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August 22, 1999

David Toms


LEE PATTERSON: Very good job. May be the best you can, share the emotions you are feeling at this point, and then we will open it up to questions.

DAVID TOMS: Well, right now I think I am feeling relief. It was a tough day. Actually playing with Stephen, he kind of got me going early, because he birdied the first three holes, got out of the box. I knew that I wasn't going to be able to make pars going around the golf course and win the tournament. Started to hit some good shots, make a few putts. And it seemed like eternity out there today. I don't know -- we were playing twosomes, playing pretty quick. Seems like every emotion you can go through, I kind of went through it today. From feeling like I was in control, to No. 16, to being totally out of control, to back to just trying to find a way to 2-putt the last hole, and just knocked that putt in there - it was kind of nice.

Q. You got emotional talking on TV when you were talking about --

DAVID TOMS: My instructor, yeah.

Q. Can you talk about what you went through in the last week with him?

DAVID TOMS: Well, when you go in to the PGA, in fact when I left home, I told my wife I was, you know, I played golf. Been off the week before. Played golf a couple of times. Didn't play very good. I really wasn't into going. I said, if it wasn't a major, I wasn't even going to go. I got up there. When you are not prepared mentally or physically for a major type of golf course, it is just going to beat you up. I was miserable. I went out for two days. I didn't want to be there. Then when I tried to play well, it still seems like nothing was going right. I said, well, I have got -- actually had scheduled to go in, to wait 'til Sunday to go to St. Louis for a Pro-Am in Columbia. Stan Utley was having a charity event. I said: I am going to work with my teacher for two days. I flew to Memphis for two days. It was a productive couple of days, obviously. Then I went up, went ahead and went to Stan's deal on Monday; played there. Got on a plane, came here. So I was a little tired. But at the same time, it was well worth it.

Q. What was the problem?

DAVID TOMS: Trying to shorten my swing a little bit and actually trying to keep my head behind the ball. You always tell amateurs to keep their heads still. Actually, I was having a tendency to get too far in front of it. I was trying to keep my head behind it. With the drills I was doing, I had a sore neck. But obviously it paid off.

Q. Who is your instructor?

DAVID TOMS: Rob Akins. He is from Memphis, Tennessee.

Q. Compare your feelings on winning this tournament to your first victory?

DAVID TOMS: Oh, well, the first one came two weeks before my child was born. And I wasn't really thinking too much about winning that event, although I led wire-to-wire. I was kind of thinking about what was going on back home, how my wife was doing. But here, last night, it is kind -- I couldn't get out of my head. I had kept on thinking about winning; what it was going to be like. And to prove to yourself that I can do what I did on the last two holes, to come back from a disastrous double on 16 or maybe even triple. I might not even have finished that hole. I don't know what I was going to make. Anyway, it was just nice, very gratifying inside to pull it off.

Q. Second shot on 16 where you got relief and you were allowed to place the ball after dropping it a couple times, what happened on that?

DAVID TOMS: Well, actually I got a break by being able to place it. But the ground was real hard over there. And still after I placed it, I thought my lob wedge was going to bounce into it and go where Stephen was down in the bunker. That was for sure, double. So I tried to get a little too cute, barely landed over. I kind of chili-dipped it, as they say. But anyway, back to my teacher, Rob Akins, I wanted to -- I don't know -- Who won the U.S. Amateur today? Is it still going? He also works with David Gossett. So I would say he is having a pretty good week. I don't know if David is going to win today, but I sure hope he does.

Q. What does a win like this do for your confidence?

DAVID TOMS: Well, I mean, to be honest with you, I think I am a pretty confident kind of person. I believe in my ability and -- but this will definitely boost it. Just in the eyes of my peers to know that you might hear somebody said: Well, he won Quad Cities, but what has he done since then? Has he ever proven himself against a field like this? So just knowing that I was able to do it against this field, it will definitely boost my confidence.

