Toms: 'Walking on egg shells' at Augusta National

4/13/2006 - David Toms

Several players were asked to imagine a meeting with Masters
chairman Hootie Johnson in which they could change one thing about
Augusta National. Mike Weir said he would get rid of the second cut
of rough. Others mentioned the length at No. 4 and 7.

David Toms doesn't like all the rules.

"To me, it's still a place where the players walk around on egg
shells, not knowing if they are in the right place,'' Toms said
Tuesday in a conference call. "They're worried about their cell
phone being on, having to stop by the hut on the way in to scan
your ticket, making sure you only have one parking pass and
somebody else doesn't get in there.

"It's the only place all year where the players don't feel like
they're the most important thing there,'' Toms said. "That's the
way I see it, and I don't think I'm the single opinion on that.''

All anyone sees is players parking their Cadillac courtesy cars
after driving down Magnolia Lane. Toms said they have to stop by a
booth just off Washington Road and have their badges electronically
scanned, just like fans, media, volunteers and staff.

"It's like CIA stuff, you know what I mean?'' he said.

Once on the course, he doesn't like that his swing coach is not
allowed to walk down the fairways with him during practice rounds,
as they can at other majors.

Toms had no problem with the golf course, even though he missed
the cut after rounds of 72-76. Augusta National was longer than
ever, and while Toms said he played poorly, he figures he can
complete when conditions are firm and fast.

"I think they're on the right track,'' he said.

As for all those rules?

"In a way, it makes it different, and it makes it special and
it makes it unique,'' Toms said. "But then again, it's still a
golf tournament. It's the players that make that tournament. It's
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods battling down the stretch that makes
that event successful on television around the world. It's not how
green the grass is on the No. 1 fairway.

"But I don't see that changing,'' he said. "I don't think I'm
going to get my time in front of him (Johnson) until I win the

Thursday, Toms clarified his remarks in an e-mail to ESPN.com.

"Even with the rules, The Masters is the tournament that I want to win more than any other," he said in an e-mail. "Being from the South, I love and respect the tradition of Augusta National. It is a very special place."

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report