January 6, 2002
TODD BUDNICK: We welcome David Toms. Finished the end of last season with a playoff; start the beginning of this season with a playoff. Tell us a little bit about today.
DAVID TOMS: Well, I felt like I played pretty solid today. Obviously, wasn't as difficult as yesterday. Got off to a somewhat slow start, but was able to come back pretty quick.
Chipped in at 9 to kind of get my round going, made eagle there. Played good, solid golf on the back. Had some opportunities early on the Back 9, but I missed some good putts. Had a chance to win the tournament in regulation. I figured I needed to make that putt.
I felt like Sergio had a big advantage on the 18th hole, and even on the 1st hole, the next playoff hole, with the length that he has.
I was grinding pretty hard to make it. Actually, when I looked up, I thought it was going in. I guess with the mist on the ground, the bit of rain, kind of slowed it down. I didn't even think about it being short. About half a turn from going in. That was a little bit of a letdown. But came back.
Like I said, 18, he obviously had a big advantage. I mean, I couldn't even get up the hill in two shots. Then he had just a little chip from the front of the green.
But I feel pretty good. I mean, I played good, solid golf today. I played good all week. I hung in there yesterday when the conditions were tough. Nice way to start the year.
Q. What did you have in for your second shot on 18, yardage and what club?
DAVID TOMS: I hit a 3-wood on my second shot on 18 the second time. I hit a 5-wood the first time because I had such a downhill lie I was trying to get the ball up in the air. Both times I didn't have enough power to get up the hill. You know, my ball was actually rolling backwards on my second shot when I got up that hill.
vIt makes it tough. You're hitting out of the rough, hard to judge, you know, what club to hit. I mean, I was 142 yards into the wind. I hit a pitching wedge because I was in the rough, had to play a flyer. It makes it difficult. I mean, that hole is not a medium-hitter's hole at all. You know, when Sergio reaches the green almost in regulation, and I got to hit a 9-iron into it, that will show you that he's got a big advantage there.
Q. That was the playoff pitching wedge, 142?
DAVID TOMS: Yeah, yeah. I hit it pin-high. I just felt like -- in regulation, I kind of pulled it because of the side hill lie. I figured it would do the same thing in the playoff. It just came out dead straight. I pulled the right club, just, you know, 35 feet to the right.
Q. How long do you think your putt in regulation was for the win?
DAVID TOMS: I think it was the same one Sergio just had, about 12 feet. It was a straight-in putt, straight uphill into the green. Obviously, I didn't hit it hard enough.
I don't know if he saw my putt on television or something, and he had the same putt, just hit it dead straight, firm enough, went right in the middle.
Q. You were on the fairway when he, I think, made his final putt in regulation. Did that affect you?
DAVID TOMS: Actually, I waited to even hit my second shot. I wanted to see him putt. I figured, if he made it, the crowd would go crazy. I knew what I had to do.
I saw every shot he hit almost on the whole Back 9 because we kind of waited. They were right there. All the holes are pretty close together. I knew what I had to do coming in.
At the time, until DiMarco 3-putted the 15th hole, he was right there also. I was playing with him, so I kind of knew what I had to do.
But, you know, I played great. I birdied four out of five holes there on the Back 9 to give myself a chance. I'm not disappointed. I'm disappointed I didn't win because I had a good chance, but not disappointed with the way I played at all.
Q. What did you do to kill the time when he's going through his regrips and waggles?
DAVID TOMS: Just don't watch. I mean, don't even look at it. I tried to count one time to see how many it was so I maybe knew when he was going to hit it the next time. There's no rhyme or reason to it. Try not to watch it.
Obviously, if he could help it, he wouldn't do it. It can't be good for you. I mean, it's probably just, you know, a nervous thing, not ready to go. I've never talked to him about it. I'm sure he's trying not to do that. I would hope so anyway.
Q. Is it difficult?
DAVID TOMS: No, not really. It's more difficult for him than it is for me to watch, you know, because he's probably trying to pull it back and he can't. I mean, it doesn't bother me at all.
There was a guy at my club growing up, it was more than that. Seems like we played together a lot. Just kind of got used to it. No big deal. Everybody has their little things they do.
Q. Any chatter between you guys about being in a playoff at THE TOUR Championship?
DAVID TOMS: We said talking off the 18th tee, did this not too long ago. He said, "At least one of us is going to win this time." In fact, he had a playoff with Ernie right after that. Kind of wild the way things work out.
Yeah, I mean, Sergio is a great guy, full of energy. He's fun to be around. I'm happy for him. He played well.
Q. Pretty pleased with the start of the year?
DAVID TOMS: Yeah, yeah. It's fine. Played good golf. I had a chance to win. I had a real good chance to win. I had a 12-footer on the last hole with a chance to win the golf tournament, first tournament of the year. I'm very pleased with the way I played. Gives you a little confidence. Start all over, have a chance right away.