Q. Any self-doubt creeping in after 16? And talk about the mental recovery after that.

DAVID TOMS: Sure. I mean it was, you know, my caddie -- we walked off the green. My caddie said: Just hang in there, said you are playing well let us just play these last two holes the best week. It helped a lot. I just kind of -- although I would say I took a deep breath, tried to calm down, but every time you walk up to a tee box in this altitude, I am trying to breathe, guy would think, well, I am choking out there, but it is not really. If it was at sea level, I would be like fine.

Q. You talked beating this field versus Quad Cities, but when you came here or got here you heard what kind of field it was going to be. Do you go, Whoa, this is going to be -- this is quite a tournament here; almost like a major; what were your reactions when you saw this field?

DAVID TOMS: My first reaction was one of my best friends that was actually one of my teammates at LSU is Perry Moss. He was the first alternate in the field. I was like, man, must be a strong field because he has played decent this year out of the Qualifying School, so my first thought was hoping that he would get in. In fact, my first day at the golf course I looked at the scoreboard, I saw where he had nine points through nine holes. I was like happy for him and happy that he got in. But it is kind of what you expect after the PGA last week and after you know, this is such a nice facility and we get treated like kings. You can't walk two feet in the locker room without 10 people asking if they can help you. It is just a nice place to come.

Q. On 17 you bumped that little shot with the wood. That was actually at the suggestion of your caddie wasn't?

DAVID TOMS: Absolutely. I'd pulled a wedge out trying to blade a wedge down there. Well I kind of liked the wood because we had hit it a few times before, not this week, but in competition, so he felt like I could hit it. Roll it through the grass maybe a little bit better. It came out per -- I was shocked because I didn't know I was facing a shot that I had -- I was like, man, I don't really have a shot here. No way I am going to make a birdie. Just bounced all the way down there and happened to be perfect. I think it was destiny after that ball getting close like that that I win this golf tournament.

Q. Following up, how confident were you, how many times have you hit that shot in competition?

DAVID TOMS: Well, I have used it a lot, but not under those -- you know, circumstances being needing a birdie, being under the heat and then -- I mean, I was standing, it was straight downhill, a lot of grass and you don't -- it is kind of shot that even if you were playing a practice round on that hole, you are not going to go up there and get a wood out of a lie like this to that pin. You just -- not going to be prepared for that. And just to pull that off, it was nice.

Q. What wood was it?

DAVID TOMS: 3-wood.

Q. You were in the fairway on 17 obviously when David Duval birdied on 17. Were you at that point watching the scoreboard and you knew what you had to do?

DAVID TOMS: Actually the first time I looked at it with any length at all was number -- just after No. 14 when I birdied 14, just kind of wanted to see where I was. I knew that 15, the pin was way back and I was trying to figure out how to play that - if I needed to make a birdie or if I can play conservative, that is the first time I looked at it, so I know, well -- at least I knew he was doing well; then I knew that he birdied 17 by the crowd reaction - I knew that wasn't a par. I mean, that wasn't a par yell, so, pretty much knew what I had to do. Then 18 I didn't know if that was for birdie or par that he made. Then I asked one of the camera guys. He told me. I just knew that I had to hit the green and 2-putt and get out of there.

Q. What is your caddie's name?

DAVID TOMS: Scott Gneiser.

Q. Reaction when you first (inaudible) -- 3-wood there?

DAVID TOMS: We kind of just -- nobody heard us, we were kind of: What do you think, what do you think? I wasn't surprised. I think, wait, it was a good call. I am under the gun and he is trying to help me out, and he made a good call there. That is what the good caddies are there to do. And, it is amazing all the great players, they always have a guy by their side that will help get them through at times like that.

Q. How long has he been with you?

DAVID TOMS: 10th tournament, I think.

LEE PATTERSON: He has been out here a while.

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, a long time. He has worked for a lot of good players.

Q. David Duval talked about the wind factor out there. How did that affect you today?

DAVID TOMS: It made it difficult. Tends to swirl in the trees a little bit and then when it picked up -- it picked up on 8. 8 played longer; played into the wind. 9 played into the wind. That was a tough hole, tough tee shot. Then 10, you had a pin on the front of the green just over the water straight downwind, so it was tough. Then 16 was brutal. That pin on 16 was -- you could make anything on that hole and to play it straight into the wind, it was kind of coming and going, made for some tough shots coming home.

