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February 21, 2002

David Toms


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, David for joining us. An interesting match out there today. Why don't you make a couple of comments and then we'll go into questions.

DAVID TOMS: Well, I guess we both got off to a decent start, playing okay early on. I birdied the first hole, and he birdied the second, but I missed a real short putt there to tie for birdie. So we were even early. Just kind of a -- I guess you would call it a pillow fight. Didn't look like either one of us wanted to win, neither one of us ever took control of the match. We never had more than 1-up either side.

It was a tough day out there. The wind was blowing totally opposite direction of what we played yesterday, until the last couple of holes . It actually turned around when I was hitting my third shot on 17. So totally different wind. Made the holes different, I wouldn't say a lot more difficult, but just different.

Q. Would you have guessed when you walked up to the 18th green that it would be over on the 18th hole and you would be the winner?

DAVID TOMS: No. I was just trying to somehow, after I missed my second shot, I think I was taking too an aggressive line there, trying to hit birdie and I hit a bad shot. And after I saw where my ball was and where I saw where his ball was, I was hoping to go to No. 1 and just not lose it on that hole. I put a little bit of pressure when I hit a good chip, and I think he was trying to end it there on the last hole, and he ran his putt by.

You know, you've seen it all week, guys missing short putts on these greens. It's happened the last six weeks or month or so. We've been out here on this poa annua grass, and you just can't take anything for granted. It's a good thing that guys are giving putts this week or you would you see a lost people marking them from a foot. It's just the nature of these greens. I'll be glad to get on some bermuda here soon.

Q. Is that one draw back playing at a course like La Costa in a format like match-play it takes some of the skill out of good putters?

DAVID TOMS: I think so. I haven't watched it -- I watched a few of the highlights yesterday, but I don't see a whole lot of putts being made. I see a lot of short putts being made. I watched Tiger yesterday, and he was trying to ram them in. If you hit them easy, they just kind of fall off to the sides. It's hard to -- it's hard to make up ground sometimes when you get behind. You're just waiting for guys to make mistakes instead of trying to make a lot of putts to try and put pressure on people and make birdies.

Q. So far, out of the Top-12 people, ten of them are out and you are the only higher seed to win today. Do you think the seeding means anything, and what do you think is happening?

DAVID TOMS: I mean, I don't think it really means anything. Every week, you can't pick a winner. It's just, you know, we have a lot of good golfers out here. They have that ranking over our record the last few years, or the last year and a half, I guess it is now. It's just guys are so even.

Obviously, you have a handful of really top players, but if they are a little bit off, like you saw yesterday, they are gone. So, I just think that that's the way our tour is and I think that's what makes it great.

Q. Do you enjoy match-play?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I like it okay. I just -- only thing I don't like about it is you have that one bad day and you're gone. Normal tournament is 72 holes, you have a chance to make it up. Here, I mean, I was a little bit off today and I was almost down the road. Things worked my way the last few holes to even be here.

Q. Could you describe what the general characteristics are of the two grasses, poa annua and bermuda?

DAVID TOMS: I make putts on bermuda and I don't on poa annua. That's just the way it is. I went to a putter this week identical to the one I've been playing, but I added another degree and a half of loft on it, just to find anything to get the ball rolling better.

Actually, I've rolled the ball better this week, still have not made a bunch. Maybe, you know, maybe tomorrow, I don't know. I know I'll have to start making them to advance further.

Q. Pebble you played two years ago in the Open, were the greens --?

DAVID TOMS: Much better. I actually made putts. Thank goodness I made some that week. When they get firm, they are not bad. But when they are soft -- it's not the golf course superintendent's fault. It's just what he has to work with.

I didn't grow up on it, never have been comfortable on it. So, you know, other guys don't like bermuda. When you get to the point where there's tournaments where you feel comfortable and you're playing well, that's when you have to have your good finishes.

Q. Would you like to see this tournament moved around a little bit, besides going to Australia?

DAVID TOMS: I like this place. I think it's a great golf course. You know, maybe not as exciting as other places could be for match-play because there are not a whole lot of risk rewards out there. You just try to hit it on the fairway and hit it on the green and golf other than the long hitters, all of the holes play about the same for everybody.

It's a great place. I know they are going to renovate the rooms and everything and really fix it up. I think it's a good venue for this event.

Q. What's an easier match for you, Hal or Steve Flesch?

DAVID TOMS: I don't know. They are both friends of mine. I don't know. He'll have to wait until tomorrow to see.

The hard part about Steve Flesch is, I'm not going to know where to stand on the tee box. I played with him at Pebble Beach a few weeks ago and I was always in his way, so, hopefully he won't think that's gamesmanship. I'm just not used to standing on that side of the tee.

Q. How important is experience in match-play?

DAVID TOMS: I don't think it's that important. I mean, you know, as far as match-play experience or just experience in general? I think the experience in match-play can be beneficial. I mean, to this day, I still don't know all the rules. First year I played this event, I had to ask one of the officials, what's the difference, what are the main things that I have to look for, and he had a little list of things to look at.

Now, you know, if you asked me what they were, I couldn't tell what you they are. So maybe it does. Guys that have played a lot in the Ryder Cup and a lot of these events all over the world where they have played match-play, I think it would help them.

Q. How much did you play as an amateur?

DAVID TOMS: Not much. Played the U.S. Amateur a couple of times. That was it.

Q. Because some guys do play a lost match-play as amateurs?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I just never played the Amateur circuit tour or whatever it is. Couldn't afford to travel like a tour player when I was an amateur.

Q. Played this as a pro, though, haven't you?

DAVID TOMS: Oh, yes, I have.

Q. How long was your eagle putt on 9?

DAVID TOMS: Probably 40 feet. I was on the right fringe. I was pin-high. I hit a good shot in there but I was probably 40 feet or so.

Q. Did the flop on 18, were you confident you could get it as close as you did?

DAVID TOMS: Actually, I had a great lie. It was so good that I switched from my lob-wedge to my sand-wedge. It was teed up where the TV cable was and it was teed up pretty good. I actually switched clubs and switched to my sand wedge because I felt like my lob-wedge would go right under it. I had a good lie.

I felt good about it. Maybe if I was playing better, I would have felt better about it, but it was a little bit of a struggle today and I was just hoping to go to the next hole, really.

Q. With all of these rash of surprises, do you feel anymore confident than you normally would, without the top nine or ten or whatever it is here?

DAVID TOMS: Not really, because you've seen what's happened so far. The seeding doesn't mean a whole lot. I just have to go out and play well. I'm going to have to play better tomorrow than I did today to advance, and I know that. So, hopefully I'll work on a few things this afternoon and be ready to go tomorrow, because I know Steve has been playing well out on the West Coast and I'm going to have to play good to beat him.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, David, for joining us.

End of FastScripts....

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