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April 17, 2007

David Toms


DOUG MILNE: David, thank you for joining us, 2001 champion of this event. So far this year as far as cuts go you're batting 1.000, you're nine for nine, four Top 10s. Just initially get us out of the gate with a couple statements about the state of your game.
DAVID TOMS: My golf game feels pretty good right now. Obviously I haven't contended like I'd like to so far this year. But overall very consistent, some decent checks along the way, but certainly at this time or this stage of the year, I'd like to at least have a really good shot at winning a golf tournament sometime soon. I don't think there's any better place than right here.
DOUG MILNE: As someone with such close ties to this area, how much did it do for you emotionally to see, A, that there was a tournament last year in light of the storm, and B, that we were able to do so much and get back here to TPC Louisiana?
DAVID TOMS: Well, first of all, as far as the tournament last year goes, I think it was very important just to get -- showcase the city on television and show that everything is okay. Having an event as big as this and having 150 professional athletes in town and have them enjoy themselves and come here to play a golf tournament, it shows that the city can host a big event, which I thought was very important.
Coming back here to the TPC Louisiana, obviously there was some devastation here and there was a lot of money spent to get this golf course up to speed and have a tournament like this. I think it's very important for the TOUR and the developers in this area that we're back here, this being part of the TPC network and a really good golf course.
I think it's going to be kind of a change of pace for this part of the country as far as golf courses go. I look forward to it being a top-notch challenging golf course, but at the same time the goal is to make it playable for everybody that visits that area.
You know, it's real close to anybody that wants to hunt or fish or just enjoy the bayou country. It's going to be -- I worked with Ken Morgan, an architect, on the project, and Mr. Brady has been fantastic, kind of letting us have free reign of the place and doing the best job we can. Fantastic shapers, and everybody that's worked on the project that we've been associated with so far has just been first class, and I think it'll be great for golf in this area.
We're hoping to move some people into the area with the housing around the golf course. I think there's not going to be a prettier place to be in that part of the world than on our golf course.

Q. With your designer's hat still on, have you heard about changes here?
DAVID TOMS: Yes, I think they've softened the penalty for some of the fairway bunkers. I can remember a couple of drives that I hit that I thought were decent shots off the tee and getting into spots where all I could do was chip out of the bunker sideways. That was a little bit severe. I know there's some more trees out there that have been replanted and stuff like that. I know the golf course has been shortened, but I'm not sure --

Q. Did somebody finally listen to you?
DAVID TOMS: Well, I think they just listened to all the players. That's so difficult to build a golf course that challenges the best players in the world, and at the same time has the everyday guy has a great experience playing the golf course.
So I think you look at -- once you have a tournament, everything looks a certain way on paper and you think it's all going to be great, and you go out and play in different wind conditions, different directions every day, different weather, long players, short players, medium hitters, and you see what the golf course is all about, and I think they took advice from a lot of different players. They polled a lot of players and went out there and made some changes that needed to be made.

Q. You've been an advocate of such things, I believe, have sort of spoken whenever you were asked. Petrovic was in here, he called it refreshing. How would you describe it?
DAVID TOMS: Well, my philosophy is that with our TOUR courses you need variety. You don't want to appeal to one player over another, and it's hard to do. The distance guys are hitting the golf balls these days and the shots they're able to hit, you know, you want some penalty there, but at the same time you want to penalize everybody equal. That's what I try to do when I'm involved with a golf course project is look at it from a player's perspective and to try to accomplish that. If he said it was -- like I said, I haven't been on the golf course yet. I've seen the drawings and what's going on out there, and I've agreed with everything that they did.

Q. This year you lost some distance off the tee due to injury and yet it hasn't affected the way you've been playing.
DAVID TOMS: As far as the distance off the tee, you have to look at the weeks that guys play. When you're talking about nine events, were half of those soft conditions? We've played in some soft conditions so far. Take Kapalua, for example, where even when it's dry there, you can hit the ball on an average well over 300 yards every drive because of the pitch of the fairways and everything. We had a soft week there. So for me as a short hitter you get off behind the 8-ball as far as your distance the first week of the year.
At the end of this year if I'm still off ten yards or so, you know, that's something to be maybe concerned about and take a look at why, but as of right now, I think -- I played at Augusta and had a good tournament, week before last, on a golf course that's awfully long. But we had some roll so I was able to get the ball out there. I hit a 9-iron into 18 on Sunday, so I was right up there with anybody else that was playing the hole. Right now I'm not that concerned about it.

Q. Since you've been back what do you see in terms of recovery here?
DAVID TOMS: Well, I haven't -- I flew into the airport and came straight here, so I haven't been down into the heart of the city or anything or haven't taken a tour of any of those real devastated areas, so it's hard for me to comment on it. But certainly everybody here out at the golf course, everybody is excited for us to be in town, and I hope they'll come out this week, support the tournament and we'll have another good week. If I get to chance a venture out and see what's going on, I'll be able to make a judgment over how it was last year.

Q. How important is it for you to maintain your touch here in New Orleans with charitable endeavors?
DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I think it's very important. I think it's very important for the whole country not to forget this city. The media people tend to forget, and as far as what we try to do foundation-wise is we continue to try to help those less fortunate than I am in everything that we can do. If there are good causes out there or charities that are up and running here in the city that we feel like are worthy of donations, we continue to do that.

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