Find any club's value with Value Guide

Subscribe to RSS feed for NewsNews

Story Image
Scott Gneiser (left) and David Toms resumed their relationship last week at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.(Franklin/Getty Images)

Former PGA champ Toms, reunited with caddie, makes Friday move

Print News

David Toms has Scott Gneiser back on the bag after a one-year hiatus, and the reunion has helped the 2001 champion recapture a small amount of major magic at Oakland Hills.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- When David Toms plays in a major championship, as he is doing for the 43rd time this week at Oakland Hills, he's looking for what he calls "little small victories."

A birdie here, an up-and-down for par there -- even a bogey salvaged from what could have been much worse. Rack up enough of those, and you just might find yourself hoisting an impressive piece of hardware like the Wanamaker Trophy come Sunday night.

Toms found plenty of those little wins in Friday's round of 69 that moved the 2001 champion to 1 over at the midway point of the 90th PGA Championship, too.

"Whether it's hitting a 490 (yard) par-4 in two when it's into the wind and just take that as, hey, I played great hole, or it's one round at a time, one hole at a time," Toms explained. "To shoot under par today was pretty solid. I certainly would have taken that when I went to bed last night.

"It's just one good round and obviously this weekend is going to get tougher and tougher. Looks like the weather is going to stay like this, cool and dry, and the golf course is going to bake out if they don't put any water on it. (It will) continue to get more difficult. "

More PGA Championship:
Pairings, tee times
Toms' scorecard
Oakland Hills changes
Full leaderboard

When Toms finished his round with two other former PGA champions in John Daly and Vijay Singh, who struggled to rounds of 75 and 76, he was two strokes off the lead held by big-hitting J.B. Holmes. He said all three were grinding it out on every shot, but "I was just scoring a little bit better than they were."

At 7,395 yards, Oakland Hills wouldn't necessarily be a course where Toms, who ranks 175th in driving distance, would be expected to prosper. The fairways are firm, though, so well-played tee shots can get some extra distance and set up shorter irons to those incredibly fast greens.

"The ball's rolling out, which is good for shorter hitters like myself," Toms said. "It's not playing so long as it did when I first got here early in the week. But now trying to pull the right club to get the right bounce to get the ball in the fairway is (key). You're not going to be able to score at all out of the rough."

Toms started on the back nine and made the turn in 35 after a pair of birdies and two bogeys. He climbed the leaderboard again with birdies at Nos. 1 and 6, but gave one back after a bogey at the seventh hole. All in all, though, Toms couldn't be disappointed.

"I played a great round of golf today," he said. "I hit some good shots and when I didn't, I recovered well, I hung in there. I knew it was going to be tough right from the first hole and I just hung in there all day and I hit some really good bunker shots around the greens, capitalized on a couple of good iron shots that I hit in.

"I just had a good solid day -- one of those days in a major championship where you just grind it out."

Toms is back with his old caddy, Scott Gneiser, now and his balky back appears to be cooperating this week. The 12-time PGA TOUR winner and Gneiser, who had worked together since 1999, split last year after the relationship became stale. The two reunited last week at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.

Toms said having such a familiar face, the man who was on the bag at the Atlanta Athletic Club for that 2001 major victory, certainly "couldn't hurt. ... We kind of know each other and what to say, what not to say," he explained.

As red numbers became less and less prevelant at Oakland Hills on Friday, players were sure to have a harder time uncovering -- and accepting -- the small victories that Toms mentioned.

"It says a lot about yourself and how much in control you are of your emotions and your golf game when you play a golf course like this," Toms said. "You just have to hang in there. And you don't know what's going to happen. We had a tough day, especially last nine holes, it was pretty windy and started gusting the last few holes.

"The guys are going to have a tough time this afternoon trying to pull the club once they get the ball in the fairway."

©2008 PGA/Turner Sports Interactive. All Rights Reserved.
Turner Entertainment Digital is part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Digital Network