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October 7, 2001

David Toms


TODD BUDNICK: We welcome David Toms, repeat winner of the Michelob Championship at Kingsmill. David, what can we say, you are having a terrific year.

DAVID TOMS: It has been a good year and winning this week is extra special because of the way I played last week. I mean, I don't care where I was on the money list, knowing I had to get here. I had won a major, but the way I played, the first two days last week I mean, you just feel like a total failure when you miss a cut. To come back next week and be able to do this, it's obviously a bonus and just shows that when I put my mind to it and really work hard, you know, I can turn around pretty quick.

TODD BUDNICK: Moved up to No. 3 on the money list I think I believe it's your highest ranking ever. How do you feel about that?

DAVID TOMS: It's not something that I look at a lot. I used to look at it a bunch when I was struggling to make that top 125. The last few years I have actually been pretty fortunate to play well and get in THE TOUR Championship. I know coming in here last year I was trying to get in THE TOUR Championship, I was right around the 30th, 31st position, and that kind of propelled me into getting in pretty easy. So now you know, I just capped off a pretty unbelievable year for me, more than I have expected. I don't know. Just I mean I have been out here for a long time. I have been coming to this tournament since 1992. I can remember struggling here. I can remember just a lot of bogeys and last couple of years it's just been unbelievable that I have played this course as well as I have. Just pretty happy.


Q. Not only three victories in one season but also a major, even given your success since 1997 did you think a year quite like this was possible for you?

DAVID TOMS: I thought it was possible. I knew my game was getting better, but everything, the timing to win golf tournaments, you know, it's the timing. I don't know. There's no way, I mean when I got here Monday afternoon, there was no way that I can tell you that I was going to win this golf tournament or even contend. I mean that's how far off I felt like I was. So you just never know. I feel better now that I have been able to win a good many tournaments, so obviously when I get in contention I feel like I am going to perform. I am not scared. I feel comfortable. I am not -- other than the PGA this year on the back nine I really don't shake much. I was shaking a little bit then, but that was a different situation. Just feel comfortable. I don't know. I just -- today I was fortunate to get off to a good start just kind of held on, Triplett made a run there at the end and made it really exciting for the fans out there and me bogeying 17 even helped that.

Q. The fact that you had made the putt to win the PGA, I mean, the one you had out 1there was three times closer. Did that help as far as you know, I have made one longer than this to win a tournament?

DAVID TOMS: I don't know if that helped. Maybe the putt that I made here last year helped. It was one that was slightly maybe a foot and a half longer, same type of putt, it was straight in the putt. I had the same putt last year to win this tournament. And you know, was funny I was sitting there, I had just missed a short putt on the hole before and I heard some people in the crowd say, well, he pushed it on the hole before. I have got this putt up here trying to make. And Esteban, he's taking a little while, he's grinding it out trying to 2-putt from where he was and just a lot of time is going by; you kind of want to get it over with. My caddie said to me on the ride over here the other day that I have got -- I am trying to get rid of my Porsche. I want to buy a truck - Porsche to a truck - I want to get rid of it. He said, I will buy it if we win this week knowing that I just chopped wood on the week before, so there's no way he's going to have to buy anything. And I looked at him before I hit the last putt over there when Esteban was lining up his putt, I said you are going to by my Porsche. So it was kind of like, it helped, you know it helped that tension at that moment. He started laughing. I kind of laughed and went up there and knocked it in. So I don't know what is going to happen with the car situation.

Q. Was that saying "you are going to by my Porsche" was that you being cocky, confident?

DAVID TOMS: Well, we did the same thing when I won the PGA, we just talked instead of just total silence and just all this building up we kind of, you know, talked a little bit, which we do when we were trying to win down the stretch, just small talk anything to get your mind off of what is about to take place. That's all it was. I have -- was trying to find anything to talk about and that's what popped into my head.

Q. That's getting to the point where you have done so much in the last three years I mean, you and Mickelson and Duval have all won the same amount in the last three years and only Tiger has won more. Do you feel like you are one of the 5 best players in the world or are you there?

DAVID TOMS: I think I might be one of the 5 best players in the world, but those three guys, then I think you can throw Ernie Els in there, maybe Vijay, I don't know, they just are physically more talented. Things are going to really have to fall into place for me to beat those guys week-in and week-out. I just think that there are a handful of people that are just better than everybody else. That's just life. You can look at that in any sport. Nobody could ever play with Michael Jordan. I just think that that's just the way it goes. It doesn't bother me at all. I don't think that I would do well, you having to be in here every single week on Tuesday or Wednesday or Monday. I just don't think I would like that. That's stuff they have to go through, rightfully so because they are the best.

Q. Watching you play the front nine, you were all over the flags for like the first seven holes. Were you playing more aggressively than or just better or what?

