Duval Still Smiling After 83

By Associated PressJune 17, 2004, 4:00 pm
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- Nobody this side of Arnold Palmer ever smiled so much shooting an 83. David Duval was thrilled to be playing golf again, and the fans at Shinnecock Hills who cheered him at every turn made him feel like a king Thursday in the U.S. Open.
 
Never mind that he spent most of his round in grass up to his knees. It got so bad on the front nine that Duval had to take an unplayable lie from the rough on consecutive holes. When he chopped out from the left rough to the right rough and eventually made double bogey on the 18th hole, he had an 83 to match his worst score as a professional.
 
And the applause only got louder.
 
'If he had played how they rooted for him, he would done very well,' Scott Hoch said.
 
Duval returned to competition for the first time in seven months, bringing an untested game to the toughest test in golf. The result was predictable, but that's not how Duval kept score.
 
'There's some kinks to work out and some rust to get rid of,' he said. 'But at least I did a lot of things I wanted to do today. And most importantly, I enjoyed being out there.
 
'All in all, I would call it an enormous victory for me today.'
 
The last time anyone saw Duval at a major, he shot 80 in the first round of the PGA Championship in August, withdrew from the tournament and a short time later vanished from the PGA Tour. Some of it was his health. Most of it was his confidence. He became a shattered shell of a guy who was No. 1 in the world five years ago and a British Open champion in 2001.
 
Judging strictly on his performance, not much has changed.
 
Based on his demeanor, he looked like a new man.
 
During his time away, Duval married and found happiness at home in Denver with a wife and her three children. He learned to appreciate that he can play golf for a living, but made sure he returned only when he was excited to play.
 
'I stand here a blessed man,' he said. 'What's happened to me in the last six to eight months is far greater than anything I've ever done for the last 10 years around here.'
 
For a fleeting moment, it looked like Duval was still an awesome talent in control of his game.
 
'Tear it up, David!' someone from the gallery cried out as he prepared to hit his opening tee shot.
 
Duval backed off, smiled at caddie Mitch Knox, then ripped a 3-wood down the middle of the narrow fairway. From there, he hit a wedge 12 feet below the cup and when his birdie putt dropped, Duval was 1 under par and tied for the lead in the U.S. Open.
 
OK, it was early.
 
'I want to see the headline - Duval leading U.S. Open,' joked his agent, Charley Moore.
 
Another good tee shot on the par-3 second was about a foot away from being perfect, but caught a ridge and dropped into the bunker. Duval saved par with a 10-foot putt, then saved another par after barely catching the right rough with a 3-wood off the tee.
 
So far, so good.
 
All it took was one hole for everything to fall apart. Duval duck-hooked his driver so badly on No. 4 that it went beyond the rough into a large clump of weeds. It was buried so deep he had to take a penalty drop into hay that had been trampled by the gallery, and he eventually three-putted for double bogey.
 
Duval hooked another tee shot on the par-5 fifth and tried to hack out of the weeds, only for the grass to grab the bottom of his club and send the shot into even deeper rough. The top of the grass was almost to his waist, and Duval had no choice but to take another unplayable lie, another penalty shot, another double bogey.
 
'It goes without saying I'm not tournament ready,' Duval said. 'Then, add the U.S. Open course to the mix and that adds some more shots to the score. How many? I'm not sure.'
 
Duval's problems started off the tee, no matter what club he had in his hands. Of the four fairways he hit, he made two birdies, the other one coming on a 50-foot putt at the 12th. That also was the only hole where he didn't make bogey on the back nine.
 
The fans said, 'Welcome back, David' on every hole, and Duval acknowledge every fan.
 
Shinnecock Hills seemed to say him, 'Welcome to the U.S. Open.'
 
Tiger Woods, who replaced Duval at No. 1 at the '99 PGA Championship and has been there ever since, played two groups behind and caught up with him after the round.
 
'The U.S. Open is going to be tough, and if plays poorly, a lot of guys are,' Woods said. 'So, of all the tournaments to play, I think he's probably doing the right thing.'
 
Despite an 83 - he also had an 83 in the British Open and Masters last year - and despite hitting only three greens in regulation, Duval said he is 'right on the edge' of playing good golf.
 
'Some of that involves being out here and getting comfortable,' he said. 'Some of that involves building confidence and belief in the way I'm swinging and the work I've done.'
 
He still doesn't know how much he will play the rest of the year, but he left on a high note.
 
'I can't wait to go play tomorrow,' Duval said.
 
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - U.S. Open
  • U.S. Open Photo Gallery
  • TV Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Open
     
    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

    Getty Images

    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

    Getty Images

    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

    Getty Images

    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.