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May 9, 2001
LEE PATTERSON: Well, congratulations.
DAVID TOMS: Thanks.
LEE PATTERSON: Wonderful week last week for you. Maybe just after you've settled in and have that victory, maybe just share a couple thoughts with us about it and we'll open it up for questions.
DAVID TOMS: Well, I mean, first of all, it happened really fast. You know, I went from not really having a shot entering the final day to all of a sudden after No. 5 when he made triple-bogey to being right there after, I guess, No. 12, I went birdie, eagle, birdie on the back side and I was right there. Just played solid the rest of the way in. And things worked out obviously for the better, for me anyway, and it was pretty exciting. I mean, all the people down there got pretty charged up, and I've never experienced anything like that before on the golf course. I'm sure some of the other superstars maybe have. Maybe in a major or something like that, but to have that many people pulling for me, it was pretty incredible.
Q. Do you think of five wins as any kind of nice little threshold?
DAVID TOMS: I mean, it's nice. One of the guys I played with today, he said "Well, was that your first win." I said, "No, that was No. 5." He said, "Well, you kind of snuck up on me." I said, "Well, I think I've snuck up on a lot of people." But you know, hopefully there will be more to come. And just now, I think I'm starting to play well enough to when I do play well to have a chance to win. You know, before, I mean, a lot of times you were always, well, Top-10 was a good week or Top-25 is what your first goal was or to make the cut, you know, when I first got on tour. But now, I think I've gotten better so that when I do play well, I've got a chance.
Q. When you lived in this area, what was that for about a year or two?
DAVID TOMS: I lived here for two years.
Q. Two years?
DAVID TOMS: The year that I finished third on the BUY.COM TOUR, right after that we moved up the street about five miles up MacArthur from here. And I lived here for two years, in fact, when I got my first victory I was living here in town, and my son was born here in the Presbyterian Hospital. So right after he was born, we moved back so we could have all the family around to help us with him. And it's been good. It was a wise decision.
Q. Did you play this course any more frequently or you were traveling?
DAVID TOMS: You know what, I didn't. I practiced a lot. Hit a lot of balls here. I played Cottonwood a lot more than I played the TPC. They were always packed. They always had a lot of stuff going on, whether it was hotel guests or corporate people in here, and it was difficult as a single, not really knowing very many people to get out and play. So I ended up going in the Dallas Athletic Club. I had some friends there and Northwood, had some friends there, so I played a lot.
Q. I may be wrong. But it seemed like -- did you win Sprint and Callaway Gardens the same year?
DAVID TOMS: Yeah. '98.
Q. Were you kind of a spurtzy kind of guy?
DAVID TOMS: Spurtzy. I think so. But I think a lot of players are that way. You know, it's a game that maybe if you're just not totally confident in yourself, it seems like when you play well, you can get that way and you can stay that way until, all of a sudden the results aren't there; and you start struggling and it might take you a while to find the same rhythm or the same confidence that. I mean, golf's a strange game. I mean, you've covered enough to know that when you're playing well, those are the times that you have to capitalize because you're not always going to play great. I mean, the way it worked out last week, it's the only way that I could win was -- I mean, I shot 127 on the weekend, and all of a sudden Mickelson, what did he shoot, even par on Sunday, when he had just ripped the course up the other three days. So to win golf tournaments out here, some strange things have to happen. Unless you're maybe a Tiger, which you're just obviously better than the rest of the guys.
Q. Do you look at this the stretch we're in right now as kind of Stage II of the season, approaching kind of the summer; specifically, the U.S. Open and then on to the really the key part of the season?
DAVID TOMS: Right. With the U.S. Open coming up, and this obviously is a high-profile tournament with the field and having Mr. Nelson's name on it, obviously, this is a very important tournament. Next week, I love the Colonial. I think that's a great tournament traditional golf course and makes for a great tournament. Then you have the Memorial coming up in a couple weeks after that and then the U.S. Open. So we have a good stretch. Good tournaments with good fields. Some good time to be playing well.
