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March 2, 2003

David Toms


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Welcome, David Toms, runner up of the Accenture Match Play Championship. David, it was a great week. You won five matches, had a great match with Tiger today, put some pressure on him on the final 18 holes. Give us some opening comments about the week, and today specifically.

DAVID TOMS: First of all, I'd say I had a successful week, seeing as I wasn't playing very good golf coming in. I had to play the best golfer in the world to try to win the tournament, and I didn't have much golf this morning. I didn't play well at all and got down really almost -- well, obviously, too far to come back. But I'm pleased with the way I played. I finally made a few putts on these poa annua greens. I'm looking forward to sweating down in Miami. I can't wait to get there.

Q. David, on 15 when you hit that short one, did you think the momentum was turning a little bit towards you?

DAVID TOMS: On 15? When I made birdie on 15?

Q. Yes.

DAVID TOMS: I was still 1-down at the time?

Q. Yes.

DAVID TOMS: Well, I mean, I guess. I knew I had 17 to play, which was almost 490, par-4, with no roll, which is a long hole for me. He's at advantage there. He can reach the last hole. I can't reach the green in two. He has an advantage there. So I thought that 16 was going to be the hole where I needed to pick up a shot coming in. And I just hit my 6-iron heavy. I had it going right at it, and didn't hit it solid enough to get there.

And then 17, I drove the ball in the fairway pretty much the whole day, and to miss the fairway on my next to last hole, when it was the fairway I needed to hit was disappointing.

Q. How do you keep yourself in the match, when he birdies the first hole in the afternoon?

DAVID TOMS: Because I'm not going to quit. That's not my nature. We're on national television. I want it to last a long time, you know. I don't want to get embarrassed on national TV, and I wanted to try to play my best golf. I felt like the last 18 holes I played on this golf course, as long as it was playing with a semi-breezy conditions, I thought I played extremely well.

Q. You called it a successful week. Given how you were playing coming in, given the hole that you put yourself in in the morning, and what you said about it being national TV, is this the successful finish?

DAVID TOMS: I think so, just the fact for my goal for the afternoon was to try to chip away. And when he got 5-up just after the first hole in the afternoon, I just had to dig deep, not to give in, because it would be easy to do at that point. So I'm proud of myself for not doing that. And sure, even though I got beat, I felt like at least this afternoon was a success, because I felt like I played good golf. I just got beat.

Q. David, when you came off the first 18 holes, obviously there were a lot of chances for you. Tiger Woods wasn't playing his best. Was that disappointing coming off the first 18?

DAVID TOMS: Sure, because he wasn't playing that well, either, and I had a chance. If I'd have played this morning, like I did this afternoon, I'd be the next guy coming in. So that's okay. Like I said, I dug deep and I hung in there.

Q. On the back nine, 1-down, I think you go to 13. Did you drive through the fairway there, you had a tough lie?

DAVID TOMS: Not really. I just misjudged the wind on my second shot. I did it on the next hole, also. He hit it in the bunker, and I was in the middle of the fairway with a 7-iron, I misjudged the wind. I came up 12 yards short in the bunker. That was the pivotal hole, the one you're talking about. He made birdie and I was siting there with a wedge, pretty close to the green, where I should get the ball inside 10 or 12 feet and have a chance. And I'm back there 40 feet and not putting pressure on him.

Q. Do you remember the yardage?

DAVID TOMS: 109 to the hole.

Q. How would you characterize the 20th hole, the par-3, in regards to the match?

DAVID TOMS: That was big, because he just went 5-up after No. 1 and hit a great shot at the next hole. That's a long par-3, and I stepped up behind him and hit a 4-iron and hit a good, solid shot, but I was still outside of him. And to make the putt and him miss his, I think that was a point in the match where it was getting out of hand, but I was able to come back.

Q. David, how exhausted are you, after what you went through with food poisoning, and 36 holes today and the emotional swing of today?

DAVID TOMS: I feel fine right now. I think just the adrenalin and having a chance at at least the last nine holes, I had a chance to still win the golf tournament. And having that chance kept me going throughout the rest of the day. And I feel fine right now. I'm sure I'll be zonking out here soon. But right now I'm okay.

Q. You said it's your nature not to quit, but usually when Tiger gets any sort of lead, he slams the door. Did you ever think I'm not going to quit, but at the same time, this is really, really bleak?

DAVID TOMS: Sure. We all have those -- the little guy in the back of your head that's talking to you all the time, putting those negative thoughts in there. But that's a battle within yourself. And I was able to overcome that and to continue just to hit shots and play good golf.