Q. How about his goals for the year? They seem pretty ambitious, winning Money List on both sides of the Atlantic. Is he capable?
DAVID TOMS: Yeah, he's obviously got a lot of talent. He won a couple tournaments last year. Maybe he's ready to break out. He's got the power, got great imagination around the greens. He loves to play golf as much as anybody I've ever seen. You can just tell that he loves to be out there. I think he approaches it more as fun than a job, you know, at his age. He's just having a good time playing good.
I don't know. I think it's going to be hard. I don't see how can you play that much golf. He's going to have to play great every time he plays. I don't know if he can play enough events to pull that off. If he's ready, ready to play every time he shows up, I guess he could be somebody that could do that.
Q. If these weren't back-to-back weeks, the separation of going through two playoffs, being that close, does that help in a way? Do you know what I'm saying?
DAVID TOMS: Not really. Go ahead. Let's try again.
Q. Three months apart almost, whatever.
DAVID TOMS: Right.
Q. Just wondering if that in some way helped rather than if you played two tournaments back-to-back and lost them both.
DAVID TOMS: As far as making me feel better about it?
DAVID TOMS: I've played a lot of golf in between the two events, even though it was our last PGA TOUR event. To me, I look at it as a positive. I don't feel like I lost either golf tournament. I didn't have a wreck down the stretch. I didn't fall into a playoff either time. I guess maybe THE TOUR Championship I bogeyed 17. Still I had a great Back 9. Today I had a great Back 9 to give myself a chance. I mean, I'm disappointed, but I played great both time.
Q. You'll sleep fine?
DAVID TOMS: I'll sleep fine, yeah. I'll sleep really good, really good. These hills, every night I sleep good, definitely.
Q. How is your back?
DAVID TOMS: You know, I hurt it -- actually, it's been bothering me all week. I was getting therapy on it every day. Hit a 3-iron into the 2nd hole today. I could feel -- I started getting a muscle spasm in my neck. Took some medicine right away.
I guess the heat today, I think it was a little more humid today because it wasn't as windy. It helped me. I just couldn't swing at the ball very hard which maybe was a good thing. I played fine.
Only place it really hurt me is I thought I could get over the hazard on No. 5. I hit it as good as I can. I left it in the hazard there. Other than that, I just played within myself all day. I mean, it was always there nagging, but I don't think it really affected me that much.
Q. What is the condition diagnosed as?
DAVID TOMS: You know, I have a disc problem in my neck that flares up from time to time. I've had it, you know, five or six years now. You know, sometimes it just happens to flare up at the wrong time. Today was a bad day for it to happen.
But I'll be fine.
Q. You'll play this week?
DAVID TOMS: Oh, yeah, yeah.
Q. How far was the eagle chip roughly?
DAVID TOMS: Well, I actually hit it just short of the green about six inches and it rolled back down probably 20 yards short of the green. So it wasn't too far.
TODD BUDNICK: Go through your score card.
DAVID TOMS: I hit it in the hazard on I guess that was five, the par 5, made bogey there.
I came back, birdied the next hole with just a chip. Hit it to about a foot away.
Then I eagled 9 from just short of the green, chipped in.
Then I birdied I guess 13. I hit a sand wedge in to probably ten feet or so behind the hole.
14, I also hit a sand wedge in maybe eight feet away.
The next hole, also hit a lob wedge in to maybe five or six feet away there.
Then 17, I hit a 5-iron in to about 12 feet, made a nice putt there.
Q. How long were the putts 10 through 12?
DAVID TOMS: 10, I hit it maybe 12 feet or so. The next hole, No. 11, I guess I was about 15 feet. And then about eight feet on the next hole. So I had some good opportunities there early in the Back 9 to get going. But then I did start to make a few after that.
Q. On 5, you hit your second shot, just dropped right behind the hazard there?
DAVID TOMS: Well, I thought I was going to be able to find the ball. In fact, we looked for it for a while. I did finally find it, but it was plugged. I went back on the other side, had to drop. Left myself about 120-yard shot.
Q. The putt at 18 in regulation to win the tournament, it was into the grain. Was it also uphill?
DAVID TOMS: Yes. The rain was coming down pretty heavy, even DiMarco made the comment, "The mist got you." I felt I hit the solid enough not to be short. I left it about half a roll short. I guess I should have given it a chance. You know -- that's just the way I putt. I'm not a real aggressive putter. If I fire one by the hole, I miss-hit it. That's just kind of the way I putt and I just happened to fall short.
Q. Shocked it didn't go?
DAVID TOMS: I felt like I was going to make it. I was convinced I was going to make it and I was going to win the tournament right there. I was shocked that I left it short because, like I said, when I looked up halfway, I thought it was in. It was right dead center. It just didn't get there.
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