CHARLOTTE – The 5-wood sits in David Toms’s game room in Shreveport, La., a piece of history from the greatest golfing week of his life. Ten years ago, at the PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club, Toms used the 5-wood to make a hole in one in the third round, a shot that propelled him to his lone major championship. Atlanta Athletic Club is hosting the PGA again in August. The 5-wood is staying put.
“My wife made it look like it’s one of those historical clubs,” Toms said Thursday. (After an opening round of six-under 66 at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, he was tied for the early lead.) “It looks like it’s an antique, but it’s a half-graphite, half-steel shaft, so it looks kind of funny sitting in that case.”
Toms doesn’t carry the old 5-wood anymore, but he still hits fairway woods with the best of them. In the era of the big bomber, the 44-year-old Toms doesn’t have a choice.
On Thursday, Toms hit fairway woods into three par-4s – on No. 3, 4 and 9 – and played the holes in even par.
“I’m just older,” said Toms, who won here in 2003. “I probably hit the ball the same distance with technology and everything, so the golf courses have gotten longer. This one has certainly gotten longer.”
Toms, who has 12 PGA Tour victories, is on the outside of any Hall of Fame discussion, but he admits to thinking about the honor sometimes. When he defeated Phil Mickelson by a shot at the 2001 PGA by laying up on a par-4 and saving par with a wedge, Toms appeared to be on his way. The championship was one of three PGA Tour events he won that year.
Since then, the wins have been harder to come by as longer courses and younger players have conspired against him.
“I’ve been on the [Hall of Fame] ballot before and got axed, so I need to play a little bit better,” Toms said. “I’d love to win another golf tournament. I’ve been stuck on 12 for a long time. But that’s what motivates me to come out here and play. I’m just going to go out and play each shot the best I can.”
(Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)