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August 21, 1999

David Toms


LEE PATTERSON: Maybe just a couple of thoughts about today and heading into tomorrow.

DAVID TOMS: Well, first thought is I thought the pins today were pretty tough. They were tough to score. I thought they were tucked on all the edges. And if you -- obviously, if you weren't in the fairway, you didn't have much of a shot. Even from the fairway you could mess up pretty quick. I think I got a little too conservative on the back side. But I still feel good about my game. I think tomorrow, if I can drive the ball well, I will have a good chance.

Q. We've got to get to the first one right away. David told us to ask you about the driver switch that he expedited for you.

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, well, this is a couple of weeks ago in Hartford. We are on the 18th tee. I had a brand new driver that he stepped on with his spikes; spiked all the way across the top of it. It didn't look too good. He felt real bad about it. I told him: Don't worry. I said: I am getting a new one after this round anyway. So it wasn't that big a deal. But I know he felt bad about it. Even, I saw him at the PGA the next week. He was still kind of -- I won't say he was shook up about it. But he was still worried that he might have hurt my prize club. But it is no longer in the bag. So end of story.

Q. What are you hitting? What club did you replace it with?

DAVID TOMS: Put in a Ping driver this week. It is a good club. I think I can carry it a little bit further; get it up a little higher in the air, which is good for this course.

Q. What did he step on?

DAVID TOMS: A Callaway.

Q. How did he step on it?

DAVID TOMS: The tee box there, the 18th hole is real small. And there is kind of all jammed in there. He went to get some water or something. I was standing a little too close; he backed up on it.

Q. Could you have played with it if you weren't anticipating a switch --

DAVID TOMS: Sure, I mean it was -- cosmetically, it just didn't look all that great. Looked --

Q. Mark of Duval.

DAVID TOMS: Yeah. Looked like I was 18 handicap that had sky popped a drive out there somewhere so it wasn't too bad.

Q. Can you talk about the mental attitude of having those big names behind you going into the final day here?

DAVID TOMS: First of all, obviously feels good to be leading this golf tournament, especially because I hadn't been playing very well. And just good to be playing again, to be in contention. I mean, that is what we play for. That is what we think about when we are laying in the bed at night and we can't sleep. You are thinking about being in the competition and being -- and having a chance to win. That is all you can really ask for. The fun of it all is to see how you hold up; how you perform, and when you get under these conditions. I look forward to the challenge.

Q. Will you be able to -- will you be in bed laying awake tonight?

DAVID TOMS: Sure, I have got a two-year-old boy that is here with me this week and my wife, and we will just go do the same thing we have been doing every night. Go have dinner and put him down about 8 o'clock when it is time for bed and be real quiet for a little while before he falls asleep, watch a little TV, and then go to bed myself.

Q. Will you be able to sleep?

DAVID TOMS: I should. This is not the first time I have been in this position. So I won't say that I am used to it, because it doesn't happen very often. But I enjoy it. So I will be able to sleep fine.

Q. Did you lead wire-to-wire when you won at Quad Cities?

DAVID TOMS: Yes, I believe I did.

LEE PATTERSON: Yes, he did.

Q. That is not a new thing either.

DAVID TOMS: Yeah. And it is a golf course where, that golf course, where guys make a lot of birdies and the leaderboard can change a lot. I think that is, you know, what happens here. Guys can make points real quick, and the leaderboard can change. And you just have to somehow go about your own business and play your own game.

Q. David, birdies and --

DAVID TOMS: Birdied 2 and 3. Hit a sand wedge into No. 2 about two feet. Birdied 3. Hit a pitching wedge to about twelve feet. Made that one. Birdied 7. Hit a 7-iron about ten feet behind the hole. Really good shot there. That pin was tough to get to in the back left of the green, and made that one. Then No. 8, I was just off the green in the fringe, and putted up the hill. Made a nice, I guess would you call it a saving birdie putt from about eight feet or so. Then 9, made a long putt for par at 9, which kind of kept my round going until the storm started coming in on 10. And actually, No. 10, we had -- it started downwind. The storm, I thought we were going to get rained out there for a minute and kill a drive down there. I had 110 to the pin; had a little sand wedge into No. 10, which is kind of unusual. But the wind was blowing so hard, I couldn't go at the pin. I had to play left of the hole. Hit it about 30 feet; 3-putted; missed a real short par-putt there. Kind of downed my spirits a little bit. Came back, just started hitting good golf shots. Birdied 14, hit lob wedge in to about two feet. Bogeyed 15, hit a bad drive to the right down in the trees and didn't have much of a shot. Made a bogey there. Then I birdied 17, 9-iron into 17 about 25 feet 2-putted for birdie.

Q. How long was the putt at 9?

DAVID TOMS: It was probably twelve feet or so but it was a big sidehill breaking fast -- one of those kind of putts where you want to make it but at the same time you don't want to run it by make a double-bogey either. I made a nice putt there.

Q. Distance second shot at 17?

DAVID TOMS: Oh, I hit a 9, but I mean, let's see, I don't know how far it was, 155 yards or so. I didn't know if you wanted the real yardage or the translated yardage or whatever.

