|David Toms didn’t want to let his grandparents down.|
“(My grandparents) were the ones I thought about before I made any decision,” Toms told his hometown newspaper last week. “I didn’t want to let them down. That carried over to my adult life.”
One regret for Toms in receiving the annual award given to players who uphold the game’s traditions of charitable support and professionalism was that his grandfather, Toms’s “biggest influence,” couldn’t be at the Tour Championship for the award ceremony. Tom Toms died last December at the age of 88.
“This honor is at the top of the list for my career,” Toms said. “I can’t really compare it to anything else.”
Toms has banked $37 million on the PGA Tour in a 19-year pro career that includes 13 tour titles, including the 2001 PGA Championship. But, through his foundation (David Toms Foundation), he has also given back by helping at-risk and disadvantaged kids, focusing on character, self-esteem and career opportunities. In addition, his foundation has helped victims of Hurricane Katrina. Last year the Golf Coaches Association of America created the David Toms Award, an annual award given to a men’s collegiate golfer who overcomes adversity and achieves excellence.
Toms isn’t the first Shreveport resident to receive the Payne Stewart Award. Hal Sutton won it in 2007. Other winners include Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Tom Watson.
−The Armchair Golfer
(Photo credit: Keith Allison, Flickr, Creative Commons license)