Q. When is the last time you played Southern Hills?
DAVID TOMS: I played there in a Pro-Am right when I first got on tour, and haven't played there since.
Q. When was that?
DAVID TOMS: Oh, it was like '92, '93, something like that. I've been out here a little while. Almost ten years now. But I just remember a little bit about it then and then watching on television when they had the PGA and THE TOUR Championship there. So I don't know that much about the golf course, other than the fact I know with it being warm, the Bermuda rough is going to be deep. And I remember a lot of doglegs. So in order to get the ball in the fairway there, you're going to have to shape your shots, and it'll be difficult.
Q. Do you think because of what one guy did at the last U.S. Open that there may be some payback on the minds of the USGA, kind of similar to what happened in '74?
DAVID TOMS: You know, Pebble Beach to me is not typical of a lot of the U.S. Open golf courses. I mean, it doesn't have as much length as a lot of the other courses. It's a type of course where you can shoot a low score if you play well. You know, greens are small. If you hit good shots, you're going to have short putts. The fairways normally are soft enough to where -- and they were last year where if you hit the ball in the fairway, it would stay in the fairway. Typical U.S. Open, they slant the fairways and they're firm and the ball just rolls into the rough all day. Unless you can shape it into 'em. And plus, he blew away the field. I mean, you look at the rest of the field and it was U.S. Open-type of score except for what he did, and he was -- I don't think that they will change much from what they normally do. I mean, it's always a tough test. So I think that what they normally do is sufficient.
Q. They have lengthened a few holes, which is, I guess, part of a growing trend in golf. What do you think of that trend and is there a stopping point?
DAVID TOMS: I hope there is, because every course we go to now, that's how they change it. I mean that's what they do; they add length. They've added length here. Every year we come back to this golf tournament, there's length on certain holes, and I just don't know if that's the thing to do or not. I would like to see the studies as far as what that does to the stroke average because I'm not so sure it does anything to it.
Q. What would be the option or do you think anything does need to be done?
DAVID TOMS: I don't think anything needs to -- you know, if they're not going to change the equipment and scale that back, what's wrong with shooting low scores? I mean, I don't think the people, if you called up anyone in New Orleans last week that watched me make shoot 127 on the weekend thought that was a bad thing. You know, I mean, at the same time I was doing that, there were other guys that were shooting even par because they didn't play all that great. So, I mean, I don't think there's anything wrong with it. And I think players are getting better and obviously the equipment, the golf ball. Until they do something about that, I don't think that necessarily adding length to golf courses is going to raise the scoring average at all.
Q. Doesn't that play into the hands, wouldn't you think, of your Tigers and Davises and some of your longer hitters by making it longer?
DAVID TOMS: Sure, it does.
Q. Who are they helping?
DAVID TOMS: Well, typical example here is like the seventh hole is a par 5. I mean, today, I couldn't reach the green. And the longer hitters, they can just fly it over the fairway bunker, hit it down, catch the downslope, and they're hitting iron in there. And I think the more -- those guys are still going to bomb it out there. I just don't think that -- I think what they're doing is there are a lot of players that they're going to have to play extremely well, or their best golf to compete, you know, with some of the shorter hitters. I think my driving average is the same distance-wise as it's been the last five years, and I've lost 50 spots on the TOUR. I mean, I'm like 115th and I've always been 50th, 70th in driving distance, and I'm in the -- 100th right now and I'm hitting it the distance.
Q. Does that bother you?
DAVID TOMS: It bothers me, but until you have results, you're like: Why would I even think about it? Because there are certain times where it's a liability, but if I can get the ball in the fairway and still play my game, then I'm fine with it.
Q. You play Nissan, don't you?
DAVID TOMS: I haven't played there. I haven't played there in about three years now.
Q. There goes my next question. So back to you. When you go to a course, say, even like this one, is there any grumbling in the locker room about, "Oh, here's another one that they've lengthened"?
