March 5, 2003
JOHN BUSH: We would like to welcome David Toms into the interview room. David, thanks for spending a few minutes with us. Fresh off of a second-place finish off of the Accenture Championship. Comments on last week and your thoughts here at Doral this week.
DAVID TOMS: Last week was obviously a successful week for me. I got some confidence back that I needed to get back. I struggled for a couple of weeks and some positive things happened last weekend though my health wasn't that great, but I played some good golf and felt like I battled the No. 1 player in the world down the stretch to at least make it interesting and take a lot away from last week. And fast as this week goes, I played the pro-am today. I got here last night so it's the first time that I've seen the golf course this week and it's in excellent shape. It looks like the wind is going to be a factor this week if it continues the way it is now. The greens are going to be quick. I look forward to a good week. I played decent here last year. I like the golf course. Back on Bermuda grass which I tend to enjoy and looking forward tattoo a good week.
JOHN BUSH: Questions.
Q. It seems like you go from being super-jacked-up air conditioning to an oven?
DAVID TOMS: Yes, that's exactly what -- I had lunch today with Duval and Stewart Cink and we were talking about it. I felt like the whole West Coast I was slopping around in mud and was always cold even though I saw you in shorts all the time I felt like I was cold all the time. I know you were working on your tan, but I was working on my game.
Q. Just answer the question. (Laughter)
DAVID TOMS: No, it's warm. But you know, I was at home Monday and Tuesday. It was still cold and wet there. I welcome the sunshine and the heat today. I thought it was nice. I probably needed to sweat a little bit to get whatever was in me out. It felt good.
Q. Some people wondered between you being sick and playing so many holes last week how close to 100% you will be this week. Are you physically fit now?
DAVID TOMS: Yes, I feel fine. Actually I had dinner last night, breakfast and lunch today. I feel good. I'm just a little tired from all of the holes that I played last week, but Monday and Tuesday, I didn't do much at home. So I tried to rest. Actually all day Monday afternoon I fell asleep about 1:00 in the afternoon and slept all the way through the night. I caught up on my sleep any way.
I will be ready to play just because I'm looking forward to playing. I felt like I had a good week last week and did some good things and I'm ready to go bet in competition.
Q. Nobody wants to get sick like that, but was there anything that you were able to get out of it in terms of not overdoing something or staying --
DAVID TOMS: Any time I have had health problems I seem to play well, the reason why is you don't get ahead of yours, you live in the moment. You just try to get by. You are not thinking ahead of what your outcome is going to be or really even your opponent in Match Play, I was just really taking care of myself and hitting the shot at hand. It seems to work well, I should learn something from that.
DAVID TOMS: I won the Buick Challenge at Callaway Gardens not feeling so well. I won the Michelob Championship the first year, I won it not feeling so well.
Q. Back and neck?
DAVID TOMS: Yes, back problems which I have had from time to time. So those are the two that come to mind.
Q. Was there any thought of withdrawing Monday or Tuesday?
DAVID TOMS: For this event?
DAVID TOMS: No, my son wanted to come to the pool too bad. No, we had planned this Trip. I represent PGA West which is owned by KSL so they set us up here in the spa. It's a place that we look forward to coming every year. Like I said, it's cold and wet at home. I was going to get nothing accomplished being at home. So it really didn't cross my mind. The only thing is I regret I wasn't able to go to the policy board meetings on Monday and Tuesday which I was scheduled to do that, but I just didn't feel up to it and I knew if I went ahead and made myself go there I wouldn't be up to the challenge to play here. So I went ahead and stayed home and got some medicine and got better.
Q. Since we are in beach weather now, what has been the reaction from the guys out here about the picture of you and your wife as a whole?
DAVID TOMS: You know, you get your normal comments, you get your rude ones; you get your whatever. I can't comment. But on that, what is said, most of it is pretty positive. I guess if there was going to be much negative comment about it they wouldn't say it to my face, or I would hope not. It's been fun. The girl that trains my wife that trained -- she trained for months for that picture. They had a party for her the other day. They had a cake with a picture on the front of it, and they had a little autograph signing for it and the whole deal at home, so it's pretty funny. It's been pretty positive, everything has been.
