Toms Speaks Out on Augusta


The words came quietly and in a measured way from David Toms, a measured and respected member of the PGA Tour. The format was a Tuesday conference call moderated by a PGA Tour media official.
One of the subjects was the Masters and Augusta National, the club that hosts the event.
The question to Toms was this: If you were to have an audience with (Masters chairman) Hootie (Johnson) this afternoon and he says that you can change one thing about Augusta National, your answer would be?.
TOMS: .so many rules.
Q: What do you mean by that?
TOMS: Well, to me its still a place where the players walk around on eggshells, and you know, not knowing if they are in the right place; they are worried about their cell phones being on; having to stop by the little place, the hut on the way in, to scan your ticket; to making sure you only have one parking pass and somebody else doesnt get in there; to making sure that the wrong person doesnt get your pass and get thrown in jail trying to sell it to somebody else; to not signing autographs in certain spots or not asking for an autograph in a certain spot; or sitting down at the table too long. Its just one thing after another. Its like, you know, the only place all year where the players dont feel like they are the most important thing there. Thats the way I see it and I dont think that Im the single opinion on that..
FOLLOW-UP QUESTION: You mentioned stopping by the hut to scan the ticket; did you guys (players) have to do that?
TOMS: Yeah, when you pull in the parking lot you go by this little hut on the way in to scan your ticket. I dont even know what its all about. Its like CIA stuff, you know what I mean. I dont know, to me its just uncalled for. Its not, you know, you cant have your instructor here, youve got a major championship and you cant have your instructor walk down the fairway with you to prepare for the golf tournament. You know, its just one thing after another. Its like the book of rules and I just think its a little over the top, thats all Ill say..
To all of that, I will add this:
David Toms is not a Bolshevik, a rabble-rouser. He is not a chronic whiner. He is a former member of the PGA Tour Policy Board. And every time he talks, about anything, I pay attention. He is also a Louisianan and a tireless supporter of the victims of Hurricane Katrina. He is a giver, not a taker.
David Toms once shot 29 on the back nine at a Masters but he has also missed the cut at the last three.
I have covered nine Masters in person and have found the people who work at Augusta National, especially those in the media center, to be tireless, efficient and unfailingly polite.
I have also found the people that run the tournament to be, most times, not interested in suggestions from the outside on how to make their tournament better.
When I called Masters spokesman Glenn Greenspan Tuesday, he had not seen or heard Toms remarks. He thanked me for apprising him of the situation and said: We definitely would have no comment on that.
So, life will go on.
The Masters will continue to enchant us and remain the most famous golf tournament on the planet. David Toms will remain one of the best and most responsible players on the PGA Tour.
Whether Toms was right or wrong in his opinions is a matter of opinion. I respect his courage in speaking out.
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