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August 17, 2001

David Toms


JULIUS MASON: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Most of you know David Toms now ties Shingo Katayama for the PGA Championship 36-hole scoring record with a 131. Congratulations, David. If you would not mind going through your round and we'll go through your card and we'll go to Q&A, please.

DAVID TOMS: I think today the key was I only missed one fairway. When you are able to do that on this golf course with the greens still being receptive, you can shoot at the pins that you are able to get close to. I had some good yardages out there. I hit a lot of good shots. Just played a good, solid round. I struggled on a couple holes, but I was able to recover and just made one bogey, I guess, over on 15. It was just a good, solid day and I feel good about my game right now. I made birdie on No. 5. I hit a 5-wood in to about 35 feet or so and 2-putted. I birdied 7. I hit a 6-iron, that was about 20 feet and I made that one. 8, I hit a 6-iron to about 15 feet and made that one. 9, I was in the fairway bunker on the right. It was probably shot of the day for me. I hit 8-iron in to about 12 feet short of the hole out of the right-hand bunker and was able to make that one. So kind of got me on a roll. No. 10, I hit an 8-iron in. I was no more than 3 1/2 feet and looking to make that one and move on and I missed. But then I came back on 12. I was just short of the green in, between the water and the green there not far from the green. I chipped up pretty close and made birdie. I bogeyed 15. Missed a 4-iron into the left bunker, didn't make a very good second shot and made bogey. Came right back on 16. Hit an 8-iron to, oh, no more than three feet from the hole and made that one. I played the last two holes that are very difficult. I just played them real solid and almost birdied 18. Left it hanging on the lip there.

JULIUS MASON: Questions, folks.

Q. I heard you a little bit outside talking about Tiger making or missing the cut. Looks like he is going to make the cut. Is that good to have him around for the weekend?

DAVID TOMS: I think so, because you'll have that audience that would not otherwise tune in, even to see the highlights of his round, even though he will probably be off pretty early tomorrow. It brings more focus to this golf tournament. If you are playing well, you can get some more people to see you play golf, and for me, that's good. Hopefully, I'll play well, and people will be able to see me out there on national television. And for me, that means a lot. The more recognition, the better.

Q. In the evolution of a career, you're used to playing on the Tour and contending, same with the majors. Are you at this point now where you feel good and comfortable about competing now to win your first major here in the next two days?

DAVID TOMS: I feel good. You know, if it were not a major, maybe I would feel better, you know, because I have won some PGA TOUR events. But I still think if I can go out there and play like I have, and maybe I don't even have to play as well as I did the first two days. If I can just go out and play good, solid golf, stress-free golf, I guess that's what you can call it, if that's what I've done, it makes it a lot more fun to play. When I'm having a lot of fun on the golf course, I tend to play well. I like my chances, if I can just keep it up.

Q. I think you've got -- you've got five wins in the last five years, which puts you in some pretty elite company. I think most people would be very surprised to know that. Is there -- do you feel overlooked? Is there something -- do you need to wear the cowboy hat or something to get people to start noticing you a little bit more?

DAVID TOMS: I don't think so. I think I need to do this more often. I need to have some good rounds. I need to contends in the majors. I've had a couple Top-10s in majors. At Augusta in '98 I came out of nowhere the last day and I actually played really well at the British Open last year. But just haven't been -- at least now, I'm making out of all of the cuts in the majors, where earlier in my career I was not able to perform very well in them. But at least I'm making cuts and playing on the weekend and I'm just getting to be a better player. And for people to know that, I'm going to have to be there on Sunday afternoon in the majors. Hopefully, I will be.

Q. I've told you this before; that sometimes you really hold a lot of emotion in and it's hard to read you. Somehow, after these last two rounds, I get a feeling that you're just maybe churning inside, or you're just still relaxed and bursting with confidence. Your thoughts there?

DAVID TOMS: It's funny, I remember after the Byron Nelson -- after I had just won New Orleans and at the Byron Nelson I played well and shot like 30 -- real low on Saturday, 61 and Hal Sutton's caddy came up to me, Freddie Burns, and he's from Shreveport, also. He said, from what he saw, he thought the key the last few weeks is that I was showing some emotion on the golf course and that it was -- I wasn't embarrassed to be playing well and I felt like I deserved it, and he saw that. And so maybe you are seeing something, also. I don't know, I'm just a quiet guy. I'm not very outspoken. I'm not going to go tell somebody to jump in a river like some guys do. I don't know, I just like to go out -- I like playing golf, and when I'm playing well, I really enjoy it. I might not show it, but inside, it's a lot of fun.

Q. I pulled your record over the last six weeks up in the book, and there was really nothing to indicate that this was coming. What did you fix or what's been -- what's been going on there?

