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April 22, 2009

David Toms


MARK WILLIAMS: David, welcome to the Zurich Classic in New Orleans interview room. Thank you for coming in and making the time to be with us. You're in the top 30 in the FedExCup and the money list as present and fourth in scoring average. You've had a pretty good year so far. Talk about coming back to your home state, playing here and what it means to you.
DAVID TOMS: First of all, you know, going back to how I've done so far this year, it's been somewhat successful. I've had the opportunity a couple of times to have a chance to win and wasn't able to do it. But I can't think of a better week than for it to happen here.
Coming back to New Orleans is always pretty special for me. It's always a busy week with a lot going on, but once Thursday rolls around, you get down to just playing golf.
I look forward to the challenge of playing on this golf course. It's not a golf course that I've necessarily played well on, but I think I can. It's in great shape this year. It's firm and fast, which I prefer, so look forward to having a good week.
MARK WILLIAMS: You've won a major and you've also won here in the past. How do you rank those events, those wins?
DAVID TOMS: You know, I think for me personally, winning here was probably the one that sticks out the most, just because of the way everything went down, and the support that I had that year on the weekend and all the people pulling for me.
Obviously, it meant a lot for my career, but to have a tournament like this where people were behind me, and really, I attribute the win that year to the support that I had.
So, you know, it's a place that I would love to play well at again, and have that opportunity to win again in front of the people that I know would be rooting for me.

Q. Why do you think there have been so many first time winners at this event?
DAVID TOMS: Just in this tournament? Not necessarily this golf course, but just this tournament?

Q. Well, just the question for the other guys.
DAVID TOMS: Well, I know there's been several at this golf course.

Q. Why do you think that would be?
DAVID TOMS: I think it's new, and not that many guys have played here before. So you don't have any local knowledge or you know results to go on.
When you were playing at English Turn, you had guys that played that golf course for years and years and you start to learn it. You figure out how to play it a little bit more. But when you talk about going to a new venue, I think that happens a lot, places where guys haven't played much before.

Q. On your year last year, can you just talk about you're back into good form, what happened? What was the difference?
DAVID TOMS: Well, number one, I've tried to forget about it. So that's that question.
Lot of different things -- being hurt. This time I didn't even play this tournament last year. So I had a couple of injuries throughout the year, didn't play as much and a lot of times when I did play, I wasn't necessarily physically up to the challenge. So that carries over to losing your confidence. Losing motivation to be out there and be into it.
As big as the fields are these days, if you're not there mentally and physically, people will just pass you by. I think that's what I went through last year, and I made a conscious effort to start this year to be focused every day when the preparation for events and when I'm out there playing. It's translated into some better scoring.

Q. You said you only feel somewhat successful this year. Do you feel like you're back to playing David Toms' golf?
DAVID TOMS: Not necessarily, just because the first week I had a chance to win. And, you know, I hit a bad drive on the last hole, which kind of ruined my chances there in Hawaii. I think when I was playing great, I probably wouldn't have hit that shot, or at least, you know, the reason I hit that shot was I was trying to kind of bite off more than I needed to. And I hit it in the lip of a bunker and had no chance.
I think if I had won the year before and didn't have so much pressure of trying to win a golf tournament, then I would have played the hole a lot better and a little more conservative and had a better chance to win.
When I got to Phoenix, I eagled 15 on Sunday to tie for the lead. And I looked up at the scoreboard, and it was kind of like not panic, but, like, wow. You know, I'm in a spot where I haven't been in a while. And I kind of bailed out on 16 to the right with an 8-iron and taking dead aim. I knew the reality was I needed to make a couple of birdies to have a chance.
I went and made bogey on 16 with an 8-iron shot. And then didn't birdie 17, which is a drivable par 4. So things like that I would say I wasn't quite back to where at least, you know, mentally where I needed to be. And I think that just goes from not having played great in a while.
So even though I've had some good rounds and a chance to play well, still in Tampa this year on Sunday, I put too much pressure on myself. I had a chance to win there, and went out and played bad on Sunday, and ended up finishing like 30th.
So not quite back where I need to be. But as far as my golf swing and kind of shots I'm able to hit, you know, it's getting closer.

Q. So it's more mental. Really not being in that position?
DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I think so. Because the thought process carries over to how you you play and what kind of shots you hit. You know, having the confidence to deal with hitting shots when it really means something. And I think that's what I've been lacking so far this year.

Q. Does the fact that you're playing here and you'll have so much support here, does that help in that area? In other words, you get some confidence?
DAVID TOMS: Sure, it certainly can't hurt. But, you know, there is such a thing as wanting to play too well. Trying too hard. Golf, you can't play that way. Especially a golf course like this where you can get into trouble a lot of different places.
You've still got to go out and play. If it comes down to late on Sunday and I have a chance and people are behind me, I think it will help. But between now and then, it's all about going to play the golf course as best I can.

