On a cloudy, clammy Monday morning at rain-stricken TPC Louisiana, LSU folk hero David Toms squished his way up the 18th fairway in virtual obscurity with playing partners Billy Horschel and Robert Garrigus.
After Toms drained an 8-foot birdie putt on the par 5 finishing hole, he turned and doffed his cap to a handful of fans watching from stands connected to the Zurich compound overlooking the green. It capped off a round of 71, good for 6-under 210 and a T36 in the 54-hole Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
It marked Toms' 23rd appearance in New Orleans.
And perhaps his last.
He turns 50 on Jan. 4, making him eligible to join the Champions Tour, a thought that crossed his mind as he trudged home on his inward nine Monday.
"My thought is I just played my last hole at the Zurich Classic -- and I made birdie,'' said Toms, a 13-time winner on the PGA Tour, including the 2001 PGA Championship and 2001 Compaq Classic of New Orleans at English Turn Golf & Country Club.
"Seriously?" a reporter asked.
"Seriously," Toms replied. "I can tell you what was going through my mind was when I couldn't reach No. 15 in two today, I said that's the last time I have to play this beast.''
Toms failed to reach the 508-yard, par 4 in two and posted a bogey 5 after missing a 10-foot putt.
"You never know; I won't say never," Toms said. "If it looks like it's going to be a nice week of weather here and everything is going to be nice and firm here so I can reach all the par 4s, you never know.
"I could play here again but as of now I'm not really sure."
Asked if the constant stopping and starting the past several days because of inclement weather affected his mindset this week, Toms said: "It's probably easier for a 20-year-old to play in these conditions than a
49-year-old, but you just make the best of it. It doesn't happen all the time out here but it happens out here more than you would think.''
Toms said he would reserve judgment on his schedule plans for the 2016-17 season, saying he doesn't have to make that decision now. But he gave a glimpse into the future.
"The problem is if I play a full schedule on the Champions Tour, that's 25 tournaments and I only play 20 now on the PGA Tour,'' he said. "So why would I go play the PGA Tour events on a week off?"
If Toms says adios to New Orleans, his finishing numbers in the Big Easy would look like this:
-- Total strokes (5,592)
-- Career stroke average (70.78)
-- Total rounds (79)
-- Rounds under par (46)
-- Total earnings ($1,500,335.71, including $28,029.17 this week)
-- Career memories: Priceless.
Brian Allee-Walsh, is a longtime Saints reporter based in New Orleans. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.