Q. What can possibly be negative out of that?
DAVID TOMS: I don't know. Maybe if somebody was jealous that they weren't in it maybe they would comment to picture or whatever. I don't think there is anything negative that can come out of it because my wife was fine with doing it and then for me it's good exposure. 56 million copies of a magazine that I'm in that, everybody is going to look at, you are going to have people that aren't golfers know who I am now. They might wish they knew my wife but at least they will know my name.
(Laughter) I think it's been good so far.
Q. Was that an all-day shoot?
DAVID TOMS: Well, it started, the hair and makeup lady started with my wife about 6:30 in the morning and we wrapped up the shoot some time, you know, the middle of the afternoon. So to get that one picture, it took a long time.
Q. Is that easier or tougher than going out and playing 18 holes?
DAVID TOMS: It was no problem at all. We did it at a driving range. We enjoyed the shoot because the people were very nice and they knew what they were doing, they were professionals. They made it, you know, as easy as possible on us, took care of my son the whole time. We actually had a good time.
Q. David, from the two previous tournaments were you hitting the ball that much better at La Costa, or worse in the previous --
DAVID TOMS: I think earlier in the week it was probably about the same but I just continued to get better each day, by the end of the week -- by the weekend I played good solid golf. I don't know, you asked me the question, would I have made the cut, I remember you asking me that, at even par for the first two patches I thought the course was playing tough enough where I would have made the cut in a normal tournament, and then maybe would have had a chance to win because of the way I started to play toward the end. I don't know.
As far as was I playing that much better? Definitely, as of right now I'm playing better than I was two weeks ago.
Q. Confidence is a funny thing. You can say it takes four days to get a win, out there you get a win the first five days, four days --
DAVID TOMS: Yes.
Q. Was that a factor at all? Do you feel confidence building each day?
DAVID TOMS: Yes, I did, just because you move on, and you are that one step closer each time to getting in that final match and ultimately trying to win the tournament. Each time I won -- one a match I felt -- not only do you make more money every time you win, but you get one step closer to the goal. I became more confident each and every match.
Another reason is because I felt like my golf game was getting better. Even though my matches were pretty tight, I still felt like I was playing good golf and I was, you know, hitting better shots, putting better. To me it was always, you know, the short game on the West Coast for me I have always struggled with it; that's why I didn't play ATT this year. In years past I left there not knowing if I was going to make a putt or not from a foot, you know, it's the only tournament that you see all year where guys are marking it from six inches. I didn't want to battle that. And I show up in San Diego after all of the rain, so I'm definitely playing better now than I was at the L.A. Open, that's for sure.
Q. Can you talk about the course setup here and if it favors a long hitter driver or a guy (Inaudible) --
DAVID TOMS: To me, the way the fairway bunkers are on this golf course, I mean, length is always an advantage because a lot of them, they are not have many straight holes here. You have a lot of dog-legs around bunkers; not around trees, but around fairway bunkers and some of the longer hitters can carry all of the fairway bunkers so length is all a factor. But accuracy is important here because a lot of the driver area does get tight if you're not able to hit it that far, I don't know if it favors anybody over another player. If the wind keeps up, it's going to favor somebody who can control there ball in the wind, no doubt, not only control their shots but control their short game when the wind blows on the green sometimes that can be a factor. Plus you have grain now. We have to regrain into the greens. On the West Coast, unless you were on the ocean you didn't really have to consider that. I don't know that that course favors -- it used to be a long golf course.
Now I would say it's more of a medium golf course because they haven't at -- if they added any length, I'm not sure where it is. All of the other golf courses we are playing they are adding 20, 30, 40, 50 yards on some of the holes. Here you are playing the same golf course.
Q. This use to be considered a great driver golf course -- (Inaudible)
DAVID TOMS: I still think with the way the fairway bunkers are you have to drive the ball well for sure.