Q. What do you think of this golf course?
DAVID TOMS: I know in year's past it's been soft and played awfully long the first couple of years. It was overseeded and the fairways were soft. Had a lot of long irons in some of these greens and just couldn't attack. You were just trying to hit in the middle of the green. You've seen some fairly long hitters win at this golf course and play well.
But then this year you I think with the firmness of the golf course, the way it's playing a little bit faster. I think it brings more guys into the mix, and, hopefully, I'll be one of those.

Q. (Indiscernible) what changes make things easier if you do win, what would change?
DAVID TOMS: I think the confidence factor. You know, that's a big part of golf. You see guys do it all the time. They have one good week, and then they stretch five or six together. You know, just one little thing. You might have a guy that is struggling, and all of a sudden, he plays one good nine holes, and the light comes on. That's just our game.
There are so many unpredictable things that happen on a golf course -- bad bounces and missed reads on putts, you know, a gust of wind. You just have to go out there and play.
If you have the confidence of things no matter what the situation, things are going to work out, you know, it helps. To guys that win tournaments, it's just kind of a snow ball effect. It seems like you just continue to play good golf when you get that extra boost.

Q. Are the greens playing different than when the golf course first opened?
DAVID TOMS: I don't think so. I think probably the grain on the greens is probably more dominant than when it first opened. You can see the different colors. Most of the grain on the greens runs off the slope the way the water does. You can see it out there. It's not very hard to read putts now. If you can see the grain, you can see all the slopes and everything gets settled in. The greens are probably a little easier to putt than they were when they first opened.

Q. Can you speak a little about your involvement in the summit yesterday and ZURICH's announcement about extending the contract?
DAVID TOMS: Yes. The economic summit we had yesterday first of all, it showcased ZURICH and their involvement in the tour and their commitment to the PGA TOUR and extending through 2014.
You know, I made the comment yesterday that the markets and the way everything is now in the world, to me a financial services company stepping out and stepping up and committing to the PGA TOUR for five more years, I think it says a lot about their belief in this tournament and New Orleans and tour golf in general. I think that was obviously a big deal for this tournament.
For the players to have somebody step up like that, and not knowing what the future holds, but make the commitment to us, it was a pretty big deal.

Q. Seems all the financial services companies that are sponsoring tournaments nowadays, you have to figure most of those sponsors are not going to be back?
DAVID TOMS: Oh, absolutely. Obviously, in the future I don't think everything's going to be quite as positive as the announcement yesterday. I would hope that things would turn around and people will continue to commit to the PGA TOUR.
I think we have a great product, a very positive image. I think it's a great way for companies to market themselves and for their customers to be part of what's going on out here on tour. And to be close to professional athletes which they don't get to do in other sports.
I think they're a great place to invest money, if it people are willing to step up and use what dollars they can to market themselves of the.

Q. How concerned are you about the economic meltdown and the depression taking a bunch of sponsors and finding replacements? Is there anything you think the tour needs to react to?
DAVID TOMS: I think we're doing everything we can. I think players are more committed to relationships with the sponsors, and going above and beyond what they need to do as far as keeping you up good relations with our sponsors.
I think as long as Tiger doesn't retire any time soon, we'll be okay. So there's been some great golf played this year. I think if you look at the Masters this year, that was a great golf tournament. There's been a lot of good events so far, and I think they'll continue in the future.
Like I said, we've got a great product. And if companies are going to sponsor sports, that golf is the place to put your money.

Q. One of the other aspects of the tour and the tournament is the charity aspect. And I know that you're involved with the Bayou District Foundation, and it's a big deal here in New Orleans. If you could talk about that and your involvement?
DAVID TOMS: Well, first of all, the Bayou District Foundation is all about trying to rebuild New Orleans. Get as far as city parks go, gets them back on their feet. I've played a lot of golf there as a kid, high school matches, junior tournaments. It's a shame to have such a historical spot in golf not have much golf right now.
To rebuild that and to have a place you know that is a port hole for your local residents and have a place that people who are visiting New Orleans can go in. They come here to eat and have a good time, but you have a great place for them to play golf close to the city would be nice as well.
Then you have your housing component and your school component, and all the different things, I think it would be a great model for the rest of the country if it's done right.

Q. Do you think the north course is open?
DAVID TOMS: I think the north course is open. They're playing a little bit of golf over there. It's a par 67 or something. It's a really short golf course. It's just a place where people can go beat it around right now and the driving range, they can go hit balls. The range is open, but that's about it.

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