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January 4, 2002

David Toms


TODD BUDNICK: David Toms, 66 today, he's 11-under, 135. Happy birthday to you.

DAVID TOMS: Thank you.

TODD BUDNICK: Nice way to celebrate your birthday.


TODD BUDNICK: Started off with a birdie on No. 3, if you could walk through that.

DAVID TOMS: It was playing downwind today. I hit a sand wedge in to about six feet or so, made that one.

5, sand wedge into about five or six feet, made that one.

Where else?


DAVID TOMS: 6, oh, yeah. I made a long putt there. We drove it up by the green. Chipped it up maybe 25 feet by the hole and made it. Nice spot there.

TODD BUDNICK: Eagle on 9.

DAVID TOMS: Hit my driver to the fairway, hit a 4-iron on, about 12 feet or so. Made a nice putt there.

13, also hit the sand wedge to about six feet, made it.

16, I hit an 8-iron to about ten feet, made that one.

TODD BUDNICK: Looks like you had kind of all conditions out there today, a lot of wind at the end, not so much early on.

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I mean, opposite wind for this golf course, which makes a few of the holes play very difficult. Some of the harder holes, we were playing them downwind.

Other than just the first couple holes, then the last -- 12 is a tough hole with this wind. 1 is obviously brutal. 2 is tough. The rest of the day's not too bad, as long as you can pick the right clubs into the greens. These big greens. I was fortunate today to hit the ball pin-high. If you don't, you can putt for days on these greens, they're so big.

Gives you a lot of room off the tee, you know, with the wind blowing like this. If you're hitting your tee ball pretty solid, that's usually not a problem. But figuring out what club to hit into the greens can be difficult.

You know, it didn't seem too bad, the wind. I guess because, like I said, other than a couple holes where they played pretty difficult, the rest of the golf course lays down a little bit with this wind.

TODD BUDNICK: Must have been something out there, because you're the only one that made it through without a bogey today.

DAVID TOMS: Well, I think putting is very difficult when the wind is blowing like that. The greens aren't in real good shape. When the wind gets to blowing, you have that grain factor and the wind factor when you're trying to putt, plus it blows your body around a little bit. Putting is very difficult. I missed a lot of good birdie putts today because I was trying to keep my body still, my head still. Wind is blowing you around, blowing your ball around. It can be tough.

I think that's the toughest part. This golf course gives you plenty of room to play the shots. But just being able to have your short game, be able to putt, pretty difficult when the wind is blowing this hard.

Q. Some guys after winning a major have a little letdown. You don't seem like you suffered that at all. I'm curious as to why.

DAVID TOMS: I think, number one, I've played a lot of golf since that tournament. I've played a lot of tournaments. First time I qualified for some of those events. I played so much. I haven't had more than ten days off at any stretch since the PGA Championship. I think continuing to play golf, it's helped me to stay at a pretty high level. Whereas, if I would have taken off the rest of the fall, then just played a couple of tournaments, maybe I'd be a little bit rusty. We've been playing so much, just feel like it's carrying over right now.

Q. As you go through your career reaching more goals, are you setting now higher goals for yourself? Going into this year, you won a major now, are your goals increasing?

DAVID TOMS: Well, I think it's -- I've always tried to get better every year. You know, obviously to win a major, win three times, high on the Money List, that's going to be hard for me to do that, match that. As long as I feel like I'm working hard, getting better, you know, it's difficult to win tournaments out here. Davis Love went for a long time where he was finishing really high on the Money List, not winning, shows you how difficult it is.

As long as I'm satisfied with my preparation, I feel like my golf overall is getting more consistent, I'll be happy. It's kind of hard. If you're going to go out and say, "I have to win two majors and four tournaments this year," that would be crazy for me. I think that would be a goal where I couldn't reach that. You know, I'd have to be very lucky to do that.

As long as I'm happy with the way I'm working at my game, happy with the way I'm playing, it will be fine.

Q. Is there one thing you really are working on this year, for this year?

DAVID TOMS: Not really. Just continue for my golf swing to get better, more consistent. My greens in regulation are getting better and better every year. Like to maintain that. I'd like to be a little more consistent on the greens.

Seems like when I putt really well, I putt great, I win tournaments. If not, I just kind of seem to struggle a little bit on the greens. A little inconsistent there. I'd like to maybe -- if you can be consistent with a putter, it makes golf a lot easier. I'd like to be able a little better with the flat stick.

TODD BUDNICK: Stop practicing that satellite shot so much.

DAVID TOMS: That's a tough shot. I've got my son hitting that. He wanted to hit at the outside light in our backyard. I had to veto that pretty quick (laughter).

Q. You don't sound like you're just consumed with the thought of, "I've got a chance now to join the elite three or four guys." Doesn't sound like that's overwhelming you.

DAVID TOMS: No. I mean, it's something -- you know, you play golf all your life. You work hard. You put in the time. Now I've reached the level of golf that I would hope to be Atlanta. Even when I was a kid, you excel as a junior player, then as a college player, you get on the professional level, you try to get to that level again. It's been very difficult.