Q. Two things. No. 1, you didn't need to make that putt, but how gratifying is it to make that as the exclamation point to the whole thing?

DAVID TOMS: My caddie and I talked about it. He didn't really say, well, hit it high and easy. He just kind of said: It is going to break a lot. When it starts to break it is going to be fast. Well, I am just going to take the high road - hit it easy. I can't believe it got to the hole -- really the ball just rolled and rolled and rolled. Man, it was kind of a shock that it went in. I am just glad I didn't have to try to make the next one.

Q. This isn't your breakthrough, but in a way it is. Did it help you to be playing with somebody like Stephen as opposed to maybe Duval today; two guys trying to like maybe get through?

DAVID TOMS: Well, I mean, yeah, you might think so, but when a guy comes out and birdies the first three holes and then he birdies five out of the first eight holes, I mean, he is trying to win, and he doesn't care who he is playing with. I don't think if it would have been Tiger or Davis or David Duval or whoever it was, you know, it is hard to beat a guy that is playing that well. So I had to be on top of my game for sure.

Q. This is part of that same question. You and Steve were not playing in a vacuum, but up in front of you were nine million people and another army and you obviously saw all that going on. Did you and Steve feed off of one another? In other words, he started well and so forth, but did you kind of feed off of each other?

DAVID TOMS: I think so. The people -- we didn't really see that much of the guys in front of us. They played a good bit faster than we did. We can hear cheers when they did well, but we really didn't see any of the shots they were hitting. We didn't have to deal with any of the crowd. We didn't have -- we had people following us but not a lot. So it was -- never was a problem. So it was -- I think that helped a lot out there today.

Q. Did you get to see David to try for eagle on 17?

DAVID TOMS: No. It took us so long to play the 16th hole that I didn't see much on 17 (laughter) - two double-bogeys, it took a long time.

Q. Still finished...

DAVID TOMS: That is right. I picked up. I think he did too.

Q. Obviously turned out well seeing the way you played the last two holes, but when you are walking off that green what are you thinking? Are you thinking, boy, I just blew it or what is your mindset?


Q. After 16.

DAVID TOMS: I really just tried not to think about it. I knew that 17 -- I knew I was still -- you know, with having a chance to birdie 17th, I knew it was still my tournament to win or lose because even if Duval made a birdie, as long as he didn't make an eagle, then it was still my tournament to win. Because it is a birdie hole. So I had to -- if I -- if it would have been a hole -- the next hole would have been a hole like No. 5 or something where it is -- just kind of try to make a par, then that is a different story. But I just had to get the mindset right away that I was going to have to birdie that next hole.

Q. You were talking a little bit earlier about your caddie. How important to you was he throughout this week? Did you guys have some discussions, use this club; no, use this club, et cetera?

DAVID TOMS: I was happy for him because actually our first tournament this year was the Kemper Open and I think I finished fourth. That was the first tournament he had worked for me. Since then we have kind of struggled and he always does a great job. He shows up on time. He works hard. He is the -- he is the type of caddie that deserves to be right there with a player that is going to play well because he is a good caddie. I am happy for him that we have done well as a team. I think we work well as a team and I just haven't played well. I am very happy for him.

Q. PGA says that your first victory actually came from behind after the first and second rounds. Do you remember when your last wire-to-wire victory was at any level?

DAVID TOMS: Wire-to-wire victory -- might have been junior -- college golf, I don't know. I mean, I am not real sure about that one, to be honest with you. I won the U.S. Open qualifier this year in Memphis with a two-er field. I shot 17-under for two rounds.

Q. That is wire-to-wire?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, it is wire-to-wire enough. Got me in the U.S. Open. But didn't do much with that.

Q. Was it comforting to have 17, one of the easier holes on the course, after having the tough time on 16?

DAVID TOMS: Sure, it was. I mean, it's one of those holes that you look forward to playing even after you tee off on the first hole, you are thinking: If I can just get to 17 with a chance, you know, if I got to make an eagle, that is fine. It is just one of those holes where if you can play it with a chance to win, you got to feel good about your chances.

End of FastScripts....

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