proud of, it really is. Like I said, it was a first-class tournament on a great golf course. It wasn't a fluke that I won because I felt like I played great golf all week.

Q. Can you talk about the shot you played on 3?

DAVID TOMS: On 3, you know that, tee shot was probably, other than 18, was probably the toughest tee shot on the course, the way the wind was down left-to-right. If I hit it down the middle of the fairway, it's going to go through into the rough. I was trying to cut it over the corner of the tree there is and I pulled it, maybe five yards. Literally missed my target five yards and dropped down in the rough.

I had a similar shot yesterday on 11. Kind of punched a 6-iron on 11 yesterday and just went a little too far and ended up making bogey. I had very similar shot, hit the same club, and ran it up on the green. Went to about 15 or 18 feet.

Q. Inaudible?

DAVID TOMS: No. That was a three-quarter -- I had 148 yard or something to the front of the green. I just played it back in my stance. You know, if it wasn't for the limb that was about 20 yards in front of me, I could have hit a normal shot with an 8-iron or something like that. Just had to take a little bit off and run it up there. One of those shots that comes off perfect.

Q. Inaudible?

DAVID TOMS: I don't think she minds at all. She's at home being a t-ball mom these days. They had some festivities going on today in my neighborhood, over at a friends's house for a Mother's Day thing. She was going out with her mom tonight. Hopefully they got to watch the golf tournament. I'll be home tonight. I'm sure she'll still be up to pick me up at the airport.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Let's go over your birdies on 3 and 7.

DAVID TOMS: 3 is where I punched a 6-iron up to about 15 or 18 feet and made a nice putt there.

7, I hit a 4-iron just to the left fringe and 2-putted from the left fringe from about 80 feet or so.

10, I hit 8-iron to about 10 feet or so.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, David, and congratulations.

End of FastScripts....

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