Q. The 17th hole, with your lie, you got relief?

DAVID TOMS: I got relief from the cart path over there. I didn't have much of a shot. I was trying to hit a -- I got lucky. It went through the trees, instead of around it. I had a tough lie over there. I couldn't even see my ball. I could see the top of it, but it wasn't much of a lie, at least to try to get the shot halfway close to the pin.

Q. With winning the PGA, do you feel you're now one of those like Phil Mickelson and Tiger?

DAVID TOMS: I do, when I'm playing good golf, like this afternoon. I think I can compete with just about anybody on Tour. I'm going to have my weeks where I'm going to have chances to win, and hopefully I'll get a win. But when I play my best golf, I can compete with them. It's just on an off day, it's very difficult. Their bad day is a lot better than my bad day.

Q. Did any of your Ryder Cup experience help you today?

DAVID TOMS: Sure it did. Yeah, just to hang in there. There's so many weird things that can happen in a match, to know you're never out of it until they say you're done. Even on the last hole, he had it in there three feet, three and a half feet, and I still thought I could chip it in. I hit a good chip. So you just don't give in until they say, hey, you're done, go home.

Q. The swing on the tee shot at 17, just a block?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, the wind was left-to-right there. It's a tough tee shot. I'm trying -- it was a little bit downwind and it's a long hole for me, so I'm trying to get it up in the air to get wind under it. I hung back and blocked it a little bit. I don't think I hit that bad of a shot. It just got up high and the wind started taking it, and kicked to the right. And that's just a bad spot. But the left rough is bad there, too. You have to hit that fairway. I've been driving the ball great. You saw it. I was hitting it down the middle every hole, and to miss that fairway, I was very disappointed.

Q. Tiger has now finished his opening act, a win at Torrey, top five at Riviera, a win here, coming off of knee surgery, can you talk about what it means to the top 50 or 20 or 10 in the world to see him do that?

DAVID TOMS: Well, I mean he said he feels better now than he did last year, physically. So he seems fine. He's swinging at the ball as good as I've seen him swing in a while. He's very much in control. The only time he seemed to get off out there, he'd get out of rhythm every once in a while and try to hit it hard. But when he played within himself, he had a lot of good shots. You don't realize how hard it is for a guy to hit the ball that hard, even with as much spin. He had to chip the ball around the golf course. He can't hit a normal iron shot from the fairway. If he hits it normal, every ball would spin off the green. He was hitting one or two more clubs than he would, and just chipping it in there. And to be able to hit those shots shows a lot about how his game has progressed. I know when he was first on Tour, everybody was talking about how he couldn't control his distance, but now he's one of the best you'll ever see.

Q. Does it feel ominous at all?

DAVID TOMS: When he plays good, he wins. We all know that. What, 13 World Golf Championships, he's won 7 of them. 7 for 14. I'd like those -- that would be pretty nice. 36 wins --

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Seven and a half million dollars.

DAVID TOMS: I'm just glad he doesn't play 25 tournaments.

Q. Did you feel like anything you did today put enough pressure on him that affected a shot?

DAVID TOMS: I don't know that it affected any particular shot. Maybe I got into his head just a little bit, but I think it was more of he was missing some short putts, and his speed was bad on his longer putts, and I think that was probably more getting to him more than my game was getting to him. I think he probably was disappointed that he was beating himself there a little while.

Q. After the first 18 was final, when the second 18 started, did you want to come out real quick and try to narrow that lead in the early going or try to pace yourself all the way?

DAVID TOMS: I was just trying to pace myself. This golf course, it's long enough for me where there's -- I don't know that there's two birdie holes in a row on this golf course for me, you know, where you feel you step up to the tee, and you hit a good shot, hey, this is a birdie-able hole. You just have to grind away at each shot, because it's long enough -- you saw it. I was hitting 4 -, 5 -, 3-irons, 6-irons, but then you finally get a wedge, and you're worried about spinning it back too much. So there's not a lot of birdie opportunities out there. You just have to peck away at it.

Q. After a tough morning on the greens, you came back, and seemed to putt a lot better this afternoon. Did you do anything in between?

DAVID TOMS: I think my allergy medicine finally wore off. I was jittery this morning. I had been struggling with that the last few days, and took an allergy pill this morning and I was a little shaky. Maybe I was getting tired, and everything just slowing down, and I felt great on the greens this afternoon.

End of FastScripts....

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