Q. You opened up a pretty good lead early in the day. What are you thinking at that point?

DAVID TOMS: Well, actually I was unaware of that. Somebody in the media room just told me that. I wasn't watching the boards. Just because Saturday is a day that you kind of set yourself up, I was trying to do my own thing and I wasn't going to win the golf tournament today but I sure could have lost it. So I was just trying to play well and not really pay attention to what anybody else was doing.

Q. You really haven't made many mistakes in the last three days or have you? You have made a bogey here, bogey there but you didn't have any disaster holes --

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I played solid. I feel like I am in control. My swing feels good and any time you can mentally be there and be prepared for the shot and if your swing is, you know, holding up then there is no reason why you can't hit good shots.

Q. What exactly did your teacher do with you last week that turned around your game around so dramatically?

DAVID TOMS: I don't know, I haven't seen my swing on television this week, any of the shots, but I am just trying to keep my swing a little bit shorter. I was getting really long with it and getting wild. Just trying to stay behind the ball. I was getting way out in front of it with my upper body and just a couple of minor things, but it feels like a major thing.

Q. Why do you play so well here? You had an 11th place finish last year, 50 grand...

DAVID TOMS: I don't know, I mean until last year on Sunday I haven't really done much here. I don't know whether I am getting more used to the format, the altitude or what. But I just feel good about the golf course. It is one of those courses where, you know, if you -- if you are not playing that well you just kind of sit back and you look at everything around you -- it is so beautiful, it has a calming effect. I just like it.

Q. What are -- how do you describe yourself? A lot of people don't know a lot about you - likes, dislikes, what do you like to do?

DAVID TOMS: Well, during the off-season I like to duck hunt. My wife says I go too much. I think I went just about everyday last year with a two year old at home, actually a one at the time. That was a little too much. But that is it. -. I am just here, I would say your typical PGA TOUR pro that just does his business. I don't necessarily like to be in the limelight. I just kind of like to do my thing and practice hard, work hard and I love the game. That is why I am doing it. Had a good junior career. I was a World Junior Champion, PGA National Junior Champion. Went to college, was All-American at the same time Mickelson and Mayfair and Estes and Gomez, all those guys were there, so, I guess I should be here doing this and playing this well if my career progresses as it was at that time. But I don't know, just your typical guy I guess you would say.

Q. With all due respect to Quad Cities, could this be your breakthrough tournament or is that oversimplifying things?

DAVID TOMS: Sure. I mean, obviously the field in that event wasn't nearly as strong, but I think if you -- even if you ask the superstars, you guys are always saying: Well, the best player -- this guy has won 12 times, but never won a major. But there is always something you are striving for - setting goals for yourself and if I were to win here, it would be another stepping stone in my career, for sure.

Q. Most of the TV attention, I am sure, tomorrow and certainly the gallery attention will be on Sergio and Duval. Do you feel at all like one of the other guys or "the other guy?"

DAVID TOMS: Absolutely. I mean, today I was. It was always Duval, Duval every time he walked up to a green. That is fine. I mean, in a few weeks when he is playing on the Ryder Cup I am going to be pulling for him too. He is a great player, exciting to watch. I like playing with him just because -- well, actually I told him today on the 14th tee I told him he was making me swing too hard because he was hitting it too far, but I understand that, but you have to accomplish things before you are going to be a fan favorite. I think in order for them to pull for me, I am going to have to prove myself not once but many times over. So I know that going in and I just go about my business.

Q. Is Duval talkative or fun to play with?

DAVID TOMS: Sure. I have played a lot of golf with David. I have always enjoyed it. He is a great player and if you can kind of jump on his coattails, he always seems to be playing well. If you are somewhere at least within a few shots or, here, within a few points of him, you are probably doing pretty well.

Q. Besides the par 5s, are there any holes that favor your game or that you look forward to playing here?

DAVID TOMS: I think any time other than -- I think 5 and 10 are obviously par holes, I would call them. But any of the other holes, if you set yourself up with good tee shots, they are all birdie-able, although some of the pins out there today were tough. They were tough to get to. But if you can -- most of the holes are -- as long as you get your tee ball long and in the fairway you are going to have a lot of chances for birdie.

Q. Can it be a plus that Sergio and Duval are paired together and you and Ames won't have nearly the crowd -- will that --

DAVID TOMS: As long as they do a good job of clearing all the people out of our way, it will be fine. I think I would rather be behind them than in front of them because everybody will be walking up trying to see their second shots. So as long as they clear out and we are ready to hit, that will be fine.

Q. Ames isn't a huge name either. Are you friends with him at all?

DAVID TOMS: Well, it is funny you ask that. 1990 Stephen and I spent a lot of time together on the Hogan Tour and we traveled together a bunch. His brother was out caddying for him and we spent a lot of time, you know, at dinner and a lot of practice rounds together and then it seemed that we kind of went our separate ways. He went over to Europe and I was here playing and now he is back and I look forward to tomorrow. I think we will have a good time out there and hopefully we will spur each other on to good things tomorrow.

Q. You haven't played with him since he came back?

DAVID TOMS: You know, in competition, I have not played with Stephen since he has been back. It is good to see him playing well. He is a good player. Great golf swing and I look forward to tomorrow.


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