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May 13, 2011

David Toms


DOUG MILNE: David Toms, thanks for joining us again after another successful round. You followed up your 6-under 66 with a 4-under 68 today. Obviously got the wheels in motion. Just a few comments on the round today and how you're feeling as we head into the week at THE PLAYERS.
DAVID TOMS: You know, my goal today was to just try to keep it going. I felt good about everything I was doing, driving the ball, iron shots, putter, from yesterday, and I didn't want to give anything back early.
And I got off to just making par start kind of thing, and then I got over there to 5 and hit a great shot with a 7-iron in there pretty close and made that putt. And then birdied 7, so I was off to a pretty good start.
For the most part everything was very, very solid except for the two bogeys I made were shots where I wasn't committed to the club I was hitting, and I paid the price for it. That's the type of golf course it is where you really have to be focused on your shots and never give in to the golf course and just play as hard as you can. That's what I've done for two days, and just played really solid.
I haven't done anything great, haven't made a lot of long putts or chip-in or anything like that. I've just played very, very solid.

Q. The type of game you've displayed over the years looks like it should be a pretty good fit here, but you had your problems early in your career with this course. Since then you've had a couple of good tournaments, but what happens out there when things haven't gone well for you in the past and what's working better this week so far?
DAVID TOMS: You know, looking back, I was probably -- you know, this golf course, you have a lot of -- there's a lot of turns to it. You know, off the tee and into the greens, you've got all these different angles. And it seemed like early in my career around here I was always trying to play the perfect shot. I mean, and I think the last few years I've just learned to try to play my game, my shot, whether that week if I'm hitting a fade off the tee, I just have to play a little different line.
Just like today, on 18, I actually took it down the left side and hit a cut into the fairway. The two guys I played with, they were hitting it down the right side and drawing it into the fairway which is probably the better shot. That's the way the hole sets up. But for me I just knew I could take the water out of play by making sure I hit a cut shot, and it didn't go very far but I got it right in the middle of the fairway.
I think that's what I've learned over the years, just try to play my game rather than trying to hit the perfect shot on the golf course.
I mean, if there's a pin that I can't get to, I play it 30 feet to the right or left of the pin or short and try to two-putt and find a hole where I can get to it, and I think that's just what I've done a little bit differently over the years here.

Q. And do you think you've played better under the Bermuda conditions than you did --
DAVID TOMS: Probably so. You know, I grew up on it. I'm very -- I don't have any problem reading the greens or seeing the grain. It's very important around the greens when you're chipping and pitching to know and feel comfortable with it, and I certainly -- I don't have any excuse not to be able to see it and hit the shot, because I grew up on it my whole life.

Q. Playing with those two guys, Jason Day and Anthony Kim, very different games than what you had. Does it give you a lot of solace over the first two days to basically beat them by -- trying to figure out how many strokes you beat Jason by. What do you take from that?
DAVID TOMS: I take from it that anybody can do well on this golf course. You know, I watched those two guys hit 3-woods probably 70 percent of the time around the golf course, and that was the way for them to play the golf course.
But for me, you know, it kind of evens out because if I was aggressive and hit driver and I could get it into the right spot, I was right there with them, so I wasn't way behind the guys all two days.
This golf course kind of evens everybody out, the way you have to play it. So I think that's why you see so many different players winning here, you know, different styles. It tells me that I can compete here against two really good great young players that have awesome careers ahead of them.
It was just interesting. Conversations are always a little bit different playing with a couple of guys like that than guys my age. You go from talking about your kids and stuff going on at home to talking about if they'd want to have any or whatever. It's pretty funny. I'll leave it at that.

Q. A win this week would give you 13 overall. I know it's still early. You have a major, you have a Players, earned over $34 million. Do you consider yourself going into the Hall of Fame?
DAVID TOMS: I consider myself lucky that I've played the vast majority of my career at a time where golf was at a peak, you know, when Tiger came into the game. I'm very satisfied. I think I still have a lot of work to do to get in the Hall of Fame, so I'll just keep playing as long as I can and as long as I enjoy it, and when we get to the end, see what happens.

Q. Forgive my ignorance, I haven't looked at your results lately, but my sense, though, is you've been playing well this year recently. Are you playing better than you have maybe the last couple few years?
DAVID TOMS: I've had a lot of good rounds this year. Haven't had a lot of great tournaments. That's probably the difference in the last four or five years from, say, early 2000s where I had a chance to win a lot and won a lot of tournaments is just putting four rounds together. Now, why that is, I don't know.
It's probably just overall confidence. You know, when you're hot there for a few years, it seems like you expect to do well when you are in the hunt, and maybe I've put too much pressure on myself to get back to that level.
I've done a good job the last -- well, actually this whole year of just playing golf. You know, I didn't finish well last week. I had a chance to have a top 10 finish there and finished up bad the last few holes. I could have let it carry over, but I came back this week determined to get right back there and playing great again, and that's what I've done.

Q. Do you prefer THE PLAYERS in March or May?
DAVID TOMS: I like this better. I like the warm conditions. I like the Bermuda through and through. I like the golf course. It's obviously firmer now than it was in the springtime, so I prefer it now.

