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June 8, 2011

David Toms


DOUG MILNE: We'd like to welcome David Toms to the interview room here at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Just a couple comments; obviously FedEx has really stepped up and become a very integral partner of the PGA TOUR and obviously this tournament means a lot to you. You're currently ranked No. 8 in the FedExCup standings, so just a few opening comments about all that.
DAVID TOMS: First of all, it's good to be back. I've had a lot of success around this place over the years, and it's a tournament that I commit to right away every year when the schedule comes out. I wouldn't miss it. Always enjoy coming here. A lot of friends, a lot of support, and obviously the golf tournament has been good to me over the years.
As far as FedEx's involvement, I just commend them on their commitment to the PGA TOUR and what that means to all the players. It's really hard to put a finger on it. I mean, it's just a big commitment. Everything they do, what they do for this tournament, what they do for St. Jude and the TOUR in general is something special.
I remember talking to Mike Glenn, I guess, last year. I think I played with him in the pro-am last year, and we were talking about them looking for a sponsor for this tournament, and he said, well, we're not going to let it go away, so whatever we have to do, and certainly they stepped up. That means a lot to this community and to St. Jude and for this golf tournament and everybody that's affiliated with it.
DOUG MILNE: Coming off a near win at THE PLAYERS Championship, you bounced back with a win at Colonial. It certainly wasn't your first win, but how has life changed as far as your confidence and motivation and so forth goes as you head into this week?
DAVID TOMS: Winning always helps those things, the motivation, the confidence, the willingness to continue to work. You know, it's tough; it's tough to be away from your family, it's tough to be away from home weeks out of the year, and when you have a chance to win, or win tournaments, it just makes it all worth it in the end, that what you're doing is the right thing, especially at 44 years old. I mean, I could hang up the spikes and move on right now and it wouldn't be that big a deal except for I wouldn't have the competition and wouldn't be able to do what I love to do and what I've always done.
Winning is really everything to me right now. It was getting tough. I guess I had five or six runner-ups since the last time I won until The Colonial, so I had my chances, wasn't able to get it done, and then obviously THE PLAYERS Championship, the way I ended up losing that at the end, it kind of makes you wonder is it ever going to happen again. And then to go out and play great the next week and win right away certainly made me forget about what took place in Ponte Vedra pretty quickly.

Q. Before last month, how much did retiring enter your mind?
DAVID TOMS: I think it enters your mind any time that you're away from competition and you're having fun doing something else. You know, I've got a lot of hobbies, a lot of passions away from the golf course. Certainly there are other things that could occupy my time. But once you're back in it and in that competition mode when you have a chance, whether you get it done or not, it just kind of reinforces that I'm continuing to do the right thing, that I need to continue to play golf. At this point in my career if I can still have chances to win tournaments, then there's no sense leaving the game at that point.

Q. Given your success in the past and your experience, does that give you an extra edge here at this particular course?
DAVID TOMS: You know, I don't know if it does. I mean, you still have to go out and play the golf course, hit the shots. You've got to get some breaks. You know, I am confident in what I'm doing on the golf course right now, but you still have to go out and do it, and you can't make those mental mistakes. You have to be patient at times, aggressive at times. Sometimes it's hard to -- you get ahead of yourself when you've been successful in the short run. You're thinking you can hit all the shots and maybe get impatient on the golf course if things aren't going well. So I have to really stay away from that mentality and just continue to play the course like I need to.

Q. Along with THE PLAYERS Championship and Colonial it's been a great year. What changed? Is it that you're now in better physical condition or your health or what part of your game have you been working on?
DAVID TOMS: Nothing has really changed. I mean, I've played pretty solid all year. I think it's just more the will to play well. I mean, this game can beat you up, and I've made a conscious effort to have more fun on the golf course no matter what the results are. There was times this year where I could have gotten frustrated where you're finishing top 25 but you feel like you're playing better than that. There's been a lot of moments like that. But to all of a sudden start scoring better and to see that, I'm not doing anything, I'm driving the ball well, hitting a lot of greens, putting fairly well, I mean, not incredible but enough to contend, and just trying to have every part of my game to where -- I'm never going to be obviously a long hitter, so I need to be straight, so I'm doing that pretty well.
The reason I'm hitting more greens is I feel like I'm -- not that I'm not aggressive still but that I'm trying to hit the smart shot, so I've done that really well this year. And just made an effort to not get ahead of myself. You know, it's real easy to do. Tomorrow afternoon I'm going to show up at the golf course at 10:30, 11:00, and somebody is already going to be playing great, and you have to get past that and just go out and play one shot at a time, and I've done a good job of that this year.

Q. Were there a couple of years with the injuries and the struggle that it was really more of a grind than it used to be? It's always a grind, and now there's maybe -- as you get older there's more appreciation of you just playing the game and being out here?
DAVID TOMS: Yeah, absolutely. You know, my body is never going to feel great anymore. I know that. But I can have fun playing golf. I'm playing a lot more casual golf away from tournaments, whether it's with my son or friends, and just trying to enjoy it and not worry about always what I'm going to shoot, just go out there and try to hit shots, try different shots and just play the game, and it's working well.

Q. The competition this week, Westwood and some of those folks, how much is this field going to be a good test for this week?
DAVID TOMS: It's going to be a real good test. I'm glad to have a lot of high-ranked players playing here. It means a lot more the tournament. I think it's a good date for them, right before the U.S. Open. You have a lot of guys that don't want to take the week off before a major, so they come to town to play and showcase their skills here and try to get ready for the U.S. Open.
I think it's a great week for them. I look forward to the challenge. It'll be tough to win this golf tournament with all the good players, and I've just got to go out there and play well and see how that stacks up.

Q. What is it about this tournament that has allowed you to have success over the years?
DAVID TOMS: I think there are a lot of factors. I think the heat is a good things for me. I've had success on golf courses where it's been hot. No doubt the ball goes a little bit further, same type of grasses that I've grown accustomed to and played a lot in the South. A good support group here, feeling very comfortable, it's close to home, food is similar to what I have at home. I mean, I don't have any problem communicating with the folks around here.
It's just good. I mean, there's nothing that I dislike about it at all. I mean, yeah, there are places where I might play well, but there's parts of the tournament that don't necessarily agree with you, and there's nothing here that would hold me back from not playing well other than just my own golf game. It's been good to me.
And then once you have that success, I expect to play well here, which is a good thing. I would rather do that and have those expectations than to show up at a venue where you haven't played well, you don't putt the greens well, you don't play the course well, you don't like the food, you don't like the weather, but somehow you've got to score. I'd much rather the other way, and that's the way it's always been here in Memphis.
DOUG MILNE: David, we always appreciate your time, and best of luck this week.

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