DAVID TOMS: Well, there's always going to be grumbling. It doesn't matter what it is. Some guys are just that way. Some guys are not going to like certain things and some guys are going to love it. You can't please everybody. The one thing that concerns me is how do they go about: Okay, we're going to lengthen this hole 30 yards. Whose decision is that? I mean, does it come from players or does it come from field staff? Does it come from the golf course, tournament director? I mean, I have no idea who makes that decision.
DAVID TOMS: Yeah. Lee does. That's what they say in the media room. I don't know. I mean, I don't know who makes that decision. And, I mean, I was on the Player Advisory Council last year, and we voted on a lot of things, but I don't know if we ever voted to lengthen No. 6 at TPC at Las Colinas, so I have no idea.
Q. So if you were grumbling, you wouldn't even know who to grumble to?
DAVID TOMS: Exactly right. Who do you say anything to? I mean, I don't really know.
Q. You can say it to us.
DAVID TOMS: Right. Exactly. That's the only way it's going to get heard, probably.
Q. You talked about how much you liked Colonial as a traditional course.
DAVID TOMS: Right.
Q. How would you feel if they started lengthening -- I don't know if there is a way to lengthen holes there?
DAVID TOMS: I don't know if there is. Cut down trees. We lost a couple out there when we were playing last year. I don't know. Guys don't rip that course up. I mean obviously if guys play well they're going to score well. If the wind comes up, it's going to play tougher.
DAVID TOMS: And you know, I just don't see any need to keep changing golf courses. To me, it doesn't say a whole lot for your golf course if you have to do something different every year that the player comes back, if something's changed. You know, it's either -- well, you know, what are we doing here. Do we have a weak -- do we just need to just start over and go to another place or what.
Q. When was your first U.S. Open, David?
DAVID TOMS: When was it?
DAVID TOMS: First U.S. Open. Oh, man. Maybe Oakland Hills. I think that might have been the first one. Where did we play in '95.
Q. Riviera. No, no. PGA. It was Shinnecock?
DAVID TOMS: No. Didn't play Shinnecock.
DAVID TOMS: Didn't play at Oakmont. It was Oakland Hills, first one.
Q. Do you have any recollection of Oakland Hills or your first U.S. Open experience?
DAVID TOMS: I thought it was by far the most brutal thing I had ever been through. I mean, it was tough. I actually played with one of my teammates, Greg Lesher (ph), was paired with him, so we were comfortable and we still just wore me out. Then I went to Congressional after that, I think, for the next one. And that was -- I wasn't ready for it. Was not ready for it. Didn't drive the ball well enough then, and when you don't drive the ball well at the U.S. Open, it's just going to beat you up.
Q. Was it intimidating?
DAVID TOMS: Very intimidating. Very much so, I mean very. It's tough. I mean, those -- but that's what they want. That's what they're all about.
Q. How would you say Oakland Hills and Congressional, and, I guess, Olympic would fit in this, too, differed from the last two, because they were substantially different in terms of the typical traditional venue that you usually get for a U.S. Open.
DAVID TOMS: Right.
Q. Are those any more fun?
DAVID TOMS: It was. I mean, I didn't play well at Pinehurst, but I thought that was a fair test and I enjoyed it. I think it's a great golf course and it was different. And then Pebble Beach. I love that place. I mean, I was there in '82 as a spectator when Watson chipped in. I was on the fairway on 18. I was watching Nicklaus putt, and I heard the roaring, and I looked back and Watson was running around back there, and it was kind of neat to be there for that, and I love that place. But this year, we'll see. Southern Hills, I mean that'll be different. It's going to be hot. You know, it's going to be real hot. I think it is, anyway, unless a freak weather pattern comes through. But I'm used to it. I've been complaining all year it's been cold. I've been just freezing all year, it seems like, until just recently.
Q. Felt that way when we walked in this room.
DAVID TOMS: Yeah. I know it. A little chilly.
LEE PATTERSON: Thank you, we appreciate it.
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