I just want to maintain the level of play. Whether that's winning tournaments or winning majors, whatever it is, I just want to continue to play that level of golf.

As far as, you know, being overwhelmed with the status or whatever, I mean, just comes with playing good golf, you know. Maybe guys putting a label on you, whatever it might be, I just go out and try to do your job the best you can. That's what I'm trying to do.

I mean, it's not much fun playing bad golf, and I've done that before. I've played the mini tours. I don't want to do that again. I think once you taste, you know, the success I've had the past few years, I want to just continue as long as I can.

Q. Have you had any trouble adjusting to more recognition, attention, demands on time? Are you enjoying it?

DAVID TOMS: I think the most difficult thing is managing my time as far as, you know, the different demands that you have, just little things. You know, it's nothing that you can't do, they're little bitty things all the time, every week there's something I have to do that I didn't have to do before. That's the most difficult part is making sure that you're prepared, being able to deal with all that and still be prepared to play on Thursday.

Q. Did you turn down a few things? At THE TOUR Championship you said you were thinking of turning down a few things overseas.

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I did, but I still played a lot. You can't play everything. Like I said, the most I had was ten days off at any point after the end of the season. So I felt like I played enough golf and probably had enough rest to where I'm still fresh right now and ready to go.

Didn't turn down too much. I played three tournaments after THE TOUR Championship, which is a good bit, seeing as we didn't finish up till the second week in November.

Q. Tentatively what's your schedule look like through the Masters?

DAVID TOMS: I'm going to play the first three. PGA show, so I'm skipping the Phoenix Open. I play AT&T. I might play San Diego. I'm not playing the LA Open. I play the Matchplay. I'm going to play Doral, Bay Hill, TPC, Atlanta and the Masters.

Q. Is that a typical kind of season?

DAVID TOMS: That's what I do every year pretty much.

Q. Are you a believer in playing a week before a major? Has that worked for you?

DAVID TOMS: It depends on what tournament it is. If it's a tournament I like, I'll play. If it's a tournament -- if Westchester is before the US Open, which I think it is this year, I'm not sure I'll play because I don't play that tournament.

I don't think it's a big deal. As long as you feel prepared, you know.

Q. No need to have tournament form, so to speak?

DAVID TOMS: I don't think so. You know, a lot of times if you're in the hunt the week before, it can take a lot out of you. It gives the confidence going in to play the next week, but physically and mentally you can be a bit fatigued. I don't know the correct formula. I've done both.

If I like the golf tournament the week before, then I'll play.

Q. Did you play the Buick Open last year?

DAVID TOMS: Yes, I did.

Q. It works.

DAVID TOMS: I hadn't played that tournament in a while, so maybe. I don't know. Golf is a funny game. I don't think we're ever going to figure out the perfect formula.

Q. Did you play a lot early this season because you like the tournaments you play?

DAVID TOMS: I like the tournaments. You know, maybe if I didn't start till Florida, I would feel like I'm behind, and you have to catch up.

But I like the tournaments. I mean, to come here the first couple weeks is great. I like -- I've played well on the West Coast before. I like it out there. You know, the weather's a lot better in Southern California than it is in Louisiana this time of year. Hunting season is just about over, so I don't have to do that. You sit around and watch it rain and trounce around in the mud. Nothing going on that I want to be a part of anyway.

Q. Bag anything good this year?

DAVID TOMS: No, it's been terrible. It's been terrible. Duck hunting has been awful. I don't even want to talk about it. You spend all that money, get prepared. It's terrible. It's like playing bad golf. It's not good.

Q. Generally speaking, when you lay out a schedule, what are the priorities for picking a tournament? Is it course, timing on the schedule, the purse?

DAVID TOMS: It's the tournament. Whether that means, you know, where it is, the golf course, whatever, it's just places I like to go and places I've played well in the past. There's some places I like to go that maybe the next guy that walks in here never wants to go there.

I don't think purse level -- it's not that big a deal to me. If you like a place, no matter what the purse is, if you like a place, you're going to play well there, you're going to make plenty of money. So what if they have a $10 million purse? If you miss the cut, you don't get any of it. Have you to go to places you like, I think.

Q. Do you like Waialae or do you like Oahu?

DAVID TOMS: Haven't been there five or six years. My wife wanted to stay. We usually stay for ten days, we go back home. It's nasty at home, don't want to be there. She's like, "Let's stay a little bit longer."

I'd rather go over there and at least have a chance to make some money than stay here and spend a lot of it, no chance to make any. You know, that was my reasoning.

I've heard some good things about the golf course after they've changed some of the holes, changed the par. I'm looking forward to it.

Q. Will you play in Europe this year, for The Open?

DAVID TOMS: Will I be at The Open this year?

Q. Yes.

DAVID TOMS: Yes, absolutely.

Q. That little Ryder Cup deal, too.

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I'll be playing there. Look forward to that. Also Ireland the week before. It will be a lot of fun. Spend a lot of time in Europe this year.

End of FastScripts....

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