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David Toms withdraws from Open with back problems

World number 11 David Toms has withdrawn from the Open championship at Hoylake in two weeks' time.

The 39-year-old American, who came back from heart surgery in November to win on the US PGA Tour just two months later, is suffering from back problems and has decided not to make the trip.

His place is taken by compatriot Jeff Sluman, the next non-exempt player on the world rankings.

Toms, fourth on his Open debut at St Andrews in 2000, played only one round in the championship last July.

Paired with eventual runner-up Colin Montgomerie, the Ryder Cup star told organisers before the second round that he felt he may have hit a moving ball while holing out for a double bogey six on the 17th hole of his opening 74.

'I was the only one that saw it and I just felt it was better that I disqualified myself,' he said.

The former US PGA champion has since raised more than a million dollars for victims of Hurricane Katrina in his home state Louisiana, but he had his own drama in September when he collapsed with heart trouble at a US Tour event.

The non-life threatening condition was cured in an operation on November 17 and after recovering in time to play in the Presidents Cup, Toms won the Sony Open in Hawaii in January.

His injury will inevitably be a concern for American Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman. Toms stands fifth on their points table.

July 11, 2006


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