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March 2, 2006

David Toms


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome David Toms with a 6 under 66. David, just talk a little about your round today and conditions out there.

DAVID TOMS: I think first of all, the key to my round was I drove the ball pretty well. It was the main reason I felt like I lost my match last week to Tom Lehman was because I didn't drive very well, so I worked hard on it the last few days. Today it paid off for me. I set my myself up to have a lot of shots into the greens where I could attack the pins.

A little bit disappointed with the way I putted to be honest with you. I made a couple nice putts, I made one on No. 15 and No. 3 and other than that I missed a bunch of makeable birdie putts.

It was a good, solid day. Like I said, I drove it well to set myself up and disappointed with the way I finished up, but otherwise, a pretty solid day.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Talk about the disappointment at 18, what did you do there specifically?

DAVID TOMS: 18, I thought I had the toughest part out of the way because of the tee shot, it's a tough tee ball for me. I was playing with Sean O'Hair and he took it up over the left side no problem and cleared the water.

For me, I had to thread it through there. And my second shot I had mud all over the golf ball and I was kind of in between clubs, I had 189 a little bit downwind, and it took off, it started at the wind and hooked about 40 yards. I thought it was wet and I guess I got a little bit of a break that it stayed up over there on the side. I was still in the hazard and didn't have much of a shot. I made a bogey. So a little bit disappointed but at the same time, I didn't feel like I made a bad swing anywhere on the hole. I just made a 5.

Q. What was the adjustment you made with the driving?

DAVID TOMS: Just working on it a little bit. I was starting to hook the ball a lot, which I don't normally do. So it was on Monday, I did an informercial with Rob Akins who is my teacher in Memphis, so we didn't really work on anything because we were doing a putting video. I just talked to him a little bit about it and we talked about a couple of keys to work on to get rid of it, and it worked.

Q. I could have looked this up, I apologize, but I don't recall you winning in Florida before, but yet you always seem to be right up there. I think you've got back to back 5ths here or so; do you like playing here in the warm weather and all that stuff?

DAVID TOMS: I like playing here. I used to come here as a kid, my grandparents always came with a group. I came here and played 54, as many holes as I possibly could, and always enjoyed it. I do like it here. I played here every single year. I was lucky to get in this event my rookie year. I played well on the West Coast and I was excited to come back. I don't know that I've ever skipped it.

I do look forward, I look forward to getting back in Florida on the East Coast, a little humidity, sweat a little bit and get onto these bermudagreens that I like. So, yeah, I do look forward to it.

Q. I just want to make sure I've got this straight, you came out to Florida, but you came to the Doral Resort and spent your summers?

DAVID TOMS: Not the summers. I don't know, maybe a couple times as a kid. You know, it was a place that I always knew about because, like I said, my grandparent or parents would come here with a group.

So I've been here myself as a young child and you know, knew a lot about it. When I got on TOUR, that was one of the places I looked forward to being able to play.

Q. Were there any other PGA TOUR courses that you were able to play as a kid? This must be the only one.

DAVID TOMS: This was it, right here.

Q. How old?

DAVID TOMS: I don't know, early teens, 13, 14, somewhere in there.

Q. And standing over that tee shot on 18 as a kid, you were supposed to be, who?

DAVID TOMS: Anybody that was playing good at the time, I don't know (laughter).

To be honest with you, I was a big Weiskopf fan. I just thought he had a sweet swing. He was playing well at the time. I was a fan of his.

Q. Your temper is nothing like him, unless we don't know you very well.

DAVID TOMS: No, you see me all the time, so you know how it is.

Q. How many of them have you played, I think there's five courses here?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, but I don't think I've played any of the re dos, but I've played all of them before, even what used to be a combination of the White and the Green together that they made over there. So I've played all of them.

Q. Is the 18th hole still one of the most intimidating finishing holes?

DAVID TOMS: I think so. And today we had it downwind. If it's into the wind, it's an extremely hard tee shot for me. Then you obviously have that second shot to deal with. Yeah, it's one of the tougher finishing holes that we play.

You know, this one, and I guess there's some others that we could talk about. All of the ones it seems like in Florida are pretty difficult to finish on.

Q. The medium hitters have to squeeze that tee shot between the water and that bunker; correct? The other guys can sort of cut it left?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, but I've had that discussion a few times already this week and I don't really want to get into it anymore (laughter).

No, I just don't think it's fair. To be totally honest with you, that's the best way to describe it. You know, why do I have to hit into whatever that little fairway is, and then, you know, a third of the field can just hit it as hard as they want to? What if you're trying to win the tournament against one of those guys? I don't think, even into the wind, a little bit of breeze, they can still do it. I think it's a bad setup the way they have it. To me, it's either go back even further so no one can do it, or maybe just one or two people, or move it up so that we all have the same shot. I just don't agree with it. But you see where it is today. Obviously I don't have much stroke out here.

Q. The Florida events, you haven't won one but you've played well in some of them, usually play Honda, THE PLAYERS, it's either feast or famine with you, either a good week or missed the cut, but you've won in real hot weather like Atlanta and you won in tropical climates like Hawaii; what is the stumbling block?

