David Toms (Media Center)
BETH MAJOR: Good afternoon again from the Olympic Club, 2012 U.S. Open. We're happy to have with us David Toms who opened with a 1‑under 69 today. Request you talk about your round today, how you found the course.
DAVID TOMS: I thought the golf course was set up pretty nicely, actually. I think if somebody ‑‑ well, you saw 4‑under par today, so obviously you can score on the golf course the way it was set up. They had a couple of tees moved up. The ball was chasing out, so it wasn't playing that long. It was just very, very difficult to get the ball in the fairway.
So if you can't do that, then you can't attack the pins that are close to the edges. For me 1‑under par was obviously a great round of golf. My short game was good today, my up and down game. I scored probably better than I played. I couldn't seem to find the fairways early and some way I just scrambled around and made a lot of pars and started to hit the ball better, get the ball in the fairway.
And I had some scoring opportunities and took advantage of it. Other holes where I had to hang in there on some of the tough holes I was able to do that today. And 1‑under par was a good day.
BETH MAJOR: When you were playing your practice rounds, did you feel like this was a course you could play fairly well at?
DAVID TOMS: Yeah, because you have to move the ball quite a bit of holes left‑to‑right, which is something that I don't purposely do, it just happens. And the ball is chasing out. So it's not too long for me. Maybe some of the longer hitters have to throttle back a little bit to get the ball in the fairway, so it just evens everybody out. I felt like I could play the golf course well.
There are enough tough shots out there with you have to do it. No matter how you feel about your game, no matter how you're swinging, it's tough. So it weighs on you the whole time so you have to be really focused. I was certainly that today.
Q. Big difference starting at 1 as opposed to 9 on this golf course?
DAVID TOMS: You know, it didn't seem to be that big a difference today because when we started on the 9th hole it was fairly cold and it was a pretty tough tee shot to start off with and right‑to‑left on a hole. The wind was in right‑to‑left with the fairway sloping right‑to‑left and the hole doglegs to the right.
So 9, to me, was a lot tougher tee shot than the first whole. They had the first hole moved up today. I hit driver, 8‑iron to the first hole. So to me overall as far as a starting hole the way we started this morning, I think the 9th hole was a tougher starting hole than No. 1.
But you had to play all the holes sooner or later. And that first six holes is a tough stretch, no matter when you play them. Maybe today because I was warmed up and playing pretty solid already, I guess I was under par when I turned to go to the front side to play those first six holes, maybe I had some momentum. They didn't seem too bad because I hit a lot of quality shots on those holes. In fact I birdied the 4th hole.
Q. You mentioned about the big hitters and levelling things out a little bit. Obviously you won your major on a really long golf course, but when you come to a Major like this, it's 7100 yards, how much more competitive are you in this environment as opposed to those big courses and is it a matter of you can play more your game or the big hitters coming back to you?
DAVID TOMS: Well, I think I feel a lot better on this golf course than I did last year, playing at Congressional on a long, soft golf course. Certainly I have a lot better chance here than I did last year.
As far as ‑‑ I don't know that it ‑‑ to me, like I said earlier, they have to throttle back a little bit on some of the holes, just because a lot of the holes bend right where they're going to hit their driver. The doglegs turn right there and it just makes it real difficult to hit the fairways.
I just am a lot more confident on a golf course like this to be able to contend, more so than a Bethpage or Congressional or something like that, for sure.
Q. Could you give me your single best highlight today? And also, where was the absolute worst spot you put yourself in today and how did you get out of it?
DAVID TOMS: My highlight today, you know, probably the bunker shot a hit on 17, I was in the front right bunker, I had a fairly long shot and I hit it to about four feet, which was a really nice shot there.
The worst place, I was short left of the green on No. 5, short of the bunker and just had a horrible lie and I just took a big swing at a lob wedge and hit a good shot and ended up making the putt for par. That was certainly the worst spot. That and the fact on No. 16 I missed the tee shot short and right. So that was going to be a long hole, once you miss that.
Q. How long was that on the par save there?
DAVID TOMS: I don't know, I hit probably about six or eight feet, something like that. 16 was probably the most difficult spot. I had to hit ‑‑ I guess I hit a 3 hybrid in for my third shot. So missing the fairway there off the tee, short and right, was just ‑‑ you're struggling to make par if you're doing that. And I was fortunate enough to get panned out of a greenside bunker there for par.
Q. How much did you have left in on your second shot after the short drive at 16? What was the yardage left?
DAVID TOMS: I don't know. In fact, I didn't even give my caddie time to get back with the yardage. I'd already hacked it out of the rough. I don't know what I had. But it was a long way.
Q. Do you like the fact that that's, what, 660 today?
DAVID TOMS: Well, I wish we had a little more fairway there off the tee, because it's a very difficult ‑‑ you have trees overhanging on the left‑hand side. As far as your start line goes, you don't have a big area to start the ball. And I guess if you could hit a little draw out there that would help.
Even Davis, I don't know, he had a really solid drive and some kind of a 2‑iron and it looked like he still had probably a 9‑iron left. He hit three really solid shots to have ‑‑ I would say ‑‑ I bet he would say after two solid shots that's probably the longest third shot he's had into a par‑5 in quite some time.
Q. We hear what a grueling week this is, and the ultimate test. But as a player can you enjoy the challenge?
DAVID TOMS: I certainly think you have to, even if you fool yourself a little bit, you have to. It is a challenge. I mean, you know that, when you sign up to qualify for it or when you're exempt for it, you know it's going to be tough no matter what course you're playing. The setup is going to be difficult. They're going to try to protect par, no matter what. So you just have to enjoy it.
I've done a lot better over the last ‑‑ even times when I've missed the cut or not played well in the U.S. Open, I know I've done better in the last five or six years, as far as my attitude going in and it's helped me, for sure.
Q. Is this a situation where your straightness helps you, because you're always ‑‑ and your patience?
DAVID TOMS: Are you saying I'm short? Listen, this golf course here, you need to be straight. Actually, you need to curve the ball a little bit, because that's the only way to get it in the fairway sometimes.
You can start the ball straight and be in the rough all day. There's some holes out here, no matter how straight a hit you are, you're going to have to curve the ball one way or another to get it in the fairway, especially with the cross winds and so forth.
So it definitely helps to get the ball in the fairway. I know when I'm playing well that's one of my strengths, and I look forward to that challenge the rest of the week and trying to get the ball in the fairway and having a chance to play even better.
BETH MAJOR: We thank you so much for joining us. Congratulations again on the round and we wish you well the rest of the way.
DAVID TOMS: Thank you very muchDavid Toms (Media Center)