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October 5, 2001

David Toms


TODD BUDNICK: David Toms with a 70 today. He's at 8-under for the tournament. David, you started on the front with a birdie on No. 1.

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, birdied 1. I hit sand wedge in there pretty close, probably two feet away. I birdied 3. I was just off the edge of the green, chipped up to three or four feet, made that one. Bogeyed 6. Missed the green with a pitching wedge didn't get up-and-down, bogey. Next hole, 8 -- or 7 missed the green with a sand wedge and didn't get up-and-down, made bogey. And then 8 missed the green from middle of the fairway with 6-iron, made another bogey. Then I birdied 9, hit 5-iron to probably ten feet, twelve feet, made that one. 12, I hit pitching wedge to about four inches, managed to scrape that one in. Then that was it.

TODD BUDNICK: Give us a comment on today's round. Obviously got off to a good start; then ran into a little trouble.

DAVID TOMS: Yes, got off to good start. Making two bogeys in a row with wedges in your hand kind of wasn't good. Just kind of obviously slowed me down and lost maybe some of that momentum that I had from yesterday and then bogeying 8 to get over par for the round, I was just where is this, I didn't really know where it was going to go from there. Then hit two great shots on 9 which is the toughest hole on the course, I believe; made birdie. That kind of helped me turn things around. Then just played good solid golf on the back just didn't really make any putts.

Q. So the putter wasn't quite as hot as yesterday?

DAVID TOMS: No, not even close. Somebody dipped it in a bucket of ice water. The birdies I made were all real close - never made anything over five or six feet, and well actually the putt at 9 was a good putt but other than that I didn't make anything not even a par. The holes where I have made bogey, I had opportunities to make par with, you know, less than 10-foot putts and I wasn't able to make them. I was still burning the edges; they just weren't going in like they were yesterday. That was -- it -- pretty boring round. It was kind of a slow day too. We had a twosome out there and Dudley Hart had to withdraw. We were waiting a lot. It was hard to get the momentum, if you make birdie you step -- you to the next hole and you got to wait. Then it was -- it is tough to get the momentum when you are waiting all the time.

Q. Golf course is one that gives up good scores but then you wind up shooting a good score the next day. Is it the course or is the player or --

DAVID TOMS: It is a little bit of both. Obviously I didn't make the putts today so that's my fault but the golf course, it's not an easy golf course. What, 13-under won it last year, you know, it's the type of course where you just -- the way they stick the pins on the corners you got to be in the fairway to have a chance to get it close, and I missed a few fairways in the first cut. You still can't be aggressive. You just -- it's not an easy golf course. Par 5s, let's see, they are all reachable, if you can get the ball in the fairway off the tee, so that helps, but you know, but there's only 3 of them. That's one less birdie opportunity that you might have on a normal golf course with four par 5s. It's not an easy course. It can be if you play great golf, but 4-, 5-, 6-under is a really good score on this golf course.

Q. I know it has been six or seven weeks now, but standing around the putting green the other day I still heard people talking about what a smart play they thought you made in Atlanta on 18. What has been the reaction from fans, from your peers in the locker room, just to your course management that day and how you thought --

DAVID TOMS: The fan reaction made other players' reaction. It has been great. Obviously it worked out, you know, I don't know if it would have been the same way if they would have said smart play, if I would have lost the golf tournament. Reception has been great. I think a lot of people really paid attention to that, especially the fans, the average golfer maybe could learn from that, in a situation where I am trying to win a major golf tournament and I was able to take my time and play to the percentages. I have got friends at home that they are going to go for the 8th hole no matter what yards they have, and it goes over the water, they are going to go for it every time whether they can hit it or not. The average golfer goes for broke most of the time. And I think a lot of people saw that and maybe learned from it and a lot of people recognized it and say a lot of things about it to me.

Q. Maybe some of your own compatriots would be the same way?

DAVID TOMS: Maybe so. I don't know, who knows how the different players would react in that situation, but I have a good caddie that has been with me for a long time and that helped me to stay calm and to hit the right shot and I think that's what I was most proud of is the way, we, as a team, the way we approached it and made it a positive thing rather than a negative thing about laying up.

Q. What was your precise yardage, do you remember, what you were there?

DAVID TOMS: I had like 207, 208 to the pin and ---

Q. What was your carry over the water?

DAVID TOMS: Probably about 200 yards. Just didn't really have a shot for it. I needed a 7-wood or 9-wood, something like that, since we can only have 14 clubs, I didn't have that one in my bag at the time.

Q. Were there people in the gallery going: Go for it, go for it?

DAVID TOMS: Not necessarily, but you could hear the oohs and ahhs kind of like when you are not putting very well you hear them oohing and ahhing before you even strike a putt. That happens to all of us, the greatest players it happens to, it does, so you heard a lot of that.

Q. Was it satisfying, I mean, when Mickelson came in that day and said I was really hoping he'd go for it, to me, that says it all?