DAVID TOMS: Well, I think early in my career, I don't think I was a very good wind player. So that knocks out a bunch of the chances right there.

I think later on, I've become a better wind player, so I like my chances better now than early on. And another thing, it's tough, obviously, we all say it, but it's tough to win tournaments. You know, no matter where they are. I'm just glad I've won tournaments other than below the Mason Dixon now. Before, it's like, well, you've never won anywhere but right here. At least now I've won way, way out west, and I've won in California and other places. I'm starting to feel better about it.

Q. Do any of the courses in Florida suit you better, would it be this one maybe?

DAVID TOMS: I like this one. I think the accuracy is still a big part of this event. I mean, I really like the TPC. I don't think I've had enough patience to play there before. I'm starting to get better at that. In fact, you know, I felt like I was going to have a good finish last year until that Monday deal where it was such a hard day and I didn't play well. But I'm starting to feel better about my chances there. So, we'll see.

Q. It didn't blow last year, it hasn't blown this year, in fact, if somebody had only played last year and this year they would not know this golf course, would they?

DAVID TOMS: I was walking up 18 and talking with Elkington, talking about '97 when he won, and that was the year that we had all of the sand on the course and all the banks were shaved and we were talking about how difficult it was. Sean O'Hair was in our group, he said, "Well, I played a junior tournament here in '98," so he saw a little bit (laughter).

But, you know, it's funny. We're trying to talk about how hard the golf course played, you know, or how hard it has played before, and he's like, "Yeah, I kind of know because I played a junior tournament here." So it was kind of funny.

Q. If it picks up and blows hard, that always makes a golf more difficult, but does it particularly make it more difficult here?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I think so. Because there are areas on this course when you get crosswinds, it makes it tough to hit the fairways. The rough is up a little bit and with these bunkers, I think that's what makes it difficult is just to get it in a spot where you can attack the golf course on your second shot.

So driving the ball becomes much more difficult with the wind, and you know, when it's not much wind out there and the fairways are not plugging, but they are not rolling very far, either, so if you can get it started online and land in the fairway, you're okay.

Q. How many guys do you think share your sentiment about No. 18?

DAVID TOMS: Every one of them that can't hit over the water, I can promise you that. No, I can't promise you that.

But I've heard a lot of talk in the locker room about it this week. I don't know, I mean, I think when you set up a golf course, I don't think you should listen to what everybody has to say always or anything like that.

But in a case of that particular hole, I just think you want to make it fair. I'm going to see the same thing tomorrow when I show up on that tee box, so kind of getting past it. At least I striped down the middle today.

Q. Does that especially stand out, because really, this is a very fair course overall, right, so does that shot stand out?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, that's what we were talking about yesterday in the locker room with a couple of the TOUR architect guys and we were talking about, well, it's okay if there are other holes where it suits the other player, where it sets up better for one or the other. If you can average it out through the 18th holes, it's a good setup. So I didn't really I don't know, I just it's just the way I feel about it. I felt that way ever since they started lengthening that hole.

I know in a way it was getting that hole didn't have the teeth like it used to. Guys were hitting driver and wedge and I understand that part of it. I know that it's meant to be a difficult hole. But let's make it difficult for everybody.

Q. Becoming a better player in the wind, is that just experience, or adjustment in ball flight?

DAVID TOMS: Both. I think it's having better knowledge of your golf swing and how to hit the shots better and having the experience of, you know I've said it before, I always had a problem with teeing off at one o'clock and somebody went off at 8:30 and it's blowing at 30 and they are 8 or 9 under already. And you're like, how in the world did they do that. I've gotten a lot better about going out there and playing and see what happens. They usually come back after 72 holes anyway. I think all that factors into it.

Q. The mud on your ball on 18, were there other holes, as well?

DAVID TOMS: There were a few holes. But the thing is, 18, you don't have a bail out area. Other holes, you've just got to try to hit the shot. I don't know that in the front right bunker would be a very good spot either. You just have to hit the shot. It was unfortunate, but, you know, that's the way it goes.

Q. Was there ever a time where you played with a big hitter and felt inferior?

DAVID TOMS: Once a week probably. (Laughter).

No, I don't know. Again, Elkington and I were talking about it today, like how much fun would it be to be able to hit one 350 all the time, just rear back and hit it. To me it would be a lot of fun.

I don't know, I still have the attitude that I can compete when I'm playing my game, just like today. Sure, 30 more yards would have been nice, but I still had a good round of golf and still was able to play it. And have I ever just felt totally inferior

Q. Hazeltine?

DAVID TOMS: Yes, probably so, because I said it there, and I was playing with Ernie Els and Tiger Woods. A long, wet golf course that I thought was just brutally difficult and got totally out played and was down as far as like, what am I going to do, am I going to have to retire now or what.

I think you just have to take advantage of those places where you feel like you can play well. I think we have enough variety out here at times where I can get my own when I play well.

Q. Vijay was just in here and said it would be a lot of fun if he could putt like you. (Laughter.) Just kidding, he wasn't in here.

DAVID TOMS: Well, you know, now I bet he wishes he could hit it as far as Phil I think. (Laughter.)

JOE CHEMYCZ: Thanks, David.

End of FastScripts.

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