David Toms Press Conference Transcript

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David TomsBank of America Colonial
Colonial Country Club
Fort Worth, Texas
 
May 21, 2003
Pre-Round
 
An Interview With:
 
DAVID TOMS

 
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: David Toms, thanks for joining us. Winning the Wachovia Championship two weeks ago and runner-up last year. Get some comments first about the win at Wachovia and then your feelings about coming back here to the Bank of America Colonial.
 
DAVID TOMS: First of all, my victory a couple weeks ago was really unexpected considering the way I had played so far this year. I kind of was up-and-down. It's nice, gave me some confidence. Moving forward, I had a good week last week and look forward to being back here at the Colonial and getting started tomorrow. Last year I played extremely well until the last five or six holes and made a couple bogeys coming in that hurt my chances. And Nick Price obviously had a good final round. So the golf course is playing much different than I remember it the last few years. Perfect example is I guess the 7th hole today. Obviously it was raining and a little bit of wind was into our face there. And I hit a driver and a 5-iron, hit them both pretty solid. And in years past I remember hitting a driver, if you had enough guts to hit it down there, if you could hit it straight enough and hitting a flip wedge in. So I just thought I would tell you something about the conditions out there and how the golf course is playing different. Number one, I hit -- didn't even think about going for the green in two. I had hit a good drive and still had 255 I think to the front. Which is totally different than normal there. Probably a little bit easier to hit the fairways just because the ball's not rolling near as much. But I would say each hole is probably playing 20 yards longer than it normally plays. Just because of lack of roll, plus a different wind direction. Usually it's out of the south here and today I guess it was out of the north. The golf course played much different. I don't know that it played really any more difficult, because the greens were much more receptive than normal. You could hit the ball in the rough and still stop it on the greens, which is unheard of here. Around this golf course normally. Not really sure to say if it's playing any more difficult or not. It's just playing different than years past.
 
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: We'll take some questions.
 
Q. Is that the thing about this course, obviously it's held up over time. Is that the thing about this course is that it's so unpredictable each day? It's like you don't know which winds are going to happen and such?
 
DAVID TOMS: Yeah. Well, I think that first of all today the golf course played to its truth length. If it's 7,000 yards long it played all of it today. In other years when it's hard and fast it plays short, but tighter. I think that's the mark of a great golf course that it can play different under different conditions. Like I said, I think it's still a difficult golf course even though it's a soft golf course because it's playing much longer and longer clubs into the greens. I don't know how it will affect, how the conditions will affect the scoring. I think they will still probably be pretty similar just because of the added length.
 
Q. In general this year have you -- do you feel the golf course set-ups have been noticeably tougher than in years past?
 
DAVID TOMS: The only -- I wouldn't say the rough's any more difficult or the fairways are any tighter. I know that the pins, they have made a conscious effort to get them closer to the edges. And I made the comment last week to one of the rules officials that I felt bad for the rookies that are out there on Monday and Tuesday and the pins were in the middle of the greens. And they get out there Thursday and they didn't even know there was a green over there where the pin is. So they are using the edges. I don't know, I haven't looked to see how it's affected the scoring average or anything like that. It will make you think twice about going for some of the pins out there.
 
Q. Is that to say that pin placement will make the difference depending on if the weather stays the same or does the weather change it? And the other question to that would be who would it benefit, the short hitters or the longer hitters depending upon the pin placement?
 
DAVID TOMS: The pin placements here, from the way I remember it, is they have always used the edges here. Even the big greens they have always used the corners. So I don't think you're going to see really much of a difference in their pin placements this week as opposed to years past here. And who it benefits? If a guy hits it down the middle and he's accurate player, he can go for some pins. If a guy is a long hitter and he's in the rough, but he's a lot closer to the green, maybe he can still go for the pin. So I don't think that a golf course like this, if you look at the list of champions over the years, I don't think it necessarily plays into anyone's hands. It's just whoever plays the best golf. You got to be able to hit the ball left-to-right, right-to-left, some shots -- you take a shot like 2 and 3 you have to be able to hit the ball high to get it over the trees off the tee on both holes. You take a hole like 11 or a hole like 5 where you can hit the ball low and run it around through the dogleg there. You have to do everything here. There are more than one way to play. There's number 3 you can go over the trees, you can hook it around. Or you can -- there are so many different ways to play this golf course. So I don't think it benefits any type of player at all.
 
