June 22, 2000
LEE PATTERSON: Nice start to the week. Maybe just a couple of thoughts about your round today; then we will open it up for questions.
DAVID TOMS: Well, I have a lot of friends here. My teacher is here. They all live here in Memphis. Never have played extremely well during this golf tournament, but I have always felt comfortable and just one of those tournaments where I would like to have a really good tournament one of these years, just because it will be a good place to play really well. Every week-- don't get me wrong, every week is a good week to play well. But here would be special for me just because I know so many people. Like I said, my teacher is here. I get up here a good bit in the off-season; just would be a good week to play well. Obviously I got off to a good start today. Birdieing four out of the first seven holes and kind of kick-started my round. I kind of played solid the rest of the way.
LEE PATTERSON: Questions.
Q. When you come in here during the off-season, do you play at all here or mostly work with Rob out at Ridgewood?
DAVID TOMS: To be honest with you, I end up duck hunting more than anything else. I don't work on my game too much in the winter, other than right before the season starts I will try to tune-up a little bit. But actually I end up meeting everybody when I come up this way, end up meeting up in Arkansas. I don't get more closer than that.
Q. Where do you go?
DAVID TOMS: Just all over, you name it. I have got friends in a bunch of different places, a lot of places to go. Just wherever, chasing those ducks around. Never know where they are going to be.
Q. How did you and Rob hook up?
DAVID TOMS: We have known each other forever. We actually played junior golf against each other, played high school golf against each other. He is actually a couple of years older than me. We were still around town playing the same time. He kind of went the teaching route and I went to the playing, started playing and we are here one year -- oh, I don't know how many years ago, it has been probably six years ago, seven years ago I was here. I was struggling a little bit and just asked him to take a look. I thought he was pretty knowledgeable. I hadn't spent much time with him before then. I thought he was very knowledgeable of the golf swing and I liked the fact he didn't really -- he never uses a camera. Every once in a while he will use a video camera, but very rarely does he use a camera when we are talking about the golf swing. I like that a lot. I think someone that can pick up flaws in your swing just with the naked eye, I think has the talent for it. And he has helped me a great deal.
Q. I think a lot of the regular people out there don't realize that you guys all have teachers or instructors. What does a guy like that do for a guy like you because we see you out there making birdies and shooting 65s, 66s we say: "Boy, why does this guy need help?"
DAVID TOMS: I think it has been said before that most guys out here want a teacher that can tell him what -- when they are playing well, don't really need anybody, but when they are struggling a little bit they want somebody to get them back on track and get them back to swinging like they were when they were playing well. To the average guy, a golf swing, you know, one week to the next doesn't really change. You will see a guy on television, but you hear Tiger talking all the time about how he has modified this; how he has made this better; the average golfer doesn't have any idea what he is talking about. We are just looking at -- I am looking at trying to make my golf swing repeatable and have a better understanding of when it is going bad, what is actually going wrong. That is what I care about the most is, you know, being able to fix something when you are out there shooting 78 when you might not feel right, you can cut those strokes then you might, you know, you might hit your first three balls to the right; then all of a sudden you can figure out, hey these are the keys I need work on the rest of the day to try to get this thing turned around.
Q. Can he straighten you out in a quick session?
DAVID TOMS: It usually doesn't take very long. If I am really struggling it might take a while, but if I am missing a few shots here or there, he can pretty much, within 30 minutes or one bucket of balls, I am kind of at least know what I need to work on. Not all of a sudden just straighten out and I am playing great, because sometimes you get so far on the other side of the fence it is hard to get back.
Q. Has it been mostly tweaking things here and there or was there a point when you guys really broke things down and built things back up?
DAVID TOMS: Just here and there. The complete overhaul probably would knock you off the Tour for a year or two. So just I am trying to just be more consistent. I think overall I have a pretty good golf swing, so I am not really trying to change too much. I am just trying to make it easier to get the club in the right spot.
Q. Did you play well today, do you think, in part because he worked with you the other day? I talked to him the other day and he said you seem to play well immediately after you guys get together?
DAVID TOMS: Sure, last week at the U.S. Open was a tough week physically and mentally and everything else. Not only your golf swing had to feel pretty good and have an understanding where your ball was going to go, but at the same time, your mind -- you had to be focused all the time. I got off a little bit, you know, the one day it was a little bit windy trying to do a few things, trying to keep the ball a little bit lower, kind of messed me up a little bit in my golf swing. We just had to work on a couple of things. Started clicking and it feels much better and I am looking forward, you know, being here and playing well this week.
Q. How much do you all talk about mental things beyond just the swing?
DAVID TOMS: Well, not too much. He a lot of times is somewhat of a cheerleader to me. I don't know -- I think it is just -- a Tour player has a tendency to get down on himself because you go out every week and play golf, play in tournaments, and very rarely do you win them so obviously you feel like a failure. Even when you finish second or third you always think back what you could have done better. So he acts like -- a lot maybe on the telephone or when we are not actually working on the golf swing just trying to tell me how good I am, you know, so and sometimes I just kind of laugh it off, but I think he is really trying to get inside my head; make me believe in myself a little bit more.
