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March 1, 2003

David Toms


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, David, for joining us for a few minutes. A long day out there today. Great match today to end the day with Peter Lonard 1-up. Why don't you make a couple of comments about the day in general and your match with Peter.

DAVID TOMS: I thought we had a good match. I guess I'm supposed to comment on my morning match. I played good golf this morning, made some birdies, got up early on Jerry and it was a big enough lead where it was going to be tough for him to overcome that. And then this afternoon Peter and I both, we battled all the way. I got up, I guess I was 3-up through ten holes, and really didn't give him much to come back. He made a couple of birdies and I missed a short putt over there on 15 that kind of got him back into it.

And then he birdied 16 to get even. And I missed a short one on 17 to have a chance to go 1-up. And then I was fortunate enough to lead it. On the last hole I had a straight uphill putt, one that you can take a run at, and I made it and came out on top.

Q. How long was the length of the putt on 18?

DAVID TOMS: Let's see. I'm guessing 12 feet or so, but I was uphill. His was downhill. He was slightly outside mine, but he had a downhill putt, a very difficult putt, and I was able to take a run at mine.

Q. Did you have a feeling that this one was getting away, and you hadn't done anything wrong?

DAVID TOMS: Well, I did feel like that a little bit, especially when I missed the little short putt on 17. I felt like it was unmatched the whole afternoon. I played good golf, and I was in control the whole time. He was getting up-and-down a lot, and made great putts to keep himself in there. And I felt like I was in control the whole day until -- really until I missed that putt on 15. I didn't give in the whole day until then.

And then he birdied 16, and all of a sudden, A ballgame there. I'm just glad I made the putt on the last hole. I felt like I played good enough the whole day to win that match, and I was able to do that.

Q. What was the putt on 15?

DAVID TOMS: I had a 15-foot putt or so to go 3-up and I ran it -- I thought I made the first one. I ran it about three and a half feet by. And what happened there was my caddy and I disagreed on the line, and I just didn't go ahead and regroup and refocus on the line, I just never really decided where I was going to hit it and I just hit a bad putt. So that's all I can say about that one.

Q. David, you had a couple of uncharacteristically high scores in the last three weeks or so. Did you come in here with a lot of confidence?

DAVID TOMS: I came into this week with zero confidence, really. I'd missed two cuts in a row, which I haven't done in a long time. The West Coast, especially this seaside poa annua, has never been very kind to me. And I just didn't -- I didn't play well at all in San Diego. In Los Angeles, I hit a lot of good shots, but I never really made any putts at all.

And I went into Scotty Cameron's studio earlier, I guess it was earlier this week, the day we had the rain. I actually got a new putter. It's really the same putter I had before, just a different color, because I had zero confidence in what I was doing. And compared to how I normally putt on these type of surfaces, I've done very well for myself this week.

Q. So how is your confidence going into tomorrow?

DAVID TOMS: You know, for the most part I'm driving the ball in the fairway. I'm hitting good iron shots. It's still difficult to get them close to the hole. You can't hit a normal shot. You have to wonder, do I have to fly it past, do I have to hit two clubs less, so it doesn't spin as much. I feel like I'm playing well and putting well. I'm excited about tomorrow. I guess the worst I can do is second place. So that's not a bad week, and I'm going to enjoy the challenge. I enjoy playing golf with Tiger. So hopefully I can just play my best golf tomorrow, and see if that's good enough.

Q. Where did the confidence come from? Just slowly built back up?

DAVID TOMS: Absolutely. Slowly each and every day I felt like I was starting to -- for the most part, I've hit the fairways all week. Everybody is going to miss a few here or there. But I've really kept -- I've kept the ball in play pretty well. So that set me up on this golf course, because the rough is pretty quick. And each match I've felt like I've played better and better and better each match.

And tomorrow it will probably take my best round so far to win, or my best two rounds so far to win, and hopefully I'll have those.

Q. You didn't play at the Ryder Cup together. When would you have played with him? I can't remember too many times.

DAVID TOMS: The last time we were paired together is Disney, I believe. I don't think we played together in the Tour Championship. We played the first two rounds of Disney together. And we both played pretty well. We both had good finishes there. That's the last time I played with him.

No, I played with him at the Williams, the first round. I guess he asked to play with me, so he must like me okay. So we'll at least get along tomorrow.

Q. Does it screw you up to see how fast and hard he goes at it?

DAVID TOMS: No. The last few times that I've played with him I've done a good job of just -- other than the fact that he's standing in front of me, I feel like I'm trying to play my own game, and acting like he's not even there. But in match play, one-on-one, you have to watch what they're doing, because sometimes it dictates what you're going to do. So we'll see. I don't know, he's quite a talent.

He's a lot like when I play with Mickelson. I like watching him play, just because of the shots they're able to hit. And most people in this world, they have no idea how to hit a golf ball like those guys do, and they'll never know how to do it. So why not enjoy watching him, and at the same time doing the best I can.

Q. You made some comments in the heat of the moment at Hazeltine.

DAVID TOMS: An inferiority complex.

Q. Right. And came back. At Sahalee you guys were paired together and you outscored him.

DAVID TOMS: At the PGA I played with Tiger and Ernie the first few days. I played probably the worst golf I've played all year on a tough golf course. I watched those guys play great and just beat me to a pulp. I made the comment that I wasn't in their league at the time. I probably wasn't, the way I played and the way they played. They played different golf.

