David Toms hopes to finish 2023 like he has started it
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No. 1 on Charles Schwab Cup standings with two wins in last three starts
Written by Bob McClellan @ChampionsTour
David Toms, 56, entered the 2023 PGA TOUR Champions season with two wins in 119 starts.
Now, after just five events, he has doubled his career win total and sits atop the Charles Schwab Cup standings for the first time.
Toms began March with a win at the Cologuard Classic and closed out the month with a wire-to-wire victory at the inaugural Galleri Classic. In 15 rounds this year he has yet to shoot worse than 70, and his final-round scoring average is a tidy 67.2.
David Toms cruises to victory at Galleri Classic
To what does Toms attribute the best start of his PGA TOUR Champions career? Honestly, nothing. He’s not here to overanalyze what’s going right. The Louisiana native just wants to keep everything moving in that direction.
“I can't really put my finger on anything,” Toms said. “I made some timely putts obviously in Tucson. I made a big putt to finish the round on Saturday, and then Sunday to make another one to win the tournament just kind of gave me a little more confidence, a little more self-belief, I guess. I felt like if the putter started feeling a little bit better, and I started making some, that kind of just carries over to everything else. You start getting excited about hitting shots into the green feeling like you can make the putts.
“I think that's been a difference. I mean, it's not like I’m just putting lights out or anything, but I've made some putts to keep the rounds going. I've made some to win golf tournaments. I made some, you know, whether it's a 25- or 30-footer to get a round going, things like that, and it just kind of happened.”
Toms ranks 12th in total driving, 10th in greens in regulation and sixth in putting average. He’s doing a little bit of everything right.
But as Toms said in an interview with Golf Channel after winning The Galleri Classic, it’s nice to be in the mix for the Charles Schwab Cup, and he hopes to be able to say the same come October. His best finish in the season-long points race is sixth; for a player of his PGA TOUR pedigree (13 wins including a major), it’s fair to believe more was expected of Toms on the Champions Tour.
The thing is, while he loves to compete, he’s not going to grind to win a Charles Schwab Cup. Priorities change when you’re a father of two in your mid-50s. His daughter starts at LSU, his alma mater, in the fall, and he’ll be there for move-in weekend. He’s also a season ticket holder for LSU football, for which he noted “I pay a small fortune.” He loves going to Tigers games, and he’s as likely to attend a game in Death Valley as he is to tee it up.
“I haven't really grinded it real hard as far as the schedule goes. I'm sure there'll be a few tournaments that I will not be going to, so when I do play, I need to play well,” Toms said. “And I don't think it's any more than just a good start so far, honestly.
“You know, there are some big tournaments coming up. We have major championships coming up. We have tournaments that I like where I've played well in the past, and I’ve just got to stay focused on what I'm doing … Stay confident and go out there and know that, you know, if I play well, I'll have a chance each week.
“It's nice to get a couple of wins early in the season. But it's nothing more than that. It's just a good start.”
Toms said he made no offseason equipment changes. He said he didn’t work on any particular part of his game or do anything out of the ordinary. It all has just come together, for whatever reason, like it had yet to do during his time since turning 50. Maybe it just took this long to get adjusted to life on a new tour.
“I didn't know what it would all be like,” Toms said. “How well guys still played, how far guys hit the ball. How well they still putt it, how good they are with the short game. How much guys practiced and dedicated themselves to the game. You know, I really didn't know. But once you get out there and you see it all and see how guys prepare and take care of themselves and what they do to get ready for golf tournaments and how they approach it … I mean, it's difficult. It's difficult to win.
“It's obviously a sprint -- a lot of tournaments, you're playing three rounds instead of four. So there's an adjustment period there. But honestly, I just felt like I haven't played great. I mean, I've had good spurts and I've had good tournaments, but as far as far as my overall game, I don't think I've really put it together until recently. It’s not that I don't prepare myself, or I haven't worked at it, or I haven't tried to keep myself in shape or focus on golf or anything like that. It took me a little while on the regular TOUR when I first got out there, and maybe that's what's going on. I really don't know. I'm not trying to figure it out. I'm just going to play golf tournaments and I’m excited to go play the next one. If I get into contention in the next month or so, I feel pretty good about our chances just because I know I can do it.”