LUCAS GLOVER WON THE TROPHY, Phil Mickelson won the hearts, and David Duval won newfound respect.
I disagree with those who may want to place an asterisk by Glover’s name for winning the bizarre, waterlogged U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. Lucas’s long game was solid most of the week, he only had one three-putt green, and he handled the pressure better than more-experienced players have in the past.
I’ll leave Phil for others, but his family vacation would be much more enjoyable if he had not bogeyed two of the last four holes. It was Lefty’s fifth second-place finish at the U.S. Open.
But I’d much rather discuss Mr. 764 in the world, one David Duval (at left). As I watched Duval coax in a birdie putt on the 16th hole to close to within one stroke of the lead, it occurred to me that he might pull off one of golf’s greatest comebacks. A birdie and a par and the man who fell into golf’s black hole eight years ago could actually hoist the Open’s silver cup. It would be, dare I say, “unbelievable.”
Duval’s final round was a parallel of sorts for his desolate years in golf. Things went terribly wrong on the opening three holes, which included a bogey and triple bogey. It looked hopeless, but David refused to give up. He kept battling to the end, hitting solid shot after solid shot with his Nike golf clubs and holing pressure putts that reminded us why he was once the best golfer in the world.
Duval is a soft-spoken determined man with a healthy ego. Of course, I don’t mean ego in the usual puffed-up sense. He has been completely humbled by this cruel game. Yet he still believes in himself and his ability. I’m not a quitter, he has said. That’s a healthy place to be.
As Duval also said just the other day, there’s not anything that can happen on the golf course or in a golf tournament that’s likely to fluster him. He has experienced both the highs and the lows − the lowest of the lows − and he’s still out there swinging and believing.
Today that belief almost won David Duval his first U.S. Open. It certainly won him the golf world’s respect.
Turned pro: 1993
Birthplace: Jacksonville, Florida
Residence: Denver, Colorado
World ranking: 764
PGA Tour wins: 13
Major wins: 1
−The Armchair Golfer
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