DAVID TOMS: I just haven't been playing well. But it wasn't like I just wanted to go home and hide or anything. It wasn't that bad. It's just that I wasn't, you know -- it seems like when I missed a green, I wasn't able to get up-and-down, and when I had a par 5 I could reach in two, I missed the fairway. Just little things like that that add up to not shooting low enough scores to be able to have a chance to win golf tournaments. I think just staying -- just staying patient, knowing that I have the ability and that any time it could come out. And also, I've been working on my golf swing a little bit. My teacher was here this week, and just basically told me to try to swing 80 percent. The ball seems to be going further; it was going straighter. You know, I think playing every week on the PGA TOUR, you end up -- for a long time, I was getting paired with people that I was the short hitter every single day. I mean, I don't care -- I looked at the stats, I was 100th on TOUR in driving distance and I don't really feel like I'm hitting it that short and I think I started swinging harder and harder and harder and that's just not me. If I can put a smooth swing on it, I have adequate length -- obviously, I have enough length to play this golf course well. Just sometimes you have to learn. It's been a struggle, like you said, the last six weeks, and it is very nice to play well again. Hopefully I will this weekend.

Q. Coming in, one of your objectives, of course, was to make the Ryder Cup team, I think. What does that do to the pressure on you now for the next two days?

DAVID TOMS: I'm in position to make it okay, which is good. If I miss the cut here, I would have gone home and not had any chance at all, but at least I have a chance to make it, but I also have a chance to win this tournament, and that's more important right now. Tomorrow's round, that first tee shot is very important, to get in play and then go on, but the Ryder Cup is there. It's something I'm thinking about. But I still have to play great golf this weekend to have a chance.

Q. We talked all week about how long this golf course is and how difficult it would be. 9-under is leading, a record-tying figure. Why have the scores been so low this week, do you think?

DAVID TOMS: A combination. I think the fairways, even though they are pretty narrow, they are playing about as wide as they can play because they are still soft enough to where if you hit the ball in the fairway, it will stay, for the most part. The greens are still receptive after the rain they had early in the week, and they are in good shape. I mean, you can make some putts. I don't know, I think it's also the heat. I mean, the ball is going a long way. I had -- a perfect example was No. 14. I was in the middle of the fairway there and I had 160 to the pin, and I had 159 or I had 145 yards to carry the bunker, an uphill shot. Normally I'm an 8-iron 155 type player, and I thought this was a perfect 8-iron, up the hill, and I hit it, posing on it, and I have a 40-footer back down the hill. The ball is just going a long way. Maybe the drives are going one club longer than maybe they are normally would, and then you get in the fairway and your irons are going one club longer than they normally would. So the holes are just playing a little bit shorter than what the card said says.

Q. Does the fact that you are playing with a guy like Shingo tomorrow, rather than a Duval or a Tiger, will that help you in that regard?

DAVID TOMS: I think it might. He looks like he likes to have fun on the golf course. You can tell by his hat and everything that he's a pretty fun type of guy. I don't know him personally. Don't know his game or anything. But, you know, not playing with one of the big guns, it will make it a little bit easier. Not so much that I can't play well with them, but you don't have the crowd -- there will be a lot of people out there that you don't have to worry about, you know, when you're playing with Tiger. And you're still on the green putting and all of the people are running to the next tee box to watch him or the people, you know, when you lay even in front or behind, you have to deal with those people that are coming up to watch his drive. It's a circus, really. So that, in that case, I think it will be probably easier playing with Katayama.

Q. You and Katayama are leading, but probably a lot of people who are coming out tomorrow will go watch Mickelson because they feel he's due. Will that, in a sense, allow you to take it easy and not feel quite as much pressure?

DAVID TOMS: Maybe so. If I was somebody that was coming out to the PGA Championship to watch the last few groups I probably would watch him, too. He's a lot of fun to watch. Makes a lot of birdies. Hits the ball forever. One of the best players in the world. But, yeah, I think that maybe they won't be -- the people that are out there watching the last few groups, they probably won't be expecting me to, you know, to play all that great. They are probably like, well, I don't know what he's going to do. He's never been here in a major before, and so maybe the pressure is off a little bit. But I still -- I think I can play well tomorrow and I think I can be in contention on Sunday. No reason why I can't.

Q. One thing, in the last -- over a year, your caddie, Scott, and I have gotten to be just nice friends and this and that, and I have never seen him in a bad mood, regardless of what. And I just wonder, you have to always get as a player that gets hot and he has been through with you through a couple of big wins and what is the relationship, and does he help you out there?

DAVID TOMS: Yes, he helps me a lot and we have a great relationship. The last few years he has been working for me and things have gone well. I guess it's easy to have a good relationship when things are going well. You miss a couple cuts and, you know, you are looking at everything, what's wrong. But he stays pretty positive, like you said. He's about to get married in a couple weeks, so I think he's kind of nervous walking around, but this would be, to, play well here, would be a nice little wedding present for him. So hopefully we can do that.

Q. You mentioned playing the final group in that setup maybe where people are not expecting you to do much, but deep down in yourself, you are expecting yourself to do a lot tomorrow, aren't you?

DAVID TOMS: Absolutely. I think I will be nervous early on in the round, but that's just anticipation of the day. Like Nicklaus said one time, "If you don't have butterflies, you must not care." Like I said I'll be a little bit nervous, but I'll go out -- I played really solid these first two days. It's not like I went out and I struggled around the golf course and I took advantage of every opportunity I had. You know, I left some shots out there today. Early in the round, I hit some good shots and didn't make the putts. Then I missed a short one on 10. I know I'm 9-under par, but that's not as low as I could have been. You know, I played good, solid golf, but I'm not, like, surprised that I'm 9-under par at all.

JULIUS MASON: Questions? Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts...

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