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David Toms is refreshed after the longest break of his career. (Rogash/Getty Images)

Notebook: Former champ Toms returns from big break

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David Toms was in dire need of a vacation, and is ready for a big season-ending push. Plus, Mike Weir just might be the hometown favorite, Bart Bryant is nursing a sore elbow, and more.

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) --
Some introductions were in order last week at Firestone when David Toms walked onto the practice range. He hasn't been seen on the PGA Tour since he tied for 27th at the Travelers Championship, turning down his spot in the British Open.

The reason? Toms was in dire need of a vacation.

The 41-year-old from Louisiana had played nine out of 11 weeks, only twice finishing in the top 20, when he decided it was time to take a break. He headed off to his lake house with his wife and two children, with plans of returning to the John Deere Classic. But he was having so much fun, and his game was not in shape, so he passed on Royal Birkdale.

"I had a great time," said Toms, who had never taken such a long break in the summer without being forced out by injury. "It was hard to force myself to come back."

He did at a tough place --
the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational --
and got progressively better with a 70-69 weekend to tie for 48th. Toms was among the early arrivals to Oakland Hills on Monday, playing 18 holes.

Toms made some sacrifices with his game to spend time with his family. He has yet to record a top 10, meaning he most likely will not be part of the Ryder Cup team for the first time since 1999. And he is 130th in the FedExCup standings with only two tournaments remaining before the playoffs begin.

More PGA Championship:
Pairings, tee times
The Wanamaker Trophy
Oakland Hills changes
Hole-by-hole
Maginnes: Which one?

No matter. It was time well spent, and Toms already has looked at the fall schedule, at least those tournaments that don?t conflict with his beloved LSU Tigers football games.

"We have an off week during Turning Stone, so I'll play there," he said. "I'm not going to Florida, so I can play the Texas Open. And if I don't play in the Ryder Cup, I'll play in Jackson (Viking Classic)."

HOMETOWN FAVORITE: Looking for a PGA Tour player who might be the local favorite? That would be Mike Weir.

The Canadian was born in Sarnia, Ontario, which is only about an hour away from Detroit. It's so close that Weir grew up as a huge Detroit Red Wings fan. And he was getting plenty of cheers as he played nine holes Monday with Dean Wilson and Kenny Perry.

"It's closer to home than it was two weeks ago," said Weir, referring to the Canadian Open at Glen Abbey outside Toronto. "There's a lot of Canucks in Detroit."

PLAYING HURT: Bart Bryant is 18th in the Ryder Cup standings and 27th in the FedExCup standings heading into the home stretch. His biggest concern was crossing the finish line, so the oft-injured Bryant had a cortisone shot in his right elbow two weeks ago.

It was his third such shot this year, and he hopes it will get him through September.

"It was 90 percent effective," Bryant said. "Each one lasts a little bit shorter, but hopefully, I'll be taken care of through the FedExCup. That would be a bonus."

And after that? Bryant said surgery is likely, which will be the fifth of his career.

"But the first time on the exterior," he said, pointing to a scar on the inside of his left elbow. He also has had surgery on the exterior of his left elbow, along with his knee and shoulder.

At least it's not brain surgery.

"That should have been done a long time ago," Bryant said with a laugh.

Bryant likely needs to be runner-up at the PGA Championship to earn one of eight automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. He is equally interested in the FedExCup, considering he has not returned to The Tour Championship at East Lake since 2005, when he set the course record with a 62 in the first round and won by six shots over Tiger Woods.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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