Toms A Work In Progress
Toms is posterized on a billboard as you enter his subdivision. It says: Congratulations, Shreveports own, David Toms, Winner of the 2001 PGA Championship, he said with a grin that was born from both pride and humility.
Its been two and a half months since Toms won the seasons final major ' his first ' and hes still trying to adjust to the changes it has brought in his life.
All the perks, all the media attention, all the stuff that goes along with playing great golf, I am not good at handling that, Toms said. I just want to go out and play good just because thats fun.
If playing well is fun, then Toms has had one jubilant year. Entering this weeks Tour Championship in Houston, TX, he has three wins under his belt and over $3.4 million in earnings.
I exceeded my expectations, Toms said. I think winning early in the year (at the Compaq Classic in May), which I had never done before, kind of gave me that extra confidence for the rest of the year to play well.
Then, obviously, winning a major, that was the highlight of my career. And then, I followed it up a few weeks later and was able to win again (at the Michelob Championship).
Hopefully, this week Ill end up on a high note.
Toms is one of 29 players competing for the $900,000 first-place prize at the Champions Golf Club. Hes a bit banged up, with tendonitis in his left wrist and a minor disc problem in his neck. He withdrew from last weeks Buick Challenge as a precaution, and had an MRI on Monday. Doctors put Toms on medication, and he said he still feels less than 100 percent ' but, I have played hurt before and played well, so I am not concerned about that.
This is the 34-year-old former LSU Tigers third consecutive appearance at the Tour Championship. And his second at the Champions Club, having played here in 1999.
Obviously, a lot has changed in 24 months.Two years ago, Toms was just another solid player. Someone who had captured a trio of tour titles along the way and made a nice living for himself.
Then, everything changed in August 2001.
Toms transitioned from good to great. From tour winner to major champion. From public obscurity to fan favorite.
Hes risen to a plateau where the likes of David Duval and Phil Mickelson reside; though, his next ascent is into the rarefied air breathed only by Tiger Woods.
I dont think I am a challenger to him. I think I am just a guy thats starting to, you know, play up to my potential, and I still dont think that my potential is that level, Toms said.
Even guys like Phil Mickelson - Hes a great player. But I just ' I dont see us and David Duval and all those ' they are not as good as Tiger and I am not as good as Tiger. I just think he is gifted.
Recently, the media has tried to stir up a debate as to whom might be Player of the Year ' should Toms win this event.
Would it be Toms with four wins; including a major and the Tour Championship? Or Woods, with five wins; including the Masters Tournament, The Players Championship, the Memorial Tournament, Bay Hill and the WGC-NEC Invitational.
Simple decision, says Toms.
I saw Duvals quote the other day. He said, I dont really think its a contest. Thats the way I feel about it.
This was my 29th event (on the PGA Tour this season). Tiger has played (20). I had (almost) ten more opportunities to win golf tournaments than himIf he played a full schedule, it would be unbelievable what he could do.
Unbelievable. Many would use that word to describe what Toms has done this year.
'I have been able to build on my experience and just get better,' he said. 'I think I can still win a lot more golf tournaments and make a very nice living.
'This year...it's been pretty special.'
Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son
ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.
Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.
''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''
They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.
''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''
Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.
''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''
Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.
Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.
Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.
Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”
Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.
Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.