Merritt returns to PGA Tour after surgery to remove rib

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“I’ll be OK,” Merritt said. "Just going to enjoy it and see what happens.”

Merritt returns to PGA Tour after surgery to remove rib

“I’ll be OK,” Merritt said. "Just going to enjoy it and see what happens.”

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Troy Merritt returns to the PGA Tour this week following surgery in January to remove the top rib on his left side after being diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome last year.

Merritt said he’d hoped to be able to return to work in time for the Zurich Classic in April, but his recovery went much better than he expected.

“I shouldn’t have been back for another five weeks but recovery and rehab went extremely well and I had to talk my wife into coming back this week,” Merritt said on Wednesday at The Players.

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Merritt, who hasn’t played since January’s Sony Open, was allowed to start hitting every club in the bag last weekend and played nine consecutive days, including 45 holes this week at TPC Sawgrass on top of six to eight hours of practice each day. Not bad for a player who has spent most of the last seven weeks on his couch.

“I’ll be OK,” Merritt said. “I’ll have some rust out there and have very limited expectations. Not going to get too upset if I hit any poor ones out there because I haven’t played in months. Just going to enjoy it and see what happens.”

Following The Players, Merritt doesn’t plan to play again until after the Masters (likely at the RBC Heritage). Because his recovery was supposed to take a few more weeks, he planned some family vacations and decided not to change his schedule.

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