Q. You haven't won a tournament for a number of years. When you go into a tournament after a long spell like that, do you still say to yourself, this can be my week, or do you look at it in terms of I want a top 10, I want to have a better round than last week?
DAVID TOMS: Right. Well, I mean, you just -- I just try to play because I mean, if you wear yourself out thinking, hey, I have to win again or I have to do this or I have to do that -- you know, winning a golf tournament, whether it's THE PLAYERS Championship or any other tournament, it's not going to change my life in any way.
So it's all about enjoying the game, enjoying the competition, and if you get the results, that's a bonus, as well. You know, I just want to go out and play well.
I love having a chance. I mean, that's what I've always played for. You know, you work hard, you stay on the road away from your wife and kids, and you want to have the opportunity to get in the hunt, and certainly that's why I play. Whenever it happens again, if it happens again for me, it'll be a great day.
But like I said, it won't be a life-changing experience.

Q. Is there anything about your experience winning the PGA that could help you this week? When you've won since then, has that been an experience you've been able to call upon, the way you played that week?
DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I mean, on a golf course as hard as the Athletic Club was and playing against a guy like Mickelson coming down the stretch and being able to win in the fashion that I did, it gave me a lot of confidence any time during that chance when I had a chance.
I won again that year and won multiple times since then. You know, it's weird; when you win tournaments sometimes, it feels really easy. Other times it was just so, so difficult.
What is it that makes it difficult? Is it dealing with being close to the lead every day and having to do things like that? I mean, certainly if you were just out playing golf, I mean, it's a lot easier than having to come in here and answer questions of why you're playing well, or do you think you can keep it up, or what's going different now than last week or the week before. Certainly those things, it's tough to deal with that. That's why I always said Tiger was amazing to me because he dealt with it almost every single day that he was playing golf, and to still be able to play at a high level.
You know, winning that golf tournament, the PGA Championship, it meant a lot to me at that time, and that was a life-changing experience. It was a big win, and certainly showed me that I can beat quality fields in big tournaments on good golf courses.

Q. By the way, where is the 5-wood where you made the hole-in-one?
DAVID TOMS: It's in a glass case in my game room over the garage.

Q. How long did you continue to use that club?
DAVID TOMS: About three or four years, and it was sitting in my garage in a bag, and my wife took it and gave it to me for Christmas in a glass case a couple years ago, so it's pretty neat.

Q. I think 19 years here, any favorite hole?
DAVID TOMS: On this golf course? You know, I don't know. Like my caddie says, his favorite is always the last one, because that means he doesn't have to walk anymore. I don't really have a favorite. You know, I've birdied all the holes and bogeyed all the holes probably, doubled most of them, too. They all run together.
It's a good, solid golf course, a good test of golf. And when the wind is blowing, it can be very difficult.

Q. How well do you know Jason Day? How often have you played with him? And just kind of what were your impressions of him, and not just his game, but at the Masters we got to see a slice of his personality. He seems pleasant.
DAVID TOMS: Yeah. He's obviously a very talented guy. I know he had a lot of expectations on him when he first came over here to play. You know, he talked a little bit about that, about maybe not being as dedicated as he should have and maybe didn't know that it was going to be as difficult as it was to have success. And so pretty quickly he learned that he needed to be dedicated to the sport and not just show up but really work at it, and he's done really well.
It was interesting, though, because we were talking about my kids, and he said, well, it looks like you started later in your career. I said, yeah, I was 30 but my wife was 25 when we had our son. And I was like, but, at that point it was one of those things about having your career established and being out here where you had some security before you started a family.
And I told him, I was like, here he is, he's already won tournaments and he's established and he's going to be out here for a long time because he's talking about having kids soon. And I told him I thought that was a good idea, to go ahead and jump into the fire. I said, mine are eight years apart. If I had to do over again, I would have had them, boom, boom, real close.

Q. Do you know him pretty well?
DAVID TOMS: You know, I didn't know him very well. Certainly you see him every week, say hi and whatever, but I never played with him. And he's very talented. I enjoyed watching him play. He'll be out here for a long time. And a nice guy. Conducted himself very well. He's still a young guy who thinks he can hit every shot no matter what the shot is, and he probably can, but odds are you're not going to pull it off every time. Those guys will learn, and he'll be out here for a long time.

Q. You mentioned winning the PGA ten years ago. How excited are you to return there this summer?
DAVID TOMS: Very excited. I know they've lengthened the golf course and changed to Bermuda greens, so it'll be a different place. I guess maybe they're DT-proofing it. I'm not sure what they're doing. But I just remember that even though I had a lot of long shots, the greens were soft and so you could stop them, especially on those long par-3s. I could hit 4-irons or hybrids or whatever and stop them on the greens. Now with Bermuda if they firm up, it'll be a different test.
DOUG MILNE: If you wouldn't mind running us through your birdies and just give us some clubs and yards.
DAVID TOMS: Yeah, like I said, on the 5th hole I hit a 7-iron, I don't know, probably four or five feet. It was a good shot.
The 7th hole, I hit a 9-iron to about eight or ten feet.
8, my bogey there, I pulled a 4-iron in the left bunker and hit a great shot out and just missed the putt from about eight feet.
9, I hit a lob wedge to about 12 feet.
11, I made a nice putt, I think about a 20-footer there. Hit a lob wedge. Not a very good shot to about 20 feet, made that.
13, I hit another 7-iron about six feet, made that one.
15, middle of the fairway, 9-iron, I was in between clubs and tried to hit it hard and I came out of it, hit it in the right bunker, plugged in the bunker and didn't get up-and-down. That was my worst shot of the week I would say.
16, I hit the green in two about 12 feet with a 3 hybrid and hit a good putt, lipped it out, made birdie there.
And that's it.
DOUG MILNE: David, good playing. Keep it up.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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