Monday, June 22

Welcome Back, David Duval

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.

(Image: Newton/Flickr)

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.

Duval File

Turned pro: 1993
Birthplace: Jacksonville, Florida
Residence: Denver, Colorado
World ranking: 764
PGA Tour wins: 13
Major wins: 1
Equipment: Nike

−The Armchair Golfer

Brought to you by The World of Golf and ARMCHAIR GOLF STORE.

5 comments :

Miranda said...

Are they (the media) starting that Asterisk thing again?! Let me guess - it's all because their precious Tiger didn't win and they need to make excuses to satisfy the sponsors who pay for the commercials. One of these days the media is just going to have to suck it up and realize that there are other golfers out there who might deserve to win tournaments. Today we saw several of them: Glover, Fisher, Mickelson, Duval, and for three days Ricky Barnes. If the Asterisk is used on this tournament record book, then it should stand for 'yes, Tiger was in the field' so Glover will get all of the respect he deserves for coming out on top.

The Armchair Golfer said...

Miranda: I heard a mention of an asterisk on an NPR interview with New York Times golf writer Larry Dorman. The reason: Because the course was wet and the draw favored one half of the field early in the tournament. Dorman was asked if Glover's win might be considered less credible due to the above.

Charles Boyer said...

Glover's victory is doubly credible because of the conditions that the tournament was played under. He overcame those conditions and prevailed, and deserved the trophy he hoisted yesterday.

Armchair, I agree completely with you about Duval. The man has been to the top, fallen to the bottom and has the courage to not only get back up and get back to work, but also to excel once more. That should be an inspiration to anyone.

Jimmy said...

Although it took a while, the final round wasn't too bad, except if you were cheering for Mick. This guy dazzles you with his brilliance & at the same time lets you down with his simple gaffes. All the experience he has & he comes up short on 17, & those 2 puts for par. Mick, you were tied for the LEAD!!!

That is why there is Tiger & the rest of "the field". Tiger's in position & he comes through. Mick is in positon & you just don't know.

If anyone says that his mind was elsewhere is copping out. When you are a pro athlete playing a competitive game, your mind is at the event, the moment. When it is all over does it change.

Mick needs a mental coach. There is no way that this guy should have only 3 majors, too much talent for that.

GolfToImpress said...

I must admit DD looked close to his old self again. In fact he could be just as good as he was back in the day but the field is just a whole lot better now.

See what a few extra hot dogs and beers can do for your game?