Timing is often pivotal in sport and for David Toms, Ryder Cup incentive provided just the spark he needed to move into contention for this week's U.S. Open.
Having missed the cut in his last two PGA Tour starts, Toms was determined to shine while playing with U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III for the first two rounds at the Olympic Club.
The 45-year-old certainly succeeded, carding scores of one-under-par 69 and 70 to join fellow Americans Tiger Woods (70) and Jim Furyk (69) in a tie for the lead at the U.S. Open's midway point.
"I played with him (Love) last week the first two days in Memphis and played absolutely awful on a golf course where I have played pretty well," Toms, who has been on three U.S. Ryder Cup teams, told reporters.
"So that was really part of my goal this week, was to play a little better in front of our Ryder Cup captain, and I was able to do that, which is an extra bonus for me right now."
On a breezy day of bright sunshine at Olympic where scoring was difficult on a hilly layout running fast and firm, the steady Toms offset two bogeys with two birdies to post a one-under total of 139.
"Leading or being tied for the lead in the golf tournament, in the U.S. Open, is great," said the 13-times PGA Tour winner whose only major victory came at the 2001 PGA Championship.
"But to be able to turn it around and play really solid golf after the way I played actually the last couple of tournaments has been nice, to be back in the hunt."
Toms had missed the cut at the Colonial Invitational and St. Jude Classic in his two previous starts before making the most of fast-running conditions at Olympic which have certainly helped his medium-length hitting off the tee.
"I'm not so far behind when the ball's chasing out off the tee and I know that," the tour veteran said.
"So my attitude is pretty good starting the round to know that I don't have to bomb it to play the golf course, which sometimes that is the case. And it's not this week."
Toms was not at all surprised to be sharing the U.S. Open lead after 36 holes with two other former major winners.
"You really have to manage your game around this golf course, that's the bottom line," he said.
"I think that's what major champions do, or guys that have been out here for a long time, that have won a lot of tournaments, they're able to do that.
"I know that's what I've done the first couple of days. Maybe it hasn't been my best golf, but I've scored well; and that's probably the same for the other two guys."