No Match for Toms in Match Play


Once you got past all the rah-rah stuff about LSUs David Toms and Floridas Chris DiMarco being buddies and good-natured rivals because of their respective backgrounds in the Southeastern Conference, the real meaning of what happened Sunday at La Costa becomes clear:
The 38-year-old Toms may be our countrys best match play golfer.
And by the way, on Sunday SEC stood more relevantly for Securities and Exchange Commission after Toms banked $1.3 million for boatracing DiMarco, 6 and 5, in the finals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play.
Toms is now 18-5 in this event. Only Tiger Woods at 21-4 has a better mark. But Toms is relentless. He has the perfect match play temperament. He hits fairways and greens and makes putts.
His 2-and-1 victory over Aussie Adam Scott, the hottest player in the field until that match, probably represented the highest quality golf all week. Steadily, Toms made five birdies, 12 pars and never flinched in the face of Scotts distance superiority off the tee. Eventually all of this wore Scott down mentally.
We saw this same sort of thing from Toms in the 2002 Ryder Cup singles match against the voluble Sergio Garcia. Garcia was full of hiss and vinegar and antics. Toms was full of game. When they got to the drivable par-4 10th, Garcia went for the green from the tee and left himself a very difficult second. Toms laid back, wedged it in close, made the putt and walked quietly to the next tee with one more hole to the good in his back pocket.
And dont forget what Toms did to Phil Mickelson on the 72nd hole of the PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club in 2001. He laid up on the finishing hole and, as the critics sharpened their knives, he wedged from 88 yards to 12 feet, drained the putt and won his first major championship.
We have seen this sort of thing from Toms before.
Ian Poulter can be excused if he didnt believe what he was seeing in his Saturday semi-final at soggy La Costa against Toms. After squaring the match with a par on the eighth, Toms rifled a 191-yard 5-wood into the breeze on the ninth to less than 5 feet. The birdie putt gave him a lead he wouldnt relinquish.
But Toms was just getting warmed up. On the par-4 10th, he whistled a 123-yard 9-iron that checked up behind the hole and rolled down into the cup for an eagle. Toms followed that with another 5-wood on the 11th, this one from 234 yards that didnt stop until it was resting 2 feet from the hole.
Two holes. Two eagles. Poulter was done.
Could we have seen any of this coming?
Sort of.
At the FBR Open earlier this month, Toms finished fourth despite four double bogeys in 72 holes. He arrived at this event eager after a two-week break. And with the wet, heavy conditions, being fresh on the weekend was paramount.
So, yeah, if I was Tom Lehman and needed to know -- right now -- who my singles ace was, I would have a hard time not penciling in David Toms even ahead of -- risking heresy here -- Tiger Woods.
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