A rough weekend has David Toms looking for answers before the U.S. Open. (Lyons/Getty Images)
By Don Wade, Special to PGATOUR.COM
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Once, David Toms was the master of the TPC Southwind course at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Well, actually, twice. Toms won the event back-to-back in 2003-2004.
But on Sunday, he shot a 4-over 74 and finished with a 2-over 282. He had five bogeys or worse, and blew up on the 17th hole with a triple-bogey 7. It was not what he was looking for heading into the U.S. Open, where a year ago he tied for fourth at Olympic.
Toms, 46, said he wasn’t shocked that he struggled here this weekend because it has been a long time since he wore the FedEx St. Jude Classic's seersucker jacket.
“I haven’t played that great here the last few years,” he said. “It’s not that surprising to be honest.”
Toms did not putt poorly this weekend, but he hit just 41 of 72 greens (56.9 percent). And hit just 29 of 56 fairways (51.8 percent). It’s been a challenging year for Toms, but with the highlight of a T13 finish at the Masters Tournament.
For his career, Toms has three top-five finishes at the U.S. Open. So he’s certainly not counting himself out at Merion and was happy to at least get his work in here this week.
“Just playing, being competitive, making the cut (his seventh in 11 events this season), playing four rounds,” he said.
Although he was inconsistent at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, only breaking par with a 3-under 67 in round one, he says that has little to no bearing on what happens at Merion.
“Sure, you’d like to win,” he said, “but it’s not that big of a deal. The U.S. Open is a different animal. Hopefully, I’ll get some bounces, get up and down.”
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Fortunately for David Toms, his first few holes of the day wasn't any indication of how his opening round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic would go.
Toms three-putted the 10th hole after starting on the back nine, birdied his next and made another bogey, on No. 11.
"I wasn't in control of my first nine holes," Toms said. "I made a couple birdies but hit some wayward shots. My last nine I played great."
Toms made three birdies in a four-hole stretch at one point and shot 3-under 67, leaving him near the lead after the first round at TPC Southwind.
"The short game is a little bit tougher around the greens now with the greens being firmer, bermuda, you can't just fire your chips at the hole and they stop," Toms said. "You really have to pay attention and the rough is up in places, other places, you know, it's fine, but there's some thick areas that you don't want to be in, so overall it's a very demanding golf course."
Toms is looking for his third career win at the event. He won there in 2003 and 2004.
"I would take (2 under) every day," he said. "I just feel good about the way I finished up today, the way I played the last 9 holes. I need to build on that, get some confidence and hopefully continue to play great."
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
It's been an up-and-down year for Dustin Johnson, who won the season-opener in Hawaii but has battled a bad back in recent weeks. Maybe a return to Memphis will help his ails. Last year, Johnson won the FedEx St. Jude Classic in what was just his second start in three months.
Below is a closer look at Johnson's group for the first two rounds of this year's tournament and a few others to keep an eye on. Let us know what your favorite group is in the comments section (click here for all tee times).
Dustin Johnson-Brandt Snedeker-Davis Love III: As mentioned, Johnson is the defending champion but he comes in rusty. He missed the cut last week at Muirfield Village and has made just two starts since April. Snedeker, meanwhile, is the defending FedExCup champion but is also coming off a missed cut. Love, meanwhile, finished third in Memphis last year. They'll tee off at 1:27 p.m. ET on Thursday and 8:27 a.m. on Friday.
Billy Horschel-Russell Henley-John Merrick: Horschel has cooled since his meteoric stretch of four straight top 10s, which included his first career win. Merrick, meanwhile, has broken 70 in seven of his last eight rounds at TPC Southwind and finished second and 11th there the last two years. Henley is coming off a tie for sixth at Muirfield Village. They'll tee off at 1:36 p.m. ET on Thursday and 8:36 a.m. ET Friday.
Phil Mickelson-D.A. Points-Padraig Harrington: Harrington likes to play the week before a major; Mickelson does, too, at least this year. Points has been feast or famine this year with a win and a runner-up to go with eight missed cuts in 17 starts. They'll tee off at 8:27 a.m. ET on Thursday and 1:27 p.m. Friday.
Boo Weekley-Ian Poulter-David Toms: Weekley is coming off his first victory in five years after winning at Colonial. Poulter and Toms have each missed their last two cuts on TOUR, though Toms has won twice before in Memphis. They'll tee off at 8:36 a.m. ET on Thursday and 1:36 p.m. on Friday.
SUNDAY: Stay tuned for Billy Horschel's winner's press conference.
All interviews will be streamed on PGATOUR.COM.
Tuesday, April 23
Guan Tianlang, 3 p.m. ET
Wednesday, April 24
Jason Dufner, 10 a.m. ET
Justin Rose, 3:30 p.m. ET
Bubba Watson, after pro-am
MARANA, Ariz. -- The match didn't get off to the best of starts as Nick Watney and David Toms halved their first two holes with bogeys.
Watney got untracked with a birdie at the fourth hole, though, and never trailed on the way to a 5-and-4 victory over the 2005 champion, who had also reached the title match in 2003. Watney went on to win the eighth, 11th and 13th holes with birdies and the 12th with a par to build the 5-up lead.
"There was definitely some sloppy points for both of us, but I'm very happy to get a win," Watney said. "I have a ton of respect for DT, and it's ... always nice to get a win at this tournament. It's a world golf event, and you can't win them all if you don't win the first one, so I'm happy with the way everything went."
Watney has reached the third round each of the last three years. He'll play another former champion in Steve Stricker in Friday's second match.
