PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Sure, the closing stretch at the Players Stadium Course can cause dyspepsia, and David Toms suffered a double-bogey at the famed island par-3 17th hole Thursday, but Toms was largely satisfied with an opening 1-under 71 on what was a soft and nearly defenseless golf course.
"I'm just glad I played all 18 holes," the former PGA champion remarked.
Toms, who has had three cortisone shots in his right shoulder since October in hopes of putting off surgery, didn't arrive in Florida until Wednesday afternoon after contracting flu-like symptoms at home in Shreveport, La., on Monday after missing the cut at the Quail Hollow Championship. His inability to hold anything down forced him to an urgent care facility Tuesday, and he almost withdrew before medication kicked in and he was able to get on a plane.
"I just drank a lot of water, and I actually started feeling pretty good toward the end of the round," said Toms, 43, who has played sick before, when he lost in the final of the Accenture Match Play Championship in 2002 to Tiger Woods. "I didn't play too badly, really, with no practice round and all."
The brief illness was just the latest issue for the tour veteran, whose shoulder problems aren't getting any better. His goal is to get through the FedEx Cup season and some key fall events, including, potentially, the Ryder Cup, before undergoing surgery for what he describes as "an impingement."
"If I don't sleep on it, then it's fine. If I sleep on it I feel like it's going to be my last day of golf," Toms said. "But I'm putting off on surgery for as long as possible. The smart thing is to play well enough to get through the FedEx Cup and then get it worked on, but there events I like in the fall, too. I'd like to play through the summer and the major championships. If I feel like I'm swinging OK and playing OK, I'll keep playing. If not, I will do it sooner, but, yeah, in the back of my mind I will need surgery eventually."
-- Dave Shedloski