LA JOLLA, Calif. -- The voice on the other end of the phone was upbeat, and with good reason.
“It’s going to be fun to get back out there,” said Peter Kostis, who after an eight-month battle with colon cancer will return to the booth for CBS this weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open.
It was last May on the Thursday of the Byron Nelson Championship when Kostis, at the suggestion of his wife, Sandy, underwent his routine colonoscopy a few months early -- she was in for her routine checkup so he agreed to get his done, too.
Two polyps came back as cancerous, Stage 3.
Kostis continued on to Dallas but did the broadcast from the booth. Two days after the final round, he flew home to Arizona and underwent surgery at Banner Medical Center, where Dr. Eugene Kim performed the procedure on the 67-year-old.
The surgery lasted longer than it was supposed to -- six hours -- but doctors were able to remove the cancerous cells.
Kostis underwent aggressive chemotherapy every two weeks and planned to be back for the PGA Championship last August.
“I was so tired and wiped out that I couldn’t do it,” Kostis said. “I called Lance (Barrow) and Sean (McManus) at CBS and told them I was done for the year.”
Kostis finished his treatments in mid-December and recent tests showed he is now cancer-free.
All the while, Kostis managed to keep his spirits up, thanks in part to sweeping support across the golf community.
“You find out who you’re friends are,” said Kostis, who received thousands of texts and messages on Twitter. Phil Mickelson, Charles Barkley, Gary McCord and Ian Baker-Finch were among those who regularly reached out to Kostis.
He also drew inspiration from Olympic figure skater turned broadcaster Scott Hamilton, who had endured his own battle with cancer.
“I’d read (his) book years ago,” said Kostis, who remembered one line in particular: The only real handicap in life is a bad attitude.
“I’ve tried to live by that,” Kostis continued. “That’s the way I went into it.”
Kostis is due for another colonoscopy in May and will have his blood tested every three months for the next two years as part of his routine.
This week, though, he’ll be back where he belongs.
“The good news is,” Kostis said. “I’m coming out on the other side and we’re moving forward.”