What they said: David Tomstext sizeMay 09, 2012
PGA TOUR staff
MORE INTERVIEWS: THE PLAYERS Championship transcript archive
COLIN MURRAY: We'd like to welcome David Toms to the interview room here at THE PLAYERS Championship.
David, you're making your 20th appearance this week, coming off a runner-up finish last year. Maybe just talk about your year-to-date in 2012 and thoughts about being here at TPC Sawgrass, and then we'll go to questions.
DAVID TOMS: First of all, I guess on the year so far, it's been a little slow for me. No reason in particular. I just haven't scored that well. I think only one Top-10 so far.
But I've got some good tournaments coming up, including this one this week, and tournaments where I've played well, and it will be a nice time to get the game going a little bit.
As far as the golf course, the golf tournament this year, the golf course is in wonderful shape. It's a little bit softer the last couple of days than what it was when we left here last year it seemed like. Still in great shape. The greens are as good as any bermudagreens I've ever seen.
So I'm sure you'll see a lot of putts made this week, if guys can get it into position. Should be a fun week. Looks like it might cool off a little bit which would be nice. It's been pretty warm out there the last couple mornings, and looking forward to having a good week. Certainly a lot of things will have to go well to get back in the position I was last year. But I think I can play the golf course well. The last few years I've seemed to play it a little bit better than earlier in my career. Maybe showing a little bit more patience on a golf course where you have to do that, and I look forward to the week.
Q. How important was it for you emotionally and mentally a year ago to leave here and then the very next week go back and win? Did that kind of help put the disappointment of this last year's tournament, did it kind of give you some separation?
DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I think so. But you know, I've been out here long enough to have a lot of disappointments in golf. I mean, certainly, if you're a player that you feel like you can win on any given week if you play your best game, I mean, and that's what your goals are, you're disappointed an awful lot.
So I've learned to deal with it over the years. And certainly last year, what I took away from the week was that I played really well on a golf course that was very tough that can get you at any moment. So I stayed patient, stayed in the game, hit the shots that I needed to, made some good putts.
It didn't work out, but I just took the confidence away that I was playing well, and I went next week and played great. In fact, I had an outing on Monday right after I lost in the playoff Sunday. I had an outing in Dallas on Monday and then went straight into preparing for a new week. It wasn't like I went home for a couple of weeks and had to think about what happened. It was nice to get right back in there and play well again.
Q. Considering your season to this point and the fact that you played so well here last year, do you look at this week as an opportunity to kind of kick start the season??
DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I think so. I mean, certainly it would be a good time. It's one of the best tournaments we play all year, a lot of prestige, all the great players are here, and a great course and a great purse.
It would be a good time to start playing well. I feel like I've been close at times this year. I've played a lot of good rounds, just not a lot of good tournaments. So this is a place where you need to put all four together, and I feel like I can play it well. It's not an overly long golf course. I mean, it's actually pretty short compared to some of the ones we play, so that's not a problem.
Just you've got to go out there and hit the shots and make the putts and have that big up-and-down to keep rounds going. There are a lot of bad spots on this golf course, and you just need to stay away from them.
Q. What advice would you give to first-timers, considering the magnitude of this event??
DAVID TOMS: I think the best advice would be to focus on where you want to hit the ball and not get caught up in all the other stuff that's around you, because there's a lot of bad things that can happen to decent golf shots.
So I think that if you really stay into hitting the right club off the tee, not being too aggressive when you don't need to be, and making a lot of pars. Certainly there are birdie holes out there that you have to take advantage, but there are a lot of holes where par is a good score. I think patience is something that you just have to have this week.
So those first-timers, I mean, a lot of times, that's not a bad thing, because you don't know where all of the bad spots are until you get into them.
So experience is a good thing, only if you use it to your advantage. That's for sure.
Q. This year the pattern has been, guys were leading after three rounds but had difficulty holding. It's actually going back four or five years, it's been less than 50 percent. And on this course, you and K.J. came from behind, and that's been the pattern here, 10 of the last 12 winners came from behind on Sunday. Why do you think the trend on the TOUR is that it's difficult to close and hold those leads, and why is it so tough on this course, or why does it seem to be so tough on this course??
DAVID TOMS: First of all, the later in the day, the harder the golf course gets, the firmer the greens, the firmer the fairways. It seems like we always get that afternoon wind. Just the last few groups, it's always hard to really score. And so that's why I think you see some guys come from behind.
And then there's just so many pressure shots when you're trying to play with the lead here where, like I said, a lot of bad things can happen to decent golf shots. I think just going through that hole after hole after hole, knowing that any time you can hit a bad shot and make a double-bogey, that's a lot of pressure to play with. I think guys that come from behind are just a little free-wheeling it just a little bit more. It's just one of those courses, it's hard to play with the lead.
Q. Is it easier a little bit to come back? Have the rules guys backed off in any way on the pin positions and things like that on Sunday in the last couple of years? A couple of guys think it has and a couple guys say there's not much difference. Could that be a reason a lot of guys are rallying?
DAVID TOMS: Like I said, when the greens get firm, if the wind is up a little bit and you have some of the tight pins, it's tough to get to.
You know, whether or not-- I haven't paid a whole lot of attention to what they are doing on Sundays with pin placements. There are always some pins that you know are going to be tough. There's others that maybe they want to see some excitement and a chance for an eagle here or there or whatever.