Q. The setups you see this year, is length being rewarded more than accuracy, do you think?
DAVID TOMS: Well, in wet conditions, yes. I mean, even La Costa it was, you had to -- the length was definitely a big advantage there because the fairways were playing wide because if you ever hit in one, it wasn't going to bounce out of it because it was so wet. We played a lot of wet conditions so far, at least I have, the tournaments that I have played. Length has definitely been a factor. In general I feel that's the way the Tour has been going the last four or five years.
Q. Has that become an issue with the policy board, they are more concerned with short- and medium-range hitters?
DAVID TOMS: I think there is concern, I don't see them doing a whole lot about it right now. I think there is some concern and I think it will be talked about in the near future. I don't know if course setup, or where technology is going, I think you are going to see a combination of a lot of things talked about in which way the game is going.
Q. (Inaudible) but you haven't had the wind, how much does that bother you?
DAVID TOMS: It bothers me a great deal just because I know what it feels like to win. It's the ultimate feeling of success that particular week. And I haven't felt that for a while. I want to get back there soon. But you know, I this think the way to approach it is to go play golf day-to-day and hopefully one of these weeks I will put it all together and play 4 good rounds and come out on top, not to just dwell on it and lay around and thinking I want to be in Kapalua next year. I think that's what I did a lot.
Q. You pressed somewhat last year?
DAVID TOMS: Did I press? Definitely I pressed, because of the year that I had in 2001. This year I've -- I haven't seem to press near as much although missing two cuts in a row made me want to play good golf again not necessarily oh, I got to go out and win the next event but I just want to get back and being competitive. As long as I can be competitive and have a chance on Sunday and see how I perform I'm happy with myself. But I would definitely like to win again soon just because I know what it feels like and it's a great feel.
Q. Do you happen to know how many events that you have played where you come in as the top ranked player in the field?
DAVID TOMS: I have no idea. Not very many. Maybe in high school, college maybe, but not even in college I had to play against Mickelson, Gamez, Mayfair and Estes, Bradley, Stricker, Tryba, and all those guys, probably not even then.
Q. Does it make any difference to you or other guys out there in a tournament because of circumstances does not have any top-5 players?
DAVID TOMS: Does it make any difference that those guys aren't here?
DAVID TOMS: No, you're going to have guys this week somebody has never heard of that might contend. You are going to have guys that haven't won before that might contend. You are going to have guys that play good all of the time that are going to contend to win. You are going to have to play great golf no matter who is here. You just might have a couple of us guys that you have to beat coming down the stretch that have the experience, world-class players that are not here, but you're still going to have to play your best golf to win. And I think that, you know, it will have a good show on television, the sponsor will be happy, the crowd here will be happy. They will have a good tournament. There are a lot of great players here. I mean obviously for the tournament sponsors and the local area sure, you want those guys that are so-called superstars to be here because it adds something to the tournament but it doesn't mean that you can't have a successful event.
Q. What's your policy on Augusta; do you go up there and play before?
DAVID TOMS: No, I won't there be until Monday of the tournament or maybe Sunday night.
Q. You're not someone that goes early and take a look?
DAVID TOMS: No, I get enough of it -- I'll see it enough by Thursday. The golf course changes so much. The first year I played there in '98 I went a month before the tournament and played and it was not even close of being the same golf course when I teed off Thursday morning. So to me, they change a little something every year.
Q. The speed --
DAVID TOMS: Yes, the speed of the whole place, when they try to get it hard and fast. It seems like the fairway has been wet the last few years. The greens they are going to find some way to get them like they want them.
Q. Is it like that in any other major where the speed -- (inaudible) --
DAVID TOMS: Unless weather conditions dictate. They all seem to try to get the greens firmed up and dried out as much as possible because that's the way they think they can affect scoring the most. And at least make you think about what kind of shot you are going to hit into the green and if you had a 20-footer instead of trying to make it, a lot of times they want you to try to not 3-putt. That's the way they all try to control this the scoring, I think.
JOHN BUSH: Anything else? David, thanks for coming by, good luck this week.
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