Q. I think you're working on three straight top-10s. Is this one of those golf courses that you just feel comfortable on and why is it?
 
DAVID TOMS: I think first of all I've struggled with the golf courses where it doesn't make you hit a particular shot and there are no targets out there to hit at. I struggled last week off the tee because it seems like I always have trouble finding the right targets there and the crosswinds and the way the holes dogleg and so forth. Here I've always felt like I knew what I wanted to do. I had a game plan and how I wanted to play the golf course. Plenty of big trees out there to hit at. I just have always felt comfortable here. You don't have to bomb the ball to get around this golf course. So I've always felt good about it. You can just feel the history here, the tradition. And I like that. So many times now we go to new facilities where it's stadium golf and it's built for this big production golf tournament, and here it just feels like, hey, we came in to play a golf tournament here and this place, they don't change it. And I like that. And like you said, I've played well here in the past.
 
Q. I guess there's been some talk about possibly changing the TOUR bylaws as far as making it male only. Could you speak to that both as a member of the policy board and personally what you think about that.
 
DAVID TOMS: What I think about changing it? I don't know why we would change it. I think we have never had a problem. That I know of. If you think this week is a problem, I don't see it as a problem. It's just -- I don't know if this -- is this the future? Maybe if this happens more, if guys don't think it's the right thing and as a whole the TOUR decides we need to take action, then maybe we will. But for now I don't see this as a negative. We'll see where it goes from here. This is just a one -- to me it looks like a one week thing and depending upon how everything goes we'll see. Maybe. As of right now I just don't see a need to make, take any action whatsoever.
 
Q. Given that it is a one week thing, does the atmosphere seem different than the normal week to week?
 
DAVID TOMS: Well this room's bigger than it normally is. I don't think so. I haven't even laid eyes on her this week. I can see there's off in the distance there's a big gallery over there, so I know where she is, but it seems like the Colonial to me. I'm here to play in a golf tournament and try to win. And she's one of the players I'm going to have to beat to win. To me her presence doesn't -- maybe it changes the media focus but from a player's perspective it doesn't change my focus on what I'm trying to do.
 
Q. Even though you haven't seen her can you take a stab at what kind of pressure she's going to be feeling this week?
 
DAVID TOMS: Well first of all it's what pressure she puts on herself. Because she proven herself that she's a great golfer. She's dominated her tour. Maybe she wants to see how she stacks up against us and I just am sure she's feeling a lot of pressure, but she's putting it on herself and wanting to perform well. I do that all the time. Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes it's tough to overcome that. We'll see. I know that she's won big tournaments, she's won a lot of golf tournaments, and she obviously handles the pressure very well. It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow.
 
Q. You talked about the weather and how that does or doesn't play in to certain golfers styles. Annika is going to have to hit longer clubs even if the conditions were good to get to the greens. So would the weather affect her differently than it might others?
 
DAVID TOMS: Probably so. But it will make it easier to stop those longer clubs on the greens. When it's hard and fast around here you've got to be able to spin the ball. You've got to be able to create a lot of speed through the ball to get that back spin that you need. So I don't really know. Not knowing her game, how that's going to affect her. I know it's going to be -- the golf course is playing a lot longer. So if it's, if she's going to struggle with that part of it, as far as the distance factor, if that's going to be what holds her back from playing well, then she might struggle with it. If it's not something that will be that big of a deal, then maybe being able to stop the longer clubs into the greens maybe that will be a good thing. I just don't know enough about her game to be able to comment.
 
Q. There's some kidding going on not wanting to get beat by her and that. Do you think that's legitimate or do you think when it comes down to it guys will grind a little harder to stay ahead of her?
 
DAVID TOMS: I don't like to get beat by anybody. That's what motivates me. That's what makes me want to win. That's what makes me feel like a failure when I don't win. No matter how I finish. How far money you make. To be beat by a woman, I don't know that it really matters. She's another player in this field. That hasn't even entered my mind at all. Would I try extra hard on my last putt because she's tied with me? No. I give a hundred percent all the time. It's a good question. I don't know how the rest of the guys feel about it. Me personally, I wouldn't, you know, if she plays good then and she beats me, then so be it.
 
Q. You were talking earlier about this whole idea of her being here and we have heard Vijay's comments, I'm sure you've heard about them. And to a lesser degree Nick Price talked about her appearance on the publicity. Do you have any problems yourself with her being here today in this week?
 