Q. Normally during a course of a year how many times would you actually come in here for some kind of instruction or whatever?
DAVID TOMS: Depends on if I am chopping wood or not. Depends on how many times he gets to come out to tournaments. I think he has been out more this year so far than he has ever been out, and that is good. I think it has helped me. But I don't get here very often unless I am just -- you know, we are travelling and on the road so much it is hard. When you get a chance to -- when you are actually have time off and you want to go home, it is hard to make yourself come out and take a golf lesson.
Q. You said you have been playing pretty well this year. Just haven't broke -- last year you had a couple of nice breakthroughs. Are you sort of looking for that spot?
DAVID TOMS: Absolutely. I think right now I am kind of on the same pace as I was last year as far as the way I have played. Actually probably played a little more consistent so far this year. But I just so happen to win twice late last year and kind of made for a great year for me. Obviously I'd like to finish off that same way it would be great.
Q. Was there anything that -- anything that got you going last year?
DAVID TOMS: Nothing in particular, no. At the International had a swing key that worked really well; just felt good and I played solid, and then the win that I had at the Buick Challenge I think was kind of a carryover; just had been playing solid since the International, just so happens on Sunday nobody really made a move at me, and I shot, I think, 71 and still won the tournament by 3. So just kind of, I wouldn't say I lucked into it, but it was one of those weeks where nobody really made a big move.
Q. Was it a tough day in terms of conditions?
DAVID TOMS: Not at all. It is a good golf course. You have to play well to shoot low and nobody did that:
Q. Do you expect when you tee off tomorrow that you might be more than just one or two strokes off the lead?
DAVID TOMS: Absolutely. Could be the same when I get finished talking to you. That is one thing that I have done better. I know that -- when I first got on the Tour and I was playing in the afternoon I'd get out there, I am teeing off, and the wind is blowing; the greens are hard as a rock and somebody is 8-under already finished in the clubhouse and it always bothered me because it is like, you know, the first tee you are 8 shots back and you are thinking, well, if I shoot even par it is going to be a good score today because of the conditions, and just something along, you know, my career that I have worked on mentally to try to prepare myself to do the best I could on every hole. And not worry, like you said -- I mean, I could be -- might not even be in the Top-10 tomorrow when I tee off. So that doesn't concern me at all. I know if I go out and play another good round tomorrow, I will be right in the golf tournament and that is all you can ask for is to be with a chance to win on Sunday come the back 9.
Q. Being where Hal is from how much dialogue do you have about the game?
DAVID TOMS: Actually when we are at home -- we live totally the opposite part of town so we never see each other. We practice at different golf courses. We see each other more when we are on the road more than we do when we are at home. He is, obviously the way he has played the last few years, kind have been an inspiration and kind of a goal for the guys in our area to -- something to shoot for because he has played so well and kind of spurs everybody else on.
Q. Getting back to what you were saying about the learning, you know, learning to adjust or adapt to starting the day like that, is that something that just comes with being out here a few years and everyone has to learn at some point?
DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I think so, you either learn that or you don't stay out here. I think it is very important. I mean, it is just as important as, you know, as -- your putts break out there, it is just something that comes along with being a professional, being a Tour player that you have to learn, because if you are not in the right mindset, you are not going to play good. You might hit a couple of good shots and it turns your momentum and all of a sudden, I don't know how that works. I mean, I don't know how you can go out with no confidence and birdie the first two holes and all of a sudden you think you are a world-beater, but that is the way this game is. Bob Rotella always to told me, if you can talk yourself into a bad shot, why can't you talk yourself into a good shot. I have always tried that approach. It has worked well the last few years.
Q. Is there anything they can do to this course to make it a little more defensible or is it just the greens are so soft....
DAVID TOMS: Right now, you know, if the greens were hard, I don't think the scores would be as low because the golf course is playing much longer than years past. They added a few new tees. I don't particularly like the new tee box on, I think it is No. 3, I think only the really long hitters will be able to reach that green and I think it is more fun to play when you know over half the field can go for the green because I think it is designed to try to make people go for that green. I don't really think it is designed for a 3-shot hole when you got a tree in the middle of your lay-up area. I think they want people to go for that green. I hit a really good drive there today. I had 275 yards to the pin with water on the right edge of the green; I am not going to go for that. But I think from the old tee box, that is 20 yards ahead of where I was today, only had 220, I'd rip right at it. Just holes like that, some new tees, it is playing longer, longer clubs into the green. I hit 4-iron into 17 today. That is a lot of club, you know, a lot of guys probably are hitting 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-irons in there. It makes for a tough hole. But especially if the green was hard, you are hitting a 3- or 4-iron; you can't stop it, but now with the greens hard, I think it has kind of averaged out and the scores are still pretty low. Plus, the greens are perfect. The balls are rolling so good you can make a lot of putts.
LEE PATTERSON: Anything else? Thank you.
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