August 7, 2002
GRAND BLANC, MICHIGAN
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: David, thank you for spending a few minutes back here at the Buick Open.
You played here last year. Why don't you talk about the conditions, you had a chance to play today in the Pro-Am and we'll go into questions.
DAVID TOMS: The golf course is really good. I read the green sheet a few weeks ago and said the golf course was going to be playing pretty fast and the rough was kind of spotty because they had not had much rain. But from what I saw, I guess they had rain on Sunday here, I thought the golf course was playing longer than it was last year, and it was a little bit cooler, 10 or 15 degrees cooler than it was on this day last year.
The golf course I thought was playing longer. It's in excellent shape, the greens are good, still have some speed to them. Although, they are pretty receptive, depending on what the wind does, I think scores will still be pretty good because the golf course is in good shape.
Q. Based on last year, any idea about the coming week?
DAVID TOMS: Not really. I think he had a pretty solid tournament. I don't remember where I finished, but I felt like I had played okay. Didn't really -- I didn't feel like I putted very well. These greens are fairly tricky to read. They have a lot of slopes you have to pay attention to your speed, and I didn't putt all that great.
As far as anything that I saw in my game that was going to make me win a major the next week, no. I just had a good, solid tournament and that was about it.
And now this week, I'm coming off two weeks off -- sure, yeah, because this is a good driving course, just like all the majors are. Here, you can put 3-wood in your hand from time to time here, but I think it's a good driving course. If you're driving it long and straight, you can have a lot of short shots in, and obviously, score from there. So I think it's good preparation.
And being -- to me, being this far north this year, with Hazeltine right after this, you're playing on the same grass, the greens are the same grass, fairways are the same, the rough is the same, so it will be good preparation. If it stays cool and a little bit windy like this, I think it will be the same conditions we'll see next week and I think this will be a nice tune-up.
Q. Next week is the first time in your career you've defended on a major. How hard is it for you to concentrate on this week's tournament?
DAVID TOMS: Well, coming off two weeks off, I want to get back in the swing of things and start playing well, get some confidence up to finish off the year on a good note.
So I'm not looking ahead at all, other than maybe some plans I have to make as far as having to talk to you guys next Wednesday at 3 o'clock and having the Champions Dinner and the clinic on Tuesday. There are little things like that kind of make you look forward to that week and things that you have to do and schedule your time and everything else, as far as not showing up and just playing, practice.
So I have those things that I have to have in the back of my mind, but as far as playing golf and trying to win, I'm not thinking about it. I'm trying to concentrate on this event and do as well as I can here.
I was there about six weeks ago -- since the Media Day, no. I know it's going to be different. I was there for Media Day and the greens were not very fast, the rough wasn't up like it's going to be and there were no grand stands, no people. So I'm sure it will be a different situation when I get there and different setup. But it's a good golf course.
Q. I was talking to Sluman a few minutes ago and he said that the PGA Championship setups were conducive to maybe a more wide-open tournament than we might see at Augusta; do you agree with that?
DAVID TOMS: With the way Augusta is set up now, I do agree with that.
Q. Or an Open. An Open is set up a certain way, too.
DAVID TOMS: Yeah, but I think what the PGA -- they are not so concerned about a score, whether it be even par or 5-under or whatever, they are not concerned with that. They are just concerned, they want to have a great golf tournament on a good golf course and let the conditions of the golf course and what the weather we get, let that dictate what happens to the scoring.
So they are playing on a great course -- Hazeltine is a long golf course, but a lot of the length is in five or six holes. I mean, you have a 635-yard par 5, you have a 590-yard par 5. That's 150 yards right there that are different than what we normally play. So you look at that, there are a lot of birdie holes out there.
So I definitely think it's a course -- obviously, the best players and the longer players, if they are playing well, they are still going to be up there, but I think you'll see anybody will have a chance to do well, a lot like what happened at Atlanta Athletic Club.
Q. The Open at Muirfield was so tough, did you have to shake that off a little bit when you got back, or is that easy to putt out of your mind and look ahead?
DAVID TOMS: I think my plan was to have a week off after the British Open and then go to Denver where I won in '99. After that trip, I was worn out physically, mentally. Even though I made the cut -- I went from leading the golf tournament to finishing last of the guys that made the cut, and I was tired of thinking about golf, tired of playing golf after that experience.
I got home and I enjoyed being home so I withdrew from The INTERNATIONAL -- had nothing to do with my smoking habits, supposedly.
Anyway, if I had had a good tournament there, I think I would have just kept my same schedule, but the way it finished up and the way the weather was, it took a lot out of me and I needed to be home for a couple of weeks in order to have any chance at all to come back this week and next week and have good tournaments.
End of FastScripts....