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TOUR Insider: Toms' Resurgence Comes Full Circle

At eighth in FedExCup standings, David Toms is a sure contender for the FedExCup trophy.

 

It was a year ago that David Toms began playing like David Toms.

You know, the scrappy little guy who's always elbowing his way up to the table with the big guys. Never a long hitter, Toms managed to carve out a winning path in a game that's often dominated by the bomb-and-gouge crowd. He's always been the "Little Engine Who Could," resolutely chugging up the hill and refusing to give in.


It's just that David Toms quit being that guy for a few years. It wasn't his fault, nor was it from lack of effort; a series of injuries finally began to catch up with him. And once you crest that 40-year-old hill on the birth certificate, it becomes more difficult to recover from soreness -- or sometimes even get a good night of sleep.

But fans got a sneak peek at the Old Toms a year ago at the Wyndham Championship, when he posted his first top-10 of the season. He did it by playing his tail off and shooting a 64 in the final round, which was good enough to lose to Arjun Atwal by one shot. Ah, but that week seemed to indicate that Toms was closer to returning to the form that enabled him to play in three Presidents Cups and three Ryder Cups.

The recovery came full circle this spring. He showed signs early, tying for fifth at the Mayakoba Golf Classic and tying for third at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. That set the stage for THE PLAYERS Championship, where he lost a heartbreaker to K.J. Choi in a playoff.

Instead of being deflated by the loss at TPC Sawgrass or being satisfied that he had nearly come full circle, Toms chugged ahead to the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and won his first tournament since 2006. After his victory, Toms entered the interview room and said, "I'm not dreaming, am I? This is actually happening, right? I didn't know if this day would ever come again."

He wasn't done, either. He tied for ninth at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and last week tied for fourth at the PGA Championship on an Atlanta Athletic Club course that was very long, very penal and very difficult.


"I've played well the last couple weeks on two hard golf courses and finished in the top 10 both weeks against strong fields," he said. "It gives me a lot of confidence. I'm looking forward to Greensboro as well as a place I like, so hoping to get a tournament there under my belt heading into The Barclays and seeing if we can keep it going."

Toms has now placed himself back in the public consciousness with his fine play this year. He ranks eighth in the FedExCup standings, far better than a year ago when he was barely inside the top 100 when the Playoffs began. Toms has a great chance to return to East Lake for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola after missing the big finale last year.

He's also put himself back on the Presidents Cup roster. He's seventh on the points list and a virtual cinch to be on the U.S. team that competes in Australia later this fall. He can't wait to return to international competition.

"Man, you know, every year that they have one that I'm not on, I know what I'm missing," Toms said. "It's a great experience, having been on them before. It's a lot of work to get back there, but it's definitely worth the time and effort and the hard work to be a part of."

Toms has never shied away from the hard work and, now that he's healthy again, he must be considered a contender to win the FedExCup. There are guys with a higher world ranking, many others who hit it farther, and a few with a resume to match Toms. But one would be foolish to discount his chances on the eve of the Playoffs, particularly on the anniversary of his return to national prominence.

Image by Cox/Getty Images

Adapted from PGA Tour

By Stan Awtrey

 
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