DAVID TOMS: I don't have any problems. I said it before. It doesn't affect me in any way. How does it affect me? It doesn't. Does it affect the last guy that would have been in this field with a sponsor exemption or a whatever his category is? You know maybe that's the guy that would have an opinion on it. To me it doesn't affect me in any way. I haven't seen her, like I said. I have not. So I don't know. She's obviously good enough to where people think that she can contribute something to this field. I don't think they just go out and I know a few years ago when they gave Mark Rypien a spot in Kemper. I mean he's never proven himself on a golf course. That had some negative implications. You're talking about a world class golfer that nobody knows how she's going to do until she tees it up tomorrow. And so I wish her about luck.
 
Q. Not so long ago you had said you weren't in the same league as a couple other players on the TOUR, Tiger, Ernie. What league do you consider yourself in now? Is the gap closing for your self?
 
DAVID TOMS: Well, I guess I'm playing in the same league. I'm not in the AAA ball club here. I've always said there are a handful of players that are gifted, that are physically better, have more talent, are able to hit shots that other players aren't able to hit. I would say I'm right below that group. When I'm playing well, and they're playing good, I can compete. I'm just talking about over a career. Or over a long span of a year or two or three years. Those guys are just, they're going to have their success. No matter what. Even if they don't play great golf. That's just because they're better. And for me personally, I would -- when I'm having a really good week like I had my week in Charlotte I can compete with anybody. But the weeks where I am just a little bit off, I'm a step below the guys that I referred to.
 
Q. The question about whether the policy board might consider going to an all male ruling, has this been a buzz that has been going around just recently since the Sorenstam thing? Had it been talked about before when Suzy Whaley qualified? When did kind of this talk start?
 
DAVID TOMS: It hasn't really been talked about at all until recently. And it's -- when the policy board votes to change anything, it's a huge process. We have a 16 player advisory council that gets feedback from the membership. It's not all of a sudden four guys and then four other independent people sit down with the commissioner and say, okay, this is the best thing for the TOUR. It's a process. And it takes time and a lot goes into it. So we don't just all of a sudden say one day, 'Okay, we don't want any women to play our TOUR any more, let's change it.' It doesn't work that way. So I think this week will give us a lot of feedback on what the future might hold. And where do we go from here. And then guys will talk about it from a membership and then it will be going to the advisory council and makes recommendations to the policy board that I'm on and we go from there.
 
Q. Whereabouts is it in that process right now?
 
DAVID TOMS: It's not anywhere.
 
Q. Not anywhere. Okay.
 
DAVID TOMS: No.
 
Q. Does it ever get wet enough that you would consider wearing metal spikes? Or are you exclusively alternative spikes?
 
DAVID TOMS: I don't know. These are -- I've got a lot of knobs on the bottom of these shoes to help me stay put. And now days nobody's wearing the really long metal spikes anyway. So for me the benefit with what I wear as far as what it does for my legs and my feet at the end of the day, I don't consider wearing them. I might slip here or there, but in the end I think I make up for it in the fact that I'm my shoes aren't near as heavy and not as hard on my feet.
 
Q. You mentioned earlier that there may be some reasons why you might exclude or change the policies. In your own mind what would those be?
 
DAVID TOMS: Excuse me, now say that again I'm sorry.
 
Q. You had said earlier that there may be some reasons why you may change the policy and exclude women at some point down the road. What would those reasons be?
 
DAVID TOMS: Do you not think that the atmosphere this week is some sort of somewhat of a circus-type deal? There is a lot of stuff going on here from a media standpoint, a security standpoint, a lot of things going on that we don't normally deal with, that we don't have to deal with. Would we, would our staff, would the players that play this TOUR, that have dedicated all their time to this TOUR, would they want to do that every week and have to field questions that we have had to field for the last three months? Would they want to have to do that all the time? Who knows. I don't know. If it's -- if that's the future of our sport, of the PGA TOUR, and then it's -- and everybody thinks that that's okay, then we don't have to do anything. If we don't, if we think that this is not the direction we need to go and we need to take action, then we'll vote on it. But to me what do you see? Well I just don't -- this week I think is just a one time thing. And if it's not, and we need to look to the future and see what we need to do, or maybe we don't do anything. Maybe if that is the future and that's the way everything's going, then we just let it go. I don't know.
 
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: David Toms. Thank you.
 
DAVID TOMS: Okay.