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August 21, 2003

David Toms


JAMES CRAMER: We have David Toms with a 4-under par 66 today at the first day of the NEC Invitational. Why don't we go into your birdies and bogeys before we take questions from the media.

DAVID TOMS: All right.

JAMES CRAMER: First birdie was on the par 5, second hole.

DAVID TOMS: I hit driver and 3-iron to about 35 feet or so and two-putted there for a birdie.

Then I birdied the 9th hole. I hit an 8-iron to about 12 feet or so, made that one.

Then I birdied the par 3, hit a 5-iron, a great shot in there about five feet behind the hole, made that one.

Then 16, I hit a lob wedge about two and a half, three feet.

The rest of the day was kind of up-and-down, struggled for some pars and then I had some real easy pars, just a solid day.

Q. What were the saves, David?

DAVID TOMS: The saves, I had a few of them. Let's see, the fourth hole I missed the fairway and then I missed the green about ten yards short of the green, nice up-and-down there. I actually saved par on the sixth hole, hit my drive left, chipped out sideways, actually chipped through the fairway, had 182 left and hit a 5-iron 182 yards to about five feet. That's kind of unusual. I hit two horrible shots and one great shot there.

At 13, I missed the green, missed another fairway there, missed the green about ten yards short, in the rough short of the bunker, chipped to about five feet.

17, I missed the fairway again, missed the green about 10, 15 yards short in the right rough short of the green and hit a great chip to about a foot and a half.

Then 18, I just barely missed the green again from the middle of the fairway, but I had a pretty simple chip, not much to it.

Q. How far was that 5-iron?

DAVID TOMS: 181, 182, something like that. It was definitely the shot of the day for me, even though I had some other good ones and made some birdies. That was the key to my round, as far as getting off to a decent start and recovering from a bad tee ball.

Q. Did you say that you had to just go sideways on the second shot?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, if you hit to the left there it's terrible. It's trees all the way. It was almost like what I did at Wachovia when I chipped all the way back across the fairway, just tried to chip it out. The fairways are getting fast. They roll almost like a green does.

Q. Would you say based on your past experience that the scoring opportunities today are average, better than average, that the course is --

DAVID TOMS: Well, right now the golf course is playing a lot shorter than it did the last time we played here even though they added length at a couple holes. For the most part the ball is rolling off the tee if you can get it in the fairway. That's the difficult thing right now, is the way the fairways are sloped. It's difficult to get the ball in the fairway or in the right spot in the fairway to attack the pins just because they're so fast the ball is rolling into the rough. On either side of the fairway it happens to bounce it off.

With it playing shorter, for me, there are more birdie holes than when it's playing long and the ball is plugged in the fairway just because I'm not one of the longer hitters. I like the way it's playing right now.

Q. You haven't been at the top of your game the last three events and you were out here real early this week working hard. Did you get things rounded into shape?

DAVID TOMS: I hope so. It's getting later in the year and I still have some big tournaments left and I want to finish off the year on a high note, especially going into the President's Cup. I want to continue to play well and I want to work hard. I felt like I was working on my game but probably not quite putting in the time that I needed to. It was showing up in my ball striking, so I'm just working on that right now, trying to get better. I've got a week off next week that I need because this will be three in a row here. Then after that I've got a good bit of golf left, so I'm just trying to keep my game in decent shape.

Q. Outside chance for Player of the Year if, say, you won here, won the Tour Championship?

DAVID TOMS: It would have to be one of those situations where I'd have to win two big tournaments, and then the other guys who are already ahead of me not win any other big tournaments. It's not something that I'm really thinking about. I want to play more consistently than I have the last couple of months, even though I have won a couple of times this year, it's really been a roller coaster.

I've missed more cuts than normal and it wears on me after a while. If you're playing every single weekend and you're in contention, it's like the weeks just fly by and it's easy and you're just playing golf. When you're struggling just to be there on the weekend and you're not really in contention, I mean, it's really not a whole lot of fun.

Q. Would you say in some ways it's a better year than last year because you have won but not as consistent because you were there a lot last year?

DAVID TOMS: I've won about the same amount of money, it's just I've won a couple of times. I don't know what's better. There are a lot of perks to winning. That's the ultimate goal is to win, but it's also nice to have a lot of top tens and have a chance to win a lot. It's really hard to say what's better as far as your psyche goes. I don't know. All the other guys are out watching Tiger (laughter).

Q. With the way the course is playing, where do you think the score is going to be at the end of the day?

DAVID TOMS: Well, let me put it to you this way, I think the only reason I'm in here talking to you is because I was the second group out. I think that the greens are receptive, the course is playing shorter than normal. There is a little bit of a breeze picking up out there, but I think you'll see some good scores. It's not out of the question for somebody to be 6 or 7-under by the day's end just because I think it's out there. The greens are in good shape, they're rolling good and you'll have some shorter clubs in, shorter clubs than normal here.

JAMES CRAMER: Thank you very much, David.

End of FastScripts....

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