PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) Former PGA champion David Toms has been losing length off the tee that he can't afford, and now he knows why. Toms said Friday he has a bone spur in his rotator cuff that will require surgery.
Toms, who shot an 8-under 63 to get into contention at the Transitions Championship, said he plans to take medication to at least get through the Masters. After that, he might have to have arthroscopic surgery that will keep him out two months.
"I've been to two different doctors, and I've got an issue there," Toms said of his right shoulder. "They tell me I'm going to be out eight weeks if I have it done. So I'm just taking medication and trying to get through it."
Toms said the original plan was to have the surgery after the Masters and return in time for the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
Then comes a round like Friday - 11 shots better than his opening 74 - and he wonders if he can go longer.
"I felt like I was getting through it a little bit, at least where I feel like I can still play golf," Toms said. "But I'm still in a lot of pain. I can't even toss a ball to my caddie when I get the ball out of the hole or have it marked. At 43, when you start having those little nagging things like that, what's next?"
Toms already has dealt with back issues, and he's tired of waking up in pain.
What concerns him the most is losing some 10 yards off the tee from a year ago. Not only does that mean longer clubs into the green, he said knowing he has lost distance is affecting him mentally.
Toms said he saw a magazine article that noted how much farther his playing partners were driving it past him. It didn't help at Doral that he was paired with Charl Schwartzel and Nick Watney the first two rounds, and Henrik Stenson in the third round, all of whom hit it well past him even when he's healthy.
"That's part of getting old," he said. "But at the same time, being injured and old is not a good thing."
If he keeps scoring like this, Toms said he could try to make it through the year and have surgery in the offseason.
"But I haven't gotten off to a good start and struggled at times," he said. "So it might be something I have to do earlier."