I came back the next week at the World Golf Championship at Sahalee, was paired with Tiger and Norman, and I think I actually beat Tiger that day. I had a great day on a tough golf course, and it gave me the confidence that I could play well playing with him. And I played well with him at Disney shortly thereafter, and at the Williams when I played with him the first day, I had a good round.

When he plays his best golf, it's a fact if he plays his best golf tomorrow it's going to be very difficult for me to beat him. But if he's -- if not, and I play my best golf, I think it's going to be a really good match.

Q. What if both of you play your best golf?

DAVID TOMS: I think it will be a tight match in the end, if we both play our best golf or just play good golf. I think it will be fun to watch for the fans and in the end it will be a tough race.

Q. What about the fact that he's only made one bogey all week?

DAVID TOMS: That tells me that he must be driving the ball in the fairway, because that's -- with the greens being soft, you can fire at most of them. So even the tough pins don't seem to be a problem, as long as you're in the fairway. The biggest thing is trying not to spin the ball too much and spin it off the green. It tells me right off the bat he's driving the fairway.

Q. How big of a fete is that, one bogey in five matches?

DAVID TOMS: I think that's big, because No. 1, these greens are -- you feel like you're going to miss a short putt here or there, because you're going to get a bad bounce. You can hit a perfect putt and not make it. I think that's quite an accomplishment.

Q. Do you have a sense he has some respect for your game?

DAVID TOMS: I think so.

Q. When did that start to evolve? Because you guys started getting a little bit closer at some point last year.

DAVID TOMS: I just think that I've played golf at a high level the last few years, in some big tournaments, and I think he's seen that, and he knows what it takes to play at that level. So he obviously respects that I'm able -- my game, I'm able to play at that level. And I've always been -- it seems like we've always been friendly, and we get along fine. And I've always had high praise for his golf game. And I think he appreciates that.

Q. Any chances you're taking him out for chicken and shrimp tonight?

DAVID TOMS: No, not at all. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.

Q. Most guys want a major. It gives them added confidence, like, hey, I belong out here. You won a major two years ago, and it sounds like you've gone the opposite direction, what am I doing out here?

DAVID TOMS: Not at all. If I've made that comment, I really don't know -- I've made one comment, anywhere along those lines, in the last four years, and that's what you picked up on. To me, all I'm telling you is there are a handful of guys on this Tour that if they play their best golf, it's hard to compete with that.

If you look at my record, I finished, what -- I was third two years ago on the money list, fourth last year. I've been in the top 15 the last four years on the Tour. I think my record speaks -- if you don't give me the respect or you don't think I belong or I don't feel like I belong, I just don't think you've paid attention to what's going on.

Q. After yesterday's health problems and then 30-plus holes today, how is your physical situation?

DAVID TOMS: I'm tired. I haven't had a whole lot to eat the last few days. But I had food poisoning, and when you have that it takes a lot out of you. And I can't say enough about the people at the hospital the other night. They were great. They got me feeling much better and took good care for me. They knew the situation. They knew what I was here for and if it wasn't for them, I don't think I'd be sitting here. That's for sure.

Q. Did you take any special precautions today, physically?

DAVID TOMS: No, not at all. I've tried to watch what I was eating both meals today, and just take it easy. Lots of times when you get it going and you're playing good golf, you tend to walk fast and get ahead of yourself. I made sure I slowed myself down the whole day so I had enough energy in the end.

Q. What's a better prospect, if you and Tiger were to go into the final round, stroke-play or this format tomorrow?

DAVID TOMS: As far as my best chance to win?

Q. Yes, just how it shapes up.

DAVID TOMS: It's tough to say. Which one favors me, stroke-play or -- 36 holes of stroke-play or 36 holes match, I don't know. But I'm enjoying playing this format, and I'm playing good, and hopefully I can show up with that game tomorrow and have a chance.

Q. Have you played your best this week?

DAVID TOMS: I'd say the last couple of rounds I've played very well. Like I said, for me on this surface out here close to the ocean on the West Coast, the last couple of rounds I've played very good for me. So I'm feeling good about my game.

Q. Before your big match tomorrow with Tiger I asked him where he would suggest for you to get some dinner tonight, and he said he thinks you should microwave it, but what are your plans?

DAVID TOMS: I don't even know. Actually our punter for LSU is here, and he watched me play golf today, and I think he might want to grab a bite to eat. If he wants to go to the place I went the other night, I'll say I'm not going to go there. Anyway, I have no idea where I'm going.

Q. He's the punter currently?

DAVID TOMS: Absolutely. Donny Jones, a great guy, loves golf. He's a big asset to our team. It's his sister's birthday. They're doing Beverly Hills, Palm Springs, match-play deal.

Q. Are you allowed to buy him dinner or is that an infraction?

DAVID TOMS: That might be an infraction, especially if he had a recruit along, that would be tough.

Q. Any word from your sister?

DAVID TOMS: You know, they probably said the "I do's" about 20 minutes ago.

Q. Did you hear from her last night?

DAVID TOMS: Well, I talked to my father. They were going from the rehearsal to the rehearsal dinner, so they were all excited at home. And she's got a new last name about right now.

End of FastScripts....

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