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July 18, 2002

David Toms


STEWART McDOUGAL: David Toms, four under par, 67, joint leader. Tell us a bit about your round today; how did it go.

DAVID TOMS: I took advantage, obviously, of a perfect day in Scotland. I think the key today was my putter was good. I recovered from a couple of bad shots around the greens. I hit into a couple of bunkers was able to get up-and-down. For the most part, stayed out of the rough except for 14 where I made bogey there. Other than that, I just hit it down the fairway.

When I had a chance to try to get a shot close to the fairway, I took that chance and hit a couple fairly close and I capitalized. Other than that, it was, I guess, a pretty boring round. I hit a lot of shots where I hit it down the middle of the fairway and somewhere on the green and two putted.

But I think the biggest thing today is I putted well. Other than No. 9 - I three-putted there from the front fringe. Other than that, every time that I had a makeable birdie putt that you would expect to make, I made them. I had a couple of nice par-savers.

Q. Are you surprised, given that it's such benign conditions, that four under is leading?

DAVID TOMS: Not really. They putt the pins out there on the edges. You have a lot of guys that are basically laying up off the tee, trying to stay out of the rough, so you don't have the short shots into the greens like you might if you were out there playing golf and it wasn't the British Open. You probably don't have as many birdie opportunities, as I said, like if you were just out there playing golf, you have a lot of shots where you can hit driver, wedge, but you hit the 3-iron, 6-iron, so I think that's why you see that. Like I said, they put the pins -- every day we've been here this week, the pins have been in the middle of the green. Today there wasn't one close to the middle of the green. It makes it more difficult.

Q. What do you think of the leader board right now?

DAVID TOMS: You know, I have not looked at it one time. I saw it this morning when I was watching golf, never looked again. When they were interviewing me in the chair, they said I was tied for the lead or leading or whatever. I still haven't looked.

It's early in the ball game, so I don't know who's up there. I don't know what anybody shot today, other than the guys in my group. I don't know what to say about the leader board.

Q. Tiger shot a 70. He's one guy -- being 3 shots up on him, what are your thoughts on that?

DAVID TOMS: My thoughts are I saw him this morning on television, he didn't make a putt all day, it looked like; he still shot under bar. So he still played well. He's somebody you have to contend with him, obviously. You have to contend with him in every tournament. He'll be there in the end. I'm sure he said -- he probably think that in the conditions like today, it's as bad as he'll play, so I'm sure he'll be there.

Q. Was it a help to get to look a little this morning and watch what was going on and see how slow the greens were?

DAVID TOMS: I think so. You can kind of tell where guys are picking their spots to try to get it close and where they're backing off. I think it helps as far as that goes. I was watching on television; there was absolutely no wind blowing at all, and when I got to the golf course it started to pick up. It was one of those deals where we had a bad break in the tee times and then all of a sudden it went away. That's what I could tell this morning, the golf course was pretty benign and it was there for scoring.

Q. Talk about the difference in attitude, having won a major, coming into a tournament like this and playing well.

DAVID TOMS: Maybe a little added confidence. Before I won the PGA I still expected to play well. I had won a lot of tournaments, or at least a handful. I guess that's a lot. It's tough to win. I had been able to do it. Winning there gives me a little more confidence. As far as this year goes, I've been disappointed that I haven't won already because I have had some opportunities there. But I know in the back of my mind that I've been able to win a major against a great field on a good golf course, and any time you have that to fall back on, it makes you feel good. So I'm disappointed when I don't play well. I was very disappointed the way I played last year in this tournament because I had so much fun at St. Andrews. I enjoyed the whole atmosphere. I was very disappointed last year, so it's nice to get off to a good start.

Q. How do you adjust over here? Do you like Scottish golf? Do you like the weather? It's cold and windy here. What do you do with life here in Scotland?

DAVID TOMS: To be honest with you, I don't get out a whole lot. I find something decent to eat. I had a great meal here at the club the other night. It gives me a good week to rest. My family isn't here with me, so I have a lot of quiet time, read a little bit and rest. You need that in a major championship and that's what I try to do.

