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February 10, 2009

David Toms


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: David Toms, thanks for joining us here at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for the first time since 2002. You're off to a great start this year, 12 of your 13 rounds in the 60s with two Top 10s. Maybe just a few comments about a great beginning to the season.
DAVID TOMS: You know, it has been a good start. I've played well. When I did have a chance to have a good tournament, I've done that so far, which is nice. Last year I wasn't really able to capitalize on good play at times. So that's been encouraging.
I'm here for the first time in a long while. This is usually my ski vacation week, but last week we went skiing instead. I guess the TOUR has changed the dates a little bit, a little bit later, so it's worked out that I'm playing here this week and playing the next couple after this, as well. Just looking forward to having a good, solid year and hopefully getting back in the winner's circle.

Q. (Question regarding early commitment.)
DAVID TOMS: You know, I didn't commit to this event early, but when I left home to go to Honolulu, I told my wife I wasn't going to be home for seven weeks. So all along it was in the back of my mind I was going to play this week, regardless.
I did commit at the last minute, but still had planned to play here. Obviously I need to now with the position that I'm in, seven weeks and one week of vacation.

Q. Why did you stay away all those years?
DAVID TOMS: Like I said, usually the first week of February we usually always go skiing, and the reason we do that is because we don't want to be there Presidents Week because it's too crowded. So usually this tournament falls at that time. That and the combination of the last few times I was here the weather was extremely iffy at best, and probably a lot like we're going to have again, so maybe it's my fault.
But the main reason was the ski vacation. We really enjoy that, and we always go that first week of February.

Q. Where do you go?
DAVID TOMS: Usually Colorado, Beaver Creek.

Q. So has Kenny Perry's success lately had you change your goals a little bit?
DAVID TOMS: No, I mean, Kenny has always been a great player. I know he had a down year a couple years ago; I guess it was '06. But just -- it doesn't surprise me he's able to play like he's playing at his age, just because he still plays a power game and still putts as well as anybody when he's on a roll. As far as Kenny's game, it doesn't really have a reflection on my attitude towards playing out here on the TOUR or anything like that. Obviously it's encouraging for guys that are in their 40s that you can still do it against the young guys. But like I said, he has the game that a lot of the young guys do, the power game, and he uses that along with the fact that he's got a lot of experience to do well.

Q. Do you think he'll get to 20 wins?
DAVID TOMS: I mean, I heard him say that, and I think that's definitely doable the way he's played the last couple.

Q. What about you?
DAVID TOMS: Me? Will I? I don't know, depends how many tournaments I play between now and whenever the last one is going to be. I don't know, it's going to be very difficult, but at the same time, it seems like guys win -- they win once and then you get that confidence and somehow it falls in your lap again. I've had seasons where I've had multiple victories, so I'd like to get to that 15 number and kind of go from there.
It is doable. It's just at my age it'll be pretty difficult.

Q. Did that help you get to the TOUR Championship two years ago?
DAVID TOMS: Yes, the first year of the FedExCup, I actually think I made it on money but missed it on FedExCup points.

Q. I was just curious if you had any times in the last ten years if you were going into an event on a bubble or something.
DAVID TOMS: You know, it's probably been a while, having to play well. But you know, I knew starting the season that I was kind of behind the 8-ball as far as the Masters and the World Golf Championships. I guess the only one I'm in for sure is the one at Bridgestone because of the last Presidents Cup.
I kind of knew that, and I've been able to play well knowing that I needed to. So that's been very encouraging, and as far as this week goes, who knows what the weather is going to do or anything else. I'll go out there and do the best I can and try not to think ahead at all. I know if I go out and I play well, that will take care of it.
I've had one of our writers at home sending me emails saying this guy is playing, this guy is not playing. Actually the TOUR sent me some emails last week saying if I didn't play this week because I wasn't committed at the time that the numbers didn't look good as far as -- a lot of times you can not play and move up. Last week I was 64, didn't play, and moved to 66. But somehow this week my divisor goes down if I didn't play this tournament. So I'd lose points but then my divisor goes down from 42 to 41 if I didn't play this week. I think there would be an outside chance if I didn't play this tournament that I could make the Top 64. I don't really know the scenarios, but I know if I play this tournament and I play well, I'll get in.
That's the way I looked at it before I committed to the event last-minute last week. I was up in the mountains, and I said, if I finish 65th and I didn't get in, then I'd probably -- not that I'd have to live with it or anything like that, but I'd probably have that feeling that I didn't give it my best shot to try to make it. That's why I'm here playing, and hopefully it'll go well.

Q. Depending on where you finish, you might be the one guy who hopes Tiger doesn't come back at Match Play.
DAVID TOMS: That would be a tough first match. Sooner or later to win that event you're going to have to beat somebody that's ranked ahead of you and that you're the underdog against. It was that way when I won the last time. I played Tiger in the finals in that event before. I enjoy that event, have done well in Match Play, so I just need to get in the field first.

Q. How important is that to you, to get into that?
DAVID TOMS: It's very important. When you look at goals to play in the Masters or World Golf Championships, it's one of those events that has so many ranking points, if you win a couple of matches you can move up pretty quickly. It would be an opportunity for me to make a big jump. If I could get in that field and then have a good week there, to be able to move up to get in the other tournaments that I want to be in.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about none of these courses reach 7,000 yards in length but they still hold their own pretty well.
DAVID TOMS: I played Pebble Beach this morning at 7:20, perfect day, no wind, beautiful day, and I looked at my caddie, and I said, "This is the longest 6,900-yard golf course I've ever played." You have no roll, and then once you hit the green it's coming back, so it makes it longer. A lot of times you're hitting 7- and 8-irons from 110, 105 yards tying to take the spin off so you hit longer clubs than maybe some of the longer courses that we play.

Q. What did you think of some of the changes at Pebble, the bunkers on 6, and they moved the tee back on 9?
DAVID TOMS: Yeah, a few of the holes, the third hole there's some bunkers out on the right. I think when the U.S. Open is played here and things are firm and fast, a lot of those bunkers will come into play more so than this week when the ball is not rolling out. I think ultimately they were put in for events like that. I think it'll make a difference the next time we play here.

Q. What yardage did you play to on 5 today?
DAVID TOMS: We played all the way back. I think it was right at 190, something like that. I believe so.

Q. 5-iron?
DAVID TOMS: I hit a 5, yeah. I've hit 5-iron on the 7th hole before in competition. The elements are a big part of this golf course for sure.

Q. Those changes, when you think ahead to the Open, like you said they obviously were done with that in mind, are they good for the course? They lengthened the course by a couple hundred yards.
DAVID TOMS: Yeah, nothing looked out of place. The only one I haven't played I guess is the bunker on 15 has been there for a couple years, and I haven't played it until today. Luckily being a short hitter I didn't have to worry about it today. I just drew it around the corner and I was a good 15 yards short of that bunker. But I can see when the ball is running out down the hill, especially if they shave around the bunker, the ball will funnel into that position; you definitely don't want to be there. What'll happen is guys will throttle back off the tee a little bit so then the hole will play longer than the yardage just because they're avoiding that bunker.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: David Toms, thank you.

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