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August 22, 2003

David Toms


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: David Toms, thanks for joining us, second round 67 puts you tied with Chris Riley for the lead through 36 holes. Talk about your day today. Obviously tough conditions out there. Nobody ran away with it and the scores on 18 were high, a lot of trouble on 18 today.

DAVID TOMS: Yeah. The first five or six holes, a lot of them were downwind and didn't seem like that big a deal. The course was playing shorter. I was hitting it good and making birdies and easy pars, but then we got to the back nine and the course started playing tougher.

We had some tough pins out there, and the wind was definitely a factor. The greens were drying out. So par was a good score on any hole on the back nine, that's for sure. Then finishing up on 16 and 18, very difficult holes. Even 17, with the pin on the very back edge when it's downwind, if you hit it over the green, you're dead, so even a short hole like that playing downwind is playing pretty difficult.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Two wins this season, not to jump ahead, but certainly nice to be in contention through 36 holes at a WGC event and you've already finished 2nd at the Accenture Match Play Championship.

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, it's a great golf tournament against a great field on a great course. It would be a good tournament to have a chance in the end. I think for me on the back nine yesterday I started feeling a lot better over my tee ball, and then today I drove it great, even on the last hole. I got in a bad spot, but I think I got a bad bounce. I was trying to hit it down the left side and hit it just into the rough there. That was the key for my round today, was I drove the ball in the fairway pretty much the whole day. If I could have hit my irons a little bit closer I could have had a good score. The only bogey I made was from the middle of the fairway with a wedge. That will be the key for me this weekend. If I continue to drive it well I'll be there in the end.

Q. What happened on that par putt from the fringe on 14 or whatever hole that was? As soon as you putted you looked around --

DAVID TOMS: I was mad at myself because I could see people, the legs moving behind me in the crowd, people walking up. Normally I would back off, but I was still mad that I hit a shot over there in the first place with a wedge, then hit a bad chip and compounded my problem by not really being ready to hit the putt. That's what that was all about, just to make sure I knew that they were moving I had to look back at them.

Q. Everyone in front of you and behind you were really giving up strokes on 15 through 18. Did you know par was a good score as you were playing through it?

DAVID TOMS: I wasn't looking at the board at all today, but 15, I hit a 3-iron and hit it as hard as I could right at it. I was two feet left of the pin and it came up short of the green in the bunker, so I knew -- that was a very difficult hole.

16 had to be playing well over 700 yards. I mean, 675 straight into a club and a half wind. I mean, I hit a driver, a 3-wood and a 9-iron to 16 today.

Q. How bad was the wind and can you talk about what impact that had on your play?

DAVID TOMS: Well, let me finish what I was saying. You had asked me about the last few holes. That shows you 16.

And then 18, it's always a difficult tee shot. Probably a little bit easier tee shot into the wind because it was straight in if you can hit the fairway, but there's not a whole lot of room for error on the last hole either with the tee ball or the second shot, and with the pin where it was -- Chris Riley hit his shot down the fairway and hit his second shot right of the hole and still had a tough two-putt.

Q. 16, that was driver, 3-wood, what?

DAVID TOMS: 9-iron.

Q. How far was the 9-iron?

DAVID TOMS: 130 over water to a concrete green, and you have to land it in a certain spot, and if you're not hitting a wedge and you're back there hitting a little bit longer club, it makes it a difficult shot. Your question, sir?

Q. Just the impact of the wind.

DAVID TOMS: It was at least a club and a half wind, so with the greens firming up you have to place your ball in a certain spot on the green to have a chance to get it close and it's hard to do that when the wind is blowing. Some of the short holes were downwind and sometimes that's just as difficult as an into-the-wind shot. If you've got a wedge or a short iron straight down the wind you don't have any control over it, so it was a factor, at least in the afternoon I know it was.

Q. Are you getting even more run on the ball than yesterday?

DAVID TOMS: Yes. You can just look at the color of the fairways. They have that tint of brown to them. When you have the [] bent grace fairways like they have, they do bake out. Maybe they'll put a little bit of water on them, but by the time I tee off tomorrow afternoon by 2 something or 3 something they'll be in the same condition.

Q. How much difference was there in the course yesterday? Your scores are very similar, but how much difference was there in the way the course played based on conditions between yesterday and today?

DAVID TOMS: You know, yesterday I had an 8:30 tee time, second group off. The greens were perfect. There was no wind. There was a lot of humidity so the ball was still going a long way, but the greens were soft and receptive. Today it was totally different. The ball was still going a long way but the wind was a factor, and then you had to place your ball in a certain spot on the greens to get it close. It was a totally different golf course this afternoon.