Q. And the weather?

DAVID TOMS: The weather, obviously, ideally it's not great for me. It's a lot like what we face on the west coast early in the year, where it can get kind of nasty. I'm used to the hot stuff this year and ideally, it's not perfect. What I do like about golf over here, you have to manage your game. You have to pick the shots, what shot are you trying to hit; where you are trying to hit it, you always have to pay attention to that. And a lot of times in the States you just get up on the tee and just whale on it. That's why I like it over here. It really makes you bear down, it makes you think, and I like that style of golf.

Q. What was you ate during the PGA? Was it Chick-Fil-A or Wendy's?

DAVID TOMS: Chick-Fil-A. My wife told me a couple of nights ago that she was going to open up a franchise of Chick-Fil-A. She said I ought to have a connection since I gave them a plug at the PGA. We don't have one of those so she said we need one. No Chick-Fil-A over here. I haven't even found a chicken nugget yet, to be honest with you. That's okay. I had chicken for lunch today and it was pretty good.

Q. With holding or sharing the first round lead here, is that going to boost your confidence, or was it like leading at Milwaukee taking it one shot a time from here on?

DAVID TOMS: To me, this is just a good start. It was a day where I took advantage of a good day where you need to get a good score today because we all know what the conditions are going to be like for the rest of the week, and that's all I can say about it. I played well. I can draw on that, give me confidence. I played this golf course well. I scored well. I hung in there when things didn't go so well, and took advantage of the times where I made good shots. That's what I can take from today.

It's a golf tournament where you have to play one shot at a time around this golf course, and that's what I'm going to do.

Q. Do the greens quicken up?

DAVID TOMS: I think they were a little quicker than in the practice.

Q. The guys this morning said they were surprised how slow they were.

DAVID TOMS: I think they got a little quicker. I didn't see as many guys hitting it by the hole this morning. I can tell in my group we had a lot of times where we run it three or four feet by on the longer putts, a lot of up-and-over-on-the-greens, you play away from the flag and you have a putt that's usually up-and-down, and it can get it away from you if you hit it too hard just trying to get it up the hill. And then once you do, if you have to much speed, it will really take off. And that's what happened to me on No. 9. I almost putted off the green there. I think with the sunshine and a little bit of wind and the heat we had today, I think they got quicker as the day went on.

Q. You win your first major; you have to wait the entire off season to get a crack at another one. Then two consecutive courses that are monstrously long and take a lot of middle-range-distance players out of it. Were you eager to get another shot at a course that's manageable?

DAVID TOMS: Absolutely. The first two were not made for me at all. Even though I've played well at Augusta before, every year I've gone back there, they've done something to the golf course to play away from my hands, I guess you could say, and the U.S. Open, when it got soft, it definitely wasn't for me, but here, you know, I can win on this golf course. I can play this style of golf well. It's just a matter of executing and doing it.

Q. You said you didn't look at the leader board. I don't know if that's something that's part of your routine of not looking, but how hard is it to ignore what Tiger is doing in a tournament if he's in contention?

DAVID TOMS: It's very hard to ignore, because there is a lot of focus on that. I mean, I watched the coverage this morning and I don't think they missed a shot he made all day. You're always going to see it. You're going to read about it in the newspaper. I guess if you're listening on the radio, you're going to hear about it too. You know what he's doing. But to play him, you're not doing yourself justice; especially on a golf course like this.

Q. Would you say ultimately all the golf majors come down to a putting contest? Would you say that?

DAVID TOMS: Yes, in the end, probably so. You're not going to have a guy win that doesn't putt well, I don't think. Just like me today, it made up for a couple of shots around the greens where I hit it in the bunker and I couldn't get it close, but I hit it, 10, 12, 15 feet, and I holed the putt, instead of walking off the green saying, you know, I made a stupid mistake, you walk off the green and say, I just made a putt. It kind of picks you up. And it's a great equalizer. I don't know that guys ever win tournaments when their putter wasn't working at some point in the week. I wouldn't say it's a putting contest, you know, just that, but it's a big part of it, definitely.


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