By Associated PressJune 15, 2004, 4:00 pm
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- The little things in life bring out the raw emotion in David Duval. He smiled and blinked into the sun when he captured the British Open. He skipped awkwardly around the 18th green in Palm Springs when he shot 59. He defiantly raised the trophy when he won The Players Championship five years ago to become No. 1 in the world. But the other day in Denver, Duval hit a golf shot so pure that he cried.
'I've been waiting and practicing and working,' Duval said. 'The way I look at it, I forgot how to play golf. I wanted to feel like I had some type of control again. I've had some good days and some bad days, hit some good shots and some really bad shots.
'When I felt like I knew what I was doing, I was in tears.'
Considering where he has been, and how far he has fallen, not many could blame him.
The last player besides Tiger Woods to be No. 1 in the world ranking, Duval has gone three years without winning. He hasn't even played on the PGA Tour in eight months, so it's no surprise that his world ranking has plunged to No. 434, lower than Ben Curtis when he won the British Open last year.
That's what made his decision to play in the U.S. Open - his first competition since November - so surprising.
The U.S. Open is considered the toughest test in golf. Shinnecock Hills, with its narrow fairways framed by waist-high fescue that waves in the wind, is among the most demanding courses. And Duval comes into this U.S. Open having not struck a golf ball in competition this year.
'I'm very surprised Duval is coming out here,' Brad Faxon said Monday. 'This is not the place where you want to hit a lot of errant shots.'
But it all seems so simple to Duval.
His game might not be in the best shape, but his hunger to play has returned, and that's all that matters.
'I just want to go play,' he said during a recent interview with The Associated Press. 'I have no expectations. I just want to enjoy being out there. It's very hard to miss the U.S. Open. Am I playing great? No. I just want to be there.'
In some respects, Duval says the U.S. Open is the perfect place to return.
'How often has anybody played great in the U.S. Open?' he said. 'U.S. Opens don't allow you to play great. They require you to hit it solid and outlast everybody.'
How long he lasts is anyone's guess.
Duval still doesn't know whether this is the first step on a long journey back, or merely a cameo appearance.
He has no plans after Shinnecock Hills, although he said it's safe to assume he will go to Royal Troon to play in the British Open. He also plans to play the International near his new home in Denver.
This week will be a good gauge - not the score on his card, but the desire in his heart.
In October at the Las Vegas Invitational, Duval missed the cut in his last PGA Tour event of the year and knew it was time to step away.
'It's all about wanting to be there and being excited to play, not showing up at a hotel room in Vegas like I did, where as soon as I set my bags down, I'm wanting to leave,' he said. 'I will walk away from competitive golf if it starts to interfere with my enjoyment of the game.'
However, he remains motivated by competition.
Duval's favorite story is the time he was 12 and stayed with his grandparents in Fernandina Beach, Fla. He played with his grandfather every day and could never beat him. One day, Duval came to the ninth tee leading by one.
'I ended up making a 6 and he made a 4, so he beat me,' Duval said. 'And I started crying. I said, 'You know, Granddaddy, you might have beaten me today, but when I come back next summer, you'll never beat me again.'
'That's the greatest story I like to tell,' Duval said. 'I don't know why, but it's something you never forget.'
Duval was expected to arrive at Shinnecock Hills on Tuesday with his bride of four months, the former Susie Persichitte. They met last summer in Denver at a restaurant and hit it off.
'She didn't know who I was,' Duval said.
They were engaged in November, and spent part of the winter holidays with Fred Couples and his wife.
'The first thing my wife said, 'Can you believe David?' I mean, he was so different,' Couples said after the wedding. 'I don't know if it's going to help his golf game. It doesn't really matter. He's extremely happy.'
Out of touch for most of the year, Duval started to get some television time last week with a new Nike commercial in which Duval and other players are going through Woods' golf clubs in the garage. Duval swings a driver and shatters a car window.
'Best contact you've made all year, Duval,' says Frank, Woods' animated head cover.
Duval says the commercial was shot late last year, and that Nike officials made sure he didn't mind the ending.
'I thought it was hilarious,' Duval said.
The U.S. Open has never been mistaken for Comedy Central, although Duval sees this week as a time to enjoy himself, and to remember how lucky he is to play professional golf for a living.
Still, he expects an extraordinary amount of jitters on the first tee Thursday morning.
'I'm nervous. I'm scared in a sense,' he said. 'I've been a way for quite some time. But I'm really excited.'
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.