Q. Taking into consideration those conditions, and I know this is an apples and oranges relatively speaking question, but are you more satisfied with the number you had given conditions or the one today?

DAVID TOMS: Today I played better golf. Yesterday I started off scrambling a little bit in the beginning, kind of held it together, but today was a good solid day. Even the first hole I hit it four feet and missed it. I was off and running, hitting the ball solid, hitting it on the fairway, hitting the greens and not making putts at all. And then I holed that shot on 6 that kept me going, but today I was much more consistent in the way I struck the ball than yesterday.

Q. Were you surprised at all that Chris is where he's at, no bogeys, and hasn't been here before?

DAVID TOMS: It doesn't surprise me. He's day in and day out one of the best putters on the Tour. He has great speed with his putter. These greens have a good bit of slope to them and can get pretty quick and he is in total control around the greens. Even though he had a few wayward drives, he was able to save it. It doesn't surprise me. He's got the kind of short game where he can go for a while and not make a bogey. He can recover after bad shots.

Q. This is probably the first time since the Masters, in whatever year that was, that we had a tournament that you redraw after each round. Do you think they ought to flip it? It seems like your tee time on Thursday was in the morning --

DAVID TOMS: Definitely, I would say the second round of the tournament we were at a disadvantage to play as late as we did. You know, do you give your two tee times where it evens out the first couple of days? I don't know, I kind of like this format. I like the twosomes every day. It seems like you can get into some rhythm that way, you don't have to wait as much, it's spaced out nice, so I like that, to be able to get up there, hit your shot and hit the next one and keep going. When you bunch up two tees with threesomes it just doesn't move around. I like it this way. If you happen to go late the second day that means you played good the first day.

Most of our tournaments you have to play well late in the day on the weekend to win. There are some exceptions to that with weather or TV, or something has to do with the tee times. But for the most part, to win big tournaments, you have to play late on the weekends and have to get it done late in the afternoon when the course bakes out.

Q. Do you think The Masters should go back to that?

DAVID TOMS: To me, The Masters the last couple of years with the threesomes, obviously it's been wet and stinking, but it's just been so slow. I mean, it is just terribly slow when you're out there for five and a half hours or 5.45 playing a major golf tournament. To me it doesn't seem right. I like this format here where they repair every day and go on.

Q. What do you think will happen first, twosomes at Augusta or a female member?

DAVID TOMS: Obviously they're wanting to make it difficult for us, and I think they've figured out that the threesomes where it's playing slow and everybody is out there grinding, I think they probably think that's more difficult, cruising around with the twosomes and making it easy on everybody. I think that's one more added thing they do to make their golf tournament difficult. I don't see it changing anytime soon.

Q. When you were here yesterday you joked the only reason you were here is because you put up a number early, and then today you're back again. Obviously the number yesterday and the number today are working out just fine. Everybody's mental approach is different. When do you permit yourself to think that, I'm in this thing?

DAVID TOMS: To be honest with you, I think I'm in it before Thursday ever starts because if I didn't think that I was here to try to win, to me, I'd be better served to be at home taking my son to school. I think I'm in it before it ever starts.

But as far as this week and being in good position, I'm just excited about driving the ball better. That's been my weakness the last couple of months and it makes me excited to go out and play tomorrow and feel good about my chances on the weekend if I can continue to do that.

Q. You holed out on No. 6?


Q. What club did you hit there?

DAVID TOMS: Pitching wedge.

Q. From?

DAVID TOMS: 127. Do you want my birdie on the second hole? I two-putted, hit a 6-iron on my second shot, hit just over the back fringe and chipped it close.

No. 10, I hit a nice shot out of the left rough there, hit it to about 30 feet behind the hole, made a great putt there.

Q. Then you hit over the green on 14?

DAVID TOMS: Pitching wedge, I had 130 yards straight downwind, I pulled it over left of the green, didn't get it on the green and missed the putt from 15 feet.

Q. Davis said when I was talking to him, he said that he's never seen Firestone brown before. I'm not sure if it's that way out there now or if he thinks it could become that way. What did it look like today and how difficult was it?

DAVID TOMS: Well, the first time that I ever played this golf course, I think it was after I won Quad Cities in '97 after it was still the World Series, I remember stepping up on the first tee and everything was so lush. I got on the first fairway and didn't want to take a divot because there was not a bad spot out there. Today when I stepped up on the tee box I was like, how am I going to hit this fairway because half of it was brown. You only have a certain area of the fairway to hit the ball there. That will tell you how normally lush and green it is and how this year it's baked out so far. Also we compare it to the last few years we've been here. It's just been soft, soft, soft. The ball is plugging in the fairway and on the greens. It is playing different this year.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts....

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