DAVID TOMS: I was playing more aggressively. I was. I knew after I turned I had three- or four-shot lead and you know, the way the place put the pins, they put it on 10-over the bunker on 11 way back to the left, over there by the left side of the green, almost on the back of the green. 12, they put it way over on the right right next to the bunker, they are wanting, you know, that's why they do that. They are wanting somebody to make a mistake, and I just told myself not to and only time that I really was very aggressive was on 14. I had a sand wedge and made birdie and then the next hole I thought I hit a good shot, it sucked way back on 15. But then 17 they stuck the pin front right over there, wanting you to try to get it in there close. And then, so, I don't know. I did, I got very tentative I guess you would say. But still I think it was the smart way to play, just sometimes when you are not firing at the flags sometimes you are like, you know, just kind of well, you know, is this really what everybody came out here to see. You start -- you lag your putt up there from 30 feet. You hit a good putt, you tap it, everybody wants to see you make a birdie. I was making these nice easy pars, feeling good about it, until Kirk started making birdies; all of a sudden I made a bogey on 17. Wow, I had to play 18 to make a par to win. That's a tough hole.

Q. It's funny the PGA of course you acquired fame from playing (inaudible) aggressive is the way you like to play?


Q. I have always associated you with a guy that likes to hit the flags and make birdie.

DAVID TOMS: I try to. When I have that opportunity I will do it. I think any time you get out outside of 160 to 170 yards I think that you know, every once in a while when you go for a flag you will hit it close, but I just don't think that's percentage golf at all. I think over a year's time or even a week's time it's going to bite you, trying to hit shots like that. But any time I am 150 if I feel like I can hit the shot no matter where the pin is, so that's the way I play.

Q. Did you know before you got to the 1st tee this afternoon about the air strikes?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I watched -- actually I cut my warm-up time to about 40 minutes today. Usually I have 45 to 50 minutes but I watched the President's speech in the locker room. We were all in there kind of glued to the television. I did see it.

Q. Did it play into your mind at all?

DAVID TOMS: It just kind of made me you know, you go out there I am leading the golf tournament, I am kind of, I guess you are on edge a little bit, not knowing what is going to happen today. The wind was up. It was a little cool and just listened to him speak and just gave me a little bit of a calm; maybe got me fired up for the round a little bit.

Q. Had you been wearing the flag pin all week on your head or was that just today?

DAVID TOMS: I have been wearing it all week.

Q. What is your travel plan now for tomorrow?

DAVID TOMS: I am going to -- I have got to fly to Memphis tonight. I am doing a Ducks Unlimited outing tomorrow. I like to duck hunt so I am going over there to meet all the big wigs. Never know when you might need some help.

Q. Then after that you are going --

DAVID TOMS: I am going home. Not going to Las Vegas. I play the last three tournaments after that.

Q. What is your caddy's name?

DAVID TOMS: Scott Gneiser.

Q. You talked about your frustrations about playing this event early in the middle '90s. Just two questions. You told a story here I think it was Wednesday about getting heckled on the course, I was wondering it if that was like one of lower points of your earlier career?

DAVID TOMS: It was, because you are out there, I mean I don't know how many guys played this week, 132, 144, I don't know. When you have a big percentage of those guys that might not be playing good golf, they might be trying to keep, you know, trying to keep their job for the next year, they are a little bit on edge; then when you run into something like that, you just, I don't know, I don't think people always understand that -- they see it on television on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, they have no clue what we go through on a day-to-day basis trying to get prepared mentally, physically, you know, the travel, staying in hotel, eating Wendy's, just the whole thing that people -- they have no idea. They see that I got presented a check for $630,000 when I finished. That's what they, you know, equate the PGA TOUR to. It's not like that. So yeah that -- that was a tough time for me. 1994 was the worst year, hell, that might have been the worst year of my life. Everybody kind of took care of you when you were young; all of a sudden you had to take care of yourself and I wasn't doing a very good job of it.

Q. The other part of the question would be if you hadn't had success here, what kept you coming back? A lot of guys would file it away.

DAVID TOMS: To be totally honest, what was it, 99 didn't play well at all. I think I missed the cut here in 1999. I am not sure of that. But I think I did because I tried to erase it. I came back the last year because I needed to get in the top-30. I mean, I was right there. I wanted to give myself every opportunity because I had made THE TOUR Championship the year before. It was a great tournament. It kind of separates you from maybe the rest of the Tour, it's a big deal, so I came here in hopes to play well and do that. And I won. Obviously came back this year, so I really up to that point last year I hadn't had a whole lot of success here.

Q. Now you love it, of course?

DAVID TOMS: Well, I love this place when you can drive it in the fairway. If you start driving it crooked, I mean, it's tough because the rough is always thick, the greens, other than -- this year they were a little soft but they are usually firm. It makes it tough. But I have been able to the last couple of years to drive it well and set myself up for some birdie opportunities.