But you still, I mean, when you have-- the way this golf course is designed, even if you have a pin that you can get close to if you hit the shot; the problem is that you don't hit the shot, what the penalty is. So if you play aggressive enough to get the second shot close enough on the par5, or one of the par 4s, and you don't hit the shot and you short-side yourself, it can be very difficult to make par and you can make double fairly quick. And that's the way most of this golf course is.
That's why you hit the shot, you've got a chance to get close and you've got a chance to make a lot of birdies. But at the same time, if you don't pull it off, it can be very penal. I think that's why you see that. Even guys that are playing well; they have the lead on Sunday, to try to hold it, if you start playing away and playing to the middle, then you get these putts that are difficult.
So you just definitely have to pick your battles for sure.
Q. It's a course that any kind of player can win, so how much more fun is that to play where you have a broader number of people that can win? No.2 question, to change the subject a little bit, without aging you, this afternoon Davis Love is doing an autograph session as the captain of The Ryder Cup Team. Have you given any thought where you want to be in the queue? Do you want to be a captain of the team? I'd like to know where you stand on that.
DAVID TOMS: To the first question, I wish we could play something like this every week. If you did, would it be the same group of guys that would be at the top all the time? That would be interesting to see. I guess everyone would have a different opinion on that. I think the best players would figure out a way to play a golf course like this every week.
But it would certainly be more fun for a guy that's 45 years old that doesn't hit it very far to play something like this every week; to where it brings, you know, more people into it. Certainly would be more fun for me. Other people might say different.
The Ryder Cup I think would be one of the highest honors in my life and my golfing life to be a captain of a team; either team, Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup. To me, it's a great honor and something that-- just being part of a team. Even as a captain, you're part of it and you're a big part of it. That's something I enjoy, playing on those teams. It's some of the biggest highlights in my career.
I always say, when you've had a taste of that and you don't make the teams, you know what you're missing, and so you want to be a part of it.
Certainly, I don't know where I fit into that mix. I'm hoping to have a shot at it at some point. I'd like to play on another team. That would be fun. But got to rally a little bit in order to make one. I just think it would be special to play on another one. But certainly, I'm hoping to at least have a chance to be a captain someday.
Q. Another question about coming back here. How many fish have you caught since you've gotten here??
DAVID TOMS: (Laughing.) Did you see a picture of me doing it the other day? It was funny, I was over getting some clubs regripped I think over by one of the vans and they happened to be over there and had a fishing pole in back of one of the vans, and I grabbed it and went out and caught a couple of fish.
Guys are doing it. I looked out this morning and a bunch of guys had already been out early this morning catching fish. It's just a nice release from all the pressure that we face weekly.
And also, I don't know if you walked around the golf course much, but as player, you get out there, and when there's a lot of people, you feel like you're in a fishbowl, and everybody's just kind of staring at you and wanting to get into your world. And that's great. That's what makes our sport popular.
But at the same time, when you're able to go out and fish a little bit, or do anything like that, a hobby, especially the week of a golf tournament, it's just nice to get away. It's something I do at home anyway. I have a 2 1/2, 3-acre pond in my backyard and I fish all the time anyway. It's something I enjoy doing.
Q. In your practice, have you played 17 again??
DAVID TOMS: Yes.
Q. Any thoughts when you got there, or was it just another day, another round? And when you went up on the green, did you look at that area of the green?
DAVID TOMS: I hit some putts down there, because I think they raised the right side a little bit, not quite as much slope. At least that's what they said in the green sheet. Still looks like it's a pretty good slope. Wanted to see if there was a difference over there. I guess they have done that on a few holes where they have raised a couple areas.
No, I've always done a good job of putting those, so to speak, failures in the past, on a weekly basis, much less coming back a year later. To be quite honest, what I did last year has nothing to do with what takes place tomorrow morning. I have to go out and prove it to myself and play those holes, that I can do it again and try to get right back in the mix.
A lot of things have to go right, on any given week, for you to have a chance to win. You know, that will be no different this week.
Q. I'd like to ask you about the par3s on the back nine, the 13th and 17th; strategically, how do you approach them? Do you look at one as more of a birdie hole than the other?
DAVID TOMS: I think it has a lot to do with pin placement, wind, what the wind is doing, what the conditions are at the time as to what you might try to get close to and what you back off.
Even if it's an accessible pin, if you're in-between clubs you might not feel comfortable with it and you'll just play to the center of the green.
The problem is, both places, if you play conservative, you can get one of those putts that's very difficult to 2-putt. You're just hoping you catch the right wind and the right club and that you're able to be aggressive and hit a good shot.
What I do like about both of those holes is they are very different than what we seem to play out on TOUR week-to-week. It seems like we play a lot of shots well over 200 yards on a normal week, and I hit quite a few hybrid-type clubs into par 3s. And other than the 8th hole here, you know, the par3s are such that if you hit the shot, you can have birdie opportunities, if you're able to hit some good iron shots. That's a nice change of pace for me.
Q. Do you like where 17 is in the rotation? There's been some talk about some players would prefer it earlier in the round, or do you think it's better positioned as a strategic hole later in the round?
DAVID TOMS: I just approach it that it is what it is. It's the 17th hole. It's an island green. A lot can happen. I think it's great for this tournament, for the fan base. Maybe not great for the players having to play it late in a round or trying to win a golf tournament, because there's really no bail-out room.
I think it creates a lot of buzz for this event, and you know, I just approach it that way. You've got to go play the hole four times, and hopefully you hit good shots.
COLIN MURRAY: David, thanks for your time. Play well this week.