"Strick is really tough," Watney said. "He's never out of a hole. He's such a great putter, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, too. I know it's going to be tough, and I'm excited."
Watney said his short game was the key on Thursday whereas normally his ball-striking has carried him through. "So I'm real excited about that, just because that's been where I've been loose a little bit at times," Watney said. "If I can keep that sharp and hit the ball a little cleaner, then things could be good."
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
Here are some equipment news and notes from around the golf world this weekend:
Lee Westwood tests out new Ping G25 driver
Mickelson finished T-37 at 17-under.Jason Dufner switches to Scotty Cameron GoLo putter
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- David Toms said he wasn't completely surprised when the PGA of America recently announced that Tom Watson would serve as the U.S. Ryder Cup captain for the second time in his career.
The 46-year-old Toms, who won the 2001 PGA, was among the potential candidates and he confirmed he had some general discussions with the PGA before the announcement. Ted Bishop, who is the president of the PGA, later called Toms to let him know the organization's decision.
And Toms said he was "fine" with it.
"Obviously, I would like to be the captain some day, but at this point in my career this is probably for the better for me personally and so I wish them well," Toms said. "I know that they will have a great team and have a great captain and I'm just hoping to get my game in good enough shape to be a part of that."
That's hardly out of the realm of possibility for Toms, who had five top-10s last year and finished second at The McGladrey Classic in his final start of the season. One of those top-10s came at the Humana Challenge in partnership wih the Clinton Foundation where he is making his 2013 debut this week.
That said, Toms knows the PGA TOUR is deeper that it was two decades ago when he turned pro. He has only to think back to Sunday when PGA TOUR rookie Russell Henley won the Sony Open in Hawaii in record fashion.
Of course, a case can be made for experience. But Toms knows he and the other fortysomethings need to take advantage of their chances when they arise.
"As far as somebody my age that can still win out here, guys do it every year," said Toms, who won his 13th PGA TOUR event in 2011. "It's just you probably don't have as many opportunities to do it. So it's not like on a weekly basis you see the older guys compete every single week. ...
"I think that's good for the TOUR, where you have a little bit of a mix, you have some old guys sprinkled in that everybody knows who they are and then you have the new guys that are young and play great golf that make a name for themselves."
Toward that end, the Louisiana native is developing the David Toms Academy that will open later this year in Shreveport, where he makes his home. It's a unique practice facility that will feature a nine-hole par-3 course, eight greens dedicated to chipping and putting, a driving range that spans 118 acres at various hitting angles and three regulation holes (par 3, 4 and 5).
The academy will also be known as "265" -- which refers to his winning score in 2001 at Atlanta Athletic Club, which remains the lowest aggregate total in major championship history. He shot the same score in winning first and his most recent PGA TOUR events.
Toms hopes the facility, which is being built on a 65-acre tract of land located just off a major thoroughfare in the center of Shreveport, will serve 400 young people each year. The academy will be affiliated with The First Tee of Northwest Lousiana. Once it's operational, private memberships will also be accepted so the academy will be self-sustaining.
"My motivation was, number one, we have a lot of kids in our area that are very good players, world class players at their age, and to give them the opportunity to really excel in the game and develop their skills to get to the next level," Toms said. "... And to impact the kids in our area that aren't exposed to golf. And there's quite a few of them.
"Baseball and football, as you can imagine, are really big in our area. And to take some of those athletes, expose them to the game, and see if we can turn out the next TOUR players. So I think it will be a great experience for everybody once it's finished."
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: This year will be Davis Toms' 24th on the PGA TOUR, and the soon-to-be 46-year-old has shown no signs of slowing down -- other than each fall to watch his beloved LSU Tigers play football. He managed five top 10s last year, including the 15th runner-up finish of his career, despite his scoring average falling just over a stroke and his GIR dropping four percentage points. Shore that up in 2013 and Toms knows how to win.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Toms came close to his 14th PGA TOUR victory when he closed with a 63 at Sea Island as he chased Tommy Gainey at The McGladrey Classic. Interestingly, Toms' final round scoring average ranked third on TOUR while his overall mark was 77th. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: David turns 46 in January and shows few signs of an eroding golf game. He won $1.6 million last year. David has never been a big hitter and I think that is actually a benefit as he ages. Other players have a hard time adjusting to a lack of length but Toms has never been long and has always found a way to score. Toms is a future Ryder Cup Captain. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: Will turn 46 before his first tee ball is aloft in 2013. Dipped below 20 starts for the first time in 2012, so we must adjust immediately. Interestingly, made only five starts after the U.S. Open but didn't cite injury as cause for a pair of mini-sabbaticals. Still nabbed five top 10s, however, proving that he can still pick his spots. Returned from his second break to finish second at The McGladrey Classic. Might be evolving into the Bruce Lietzke of his generation. Coincidentally, both have 13 career victories. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finish||2nd||The McGladrey Classic|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 13
Rounds played: 58
Top-10 finishes: 5
Money List rank: 47th
Driving distance: 184th
Driving accuracy: 6th
Greens in regulation: 74th
Strokes gained-putting: 118th
Scoring average: 77th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN What is your prediction for David Toms in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know
David Toms withdrew from the Deutsche Bank Championship on Tuesday, leaving the field at 98 for the second event of the FedExCup Playoffs. Sergio Garcia withdrew from the tournament last week.
Toms withdrew to spend time with his family. At 89th in the FedExCup standings , Toms will not make the 70-player field at next week's BMW Championship, ending his bid to make the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola for the second year in a row.
Toms missed six weeks of action after tweaking his back in mid-June, then returned to finish tied for eighth in the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. He missed the cut in last week's Playoffs opener at The Barclays.