Q. After the season you have had as you look forward to 02 and trying to progress forward, what type of offseason do you envision for yourself just --

DAVID TOMS: I am playing -- our Tour runs through the first week of November. After that I am playing the Grand Slam, middle of November in Hawaii which is a long way away. Then three weeks later I am probably playing Tiger's tournament which is in December, I turn around, the 27th of December we're going back to Hawaii.

Q. You are not going to have an off-season?

DAVID TOMS: Not much. Maybe a total of five weeks. But I stagger my time. The tournaments during the year, I am well rested. I took -- I just came off a month off and I will take two weeks here or there, I will be fine come first of next year, I will be ready to go.

Q. You don't need much time to sit down and reflect on this and prepare for the year?

DAVID TOMS: No. I'd like to just keep -- not play all the way through but not take off so -- when I -- before I got in THE TOUR Championship events like that or any extra events I had two and a half months off. You got -- like starting all over again but now you are kind of just -- if you can play well, kind of keep building on that and get ready for the next year.

Q. You will be playing the whole year next year knowing you are on the Ryder Cup team. Have you thought about that and do you think that will change any attitude or approach the way you play knowing that you don't have to make it because you already made it?

DAVID TOMS: No, I don't think so. It's something that I will be excited about doing. You look forward to it all year long, but still we have a job to do. That's just -- that's a bonus being on the Ryder Cup team of having played good golf. I just want to be, you know, totally prepared to play there. I want to play a bunch. I want to have my game in good shape to go over there and perform well because I am really looking forward to it. It was nice to win here this week. Obviously because last week I was watching the Golf Channel after the first round in San Antonio and I had shot like 3-over par. There was a quote saying that bet he's glad he's not at the Belfry today. I was like, man, so obviously you are going -- (laughter) no, if you are not playing well next year you are going to have to answer those questions, so I just want to continue to try and play good golf so you don't have to worry about -- I hope -- I hope all 12 guys are the top 12 guys on the money list so he doesn't have to -- you don't have to answer any questions about whether or not you are fielding the best team. I hope that's the way it works out.

Q. You mentioned Ducks Unlimited. A few years ago -- this struck me as strange. A few years ago I think you had just won a tournament the previous season. I was covering the Bob Hope and you were there. You shot 63 or something one day. You come in, we said what did you do in the offseason; you told a story about going duck hunting. You said everyday -- and you had a young son and said my wife eventually told me that I couldn't go duck hunting, something like that.

DAVID TOMS: Still like that, the same way.

Q. You struck me as a strong a guy who would win and finally get to that level and not work on golf in the off-season. What why did you do that and am I misinterpreting what you are saying about duck hunting?

DAVID TOMS: It is kind of my escape and even though I live in Louisiana where the -- weatherwise, temperaturewise you can play golf year-round, but it gets so wet and so nasty, when I am at home I like to ride in the cart. You can't get the cart off the path so you have to carry 3, 4 clubs on the fairway; not a whole lot of fun. I like to get away from it. If I want to go to prepare in a tournament, I have got a deal with PGA West I go out there and I just stay for a few weeks and just get ready. If there's a time where I just need to have the good weather and go out and play. So when I am at home, even now they are in the middle of the season when I go home if I have got a week or two off, I don't -- I hardly practice at all. I do play from time to time because I enjoy playing golf with my friends, but you know, as far as winning, and then to all of a sudden, -- I didn't have any tournaments to play in. You can chase it around the world and try to pick up an extra dime here or there, but I think it's kind of like the offseason what little we have is the time to sit back and say, let me have a little break and enjoy the success that I have had, and just you know, be fresh for the next year.

Q. Will you duck hunt much this off-season?

DAVID TOMS: I am not going to get to as much as I'd like. I am going to be at the Grand Slam of opening week, so everybody-- I spend all this money and we bought 800 acres up north where I live and got all this investment here and all my other guys in the club are going to be there before me. But I will have plenty opportunity to hunt.

Q. Do you get as sophisticated about that as -- I don't know much about duck hunting?

DAVID TOMS: I am not -- as much as I like it, I would say I am about a 18 handicap. Is that good enough? I am about 18 handicap. I am like that 18 handicapper that's going to go out and buy all the best equipment and try to get down to a 5, but it's not working so far. But I enjoy it. My dad is about a 5 handicap, so I just hang out with him.

Q. What type of Porsche do you have?

DAVID TOMS: A Boxter. It's too small.

Q. What kind of truck do you want to buy?

DAVID TOMS: You ask some questions now. I want to buy a four-door GMC. One of those redneck mobiles, how about that.

Q. With a gun rack in the back?

DAVID TOMS: No, no gun rack. I need something that my 4 year old can ride in. He can't ride in a sports car.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you very much, David.

End of FastScripts....

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