DAVID TOMS: He's a great golfer. He knew the percentages and he knew that I just -- there's nothing good that was going to come of me going for the green, and I figured the worse thing I was going to go is be in a playoff. He still had to hit the same shot although he was in the fairway, still a tough shot.

Q. Really in hindsight it was a no-brainer, you didn't even come close to --

DAVID TOMS: No, not -- the more I thought about it, no, it was just -- didn't have any second thoughts, that was the good thing, once I decided to lay up. It was a positive thing. It wasn't like, well, should I be doing this or not. Like this is what I am doing and go from there.

Q. What are you playing in the off-season?

DAVID TOMS: Good question. I had a lot of stuff going on until this tragedy in the States, I don't know what I am going to do. Got offers to go to Japan, South Africa, places like that. I just don't know if I am going to do that.

Q. You hadn't signed anything before or you were just at the negotiating stage?


Q. Charles was saying the same thing. What is it going to depend on?

DAVID TOMS: Just my gut feeling, probably. I would hate to get over some place and not be able to get home. Get to South Africa and we go to war and I get stranded for a month or something; that just wouldn't be good. There's plenty of money to be had on our Tour. I feel like I am going -- I am playing good golf. I am going to make plenty of money, so that's not an issue. I think it would be more an exposure issue to go to different parts of the world where you might have played before and let people see you and -- but I don't know. It's a good question. I don't know what I am going to do, I really -- if I was leaning either way, right now, I can give you that information, but I am not sure.

Q. Million dollars?

DAVID TOMS: That one and the Dunlop, I am going to -- I have got to go to Hawaii for the Grand Slam, so I have got a busy fall any way. We're playing until first or second week in November anyway. So I like to hunt in the wintertime, probably rather do that there than fly across the world.

Q. We have had a lot of guys who still are looking for their kind of moment of achievement, come in here shoot a good round, come in here and say -- several of them have come in and said the key was almost not caring anymore, just kind of just going out and doing it. What happened for you when you finally won -- how did you handle all that, especially end of the year kind of stuff?

DAVID TOMS: Just I think you have to be strong on the inside and you have to -- I don't know. It's a good question, because I have so many -- there's so many guys that I have played golf with before that should be out here on a regular basis that are either playing BUY.COM Tour Hooters Tour, Asia, South Africa, South America and you can't not -- there's nothing you can put your finger on as to why. I don't know what got me over the hump. I think was probably having to go back to the Nike Tour in 1995 and just realized that it's not where I wanted to be and I had enough talent to be out here. You just have to convince yourself and get enough confidence to get through it. It's hard and I have been there trying to keep your job. It is a bad feeling. It is. I don't know what my advice would be other than take not only each day at a time but each shot at a time and if you can conquer that 1st tee shot and just go from there, you know instead of looking ahead, that's the hardest things is looking at the what the result is going to be before you even go through the motions to hitting the shot. I don't know. But I know there's a lot of guys like that, I feel for them because I have been there. I know what it is like. I really do. And they are only -- they can -- there can be that one or two shots away -- I played with Garrett Willis today. He was cruising along just fine. I think he triple bogeyed the last hole. He's probably going to miss the cut. He makes birdie there he's 4-under, he's right in the middle of the golf tournament. Seems unfair at times. But you know, that's what makes it so great when you do accomplish something because you did it all by yourself. Whether it's you and your caddie, maybe your instructor, but still they can't hit the shot for you. That's what makes it so rewarding. That's why you see guys shed tears when they win golf tournaments because they have paid the price.

Q. When you got to 18 in the PGA was your confidence already to the point where you knew you were fine, this is it or was doing it in a major another step too?

DAVID TOMS: I think that I didn't have anything to prove to myself that I can win a tournament, now winning a major I just tried to -- other than having to go in the pressroom every night after I played, you know, I was just trying to approach it like another tournament and you know, you guys are the ones that kept asking me you know, can you win this major, can you beat Phil Mickelson when he's playing good golf. I was just trying to play it as another tournament. I had the experience where I -- New Orleans this year I beat some good players down the stretch, other golf tournaments when I won The INTERNATIONAL, I beat some really good players down the stretch. So I knew I could do it. Just a matter of executing.

Q. What is your caddie's name and how long have you guys ---

DAVID TOMS: Scott Gneiser. We have been together, let's see, two and a half years, something like that. Which I mean, I say a long time, I mean, that's pretty long, that's a lot of golf tournaments.

Q. He had been carrying for somebody else?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, probably out here ten years so I knew him before that. We have a good relationship. Seems to be able to keep me together when things get tough down the stretch. He does a good job of that. Very good job.

Q. He is an ass-kicker, a massager?

DAVID TOMS: He knows when to talk and when not to talk. He probably even does a better job when I am trying to win than he does on a routine day-to-day -- he's always on time but as far as I mean he's really into the game. When we have a chance to do something good he's right there for me when you need him the most.

End of FastScripts....

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