Dont Quit on Duval

By Brian HewittJuly 30, 2003, 4:00 pm
The darker side of the Ben Curtis story this year is the David Duval story.
Just dont quit on David Duval. He isnt quitting on himself. He has fallen. And he is determined to get up.
The opinion here is that he will be back.
Tuesday Duval told The Golf Channels Kraig Kann he is recruiting help outside of golf. On Monday, sources close to Duval told me, Duval recently said, I will hang in there until I beat this.
Curtis came out of nowhere (unless you were paying attention to amateur golf in the late '90s) and won the Open Championship at Royal St. Georges.
Duval, winner of the same championship just two short years ago, continues to sink like a stone in the world rankings while missing cuts with numbing regularity.
The Duval decline has been steep and it has gone from bad to worse. At Royal St. Georges he shot 83-78 and missed the cut by kilometers. He returned to the States, soared to an 83 in the first round at the Greater Hartford Open and promptly withdrew.
Earlier this year he missed seven straight cuts. He ranks 195th in driving accuracy on the PGA Tour. His world ranking, No. 1 as recently as 1999, is now 119, one spot ahead of somebody named Zhang Lian-Wei.
This is beyond frustration, a source close to Duval said Monday.
Sports Illustrated proclaimed Duval to be in a slump of Baker-Finchian proportions. One news outlet insisted Duvals W/D at Hartford had to do with the fear of being beaten by Suzy Whaley. Duval and his people bristled.
Duvals people say his physical problems'bad back, vertigo'are behind him and they say the reasons he cant find the world with his driver are between his ears. And, they say, Duval is aware of this.
Which is a first step. In the past Duval was a stoic. It was his natural way. But when things went bad with his swing he needed to learn to open himself up to those who might help him. The indications now are that he is doing that.
Its interesting to note that the five players with the worst driving accuracy numbers on the tours weekly list are: No. 192 Hank Kuehne; No. 193 Phil Mickelson; No. 194 John Daly; No. 195 Duval and No. 196 Steve Stricker.
The cynics will say thats a list full of head cases. The optimists will say thats a list loaded with monstrous talent. Daly and Duval have won major championships. Mickelson and Kuehne have won U.S. Amateurs. Stricker finished second at the PGA Championship in 1998 to Vijay Singh.
Meanwhile, the plan at the moment is for Duval to continue to try and play his way out of this mess. He remains in contact with teacher David Leadbetter but doesnt see him on a regular basis. He is scheduled to tee it up next week at The International and the week after that at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y. for the PGA Championship.
But that is highly subject to change, said a source.
Yes, Duval has an unusual grip and swing action. And, yes, players with idiosyncratic fundamentals often have more trouble righting their ships when their swings founder.
Im betting on Duval.
Earlier this year Tiger Woods teased the media, saying if he was in such a bad slump maybe he should be a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year.
My early line favorite for Comeback Player of the Year in 2004 is David Duval.
Related Links:
  • Bio - David Duval
  • More Inside the Ropes by Brian Hewitt
  • More on David Duval
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    Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

    Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

    “While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

    It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

    “What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

    The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

    “I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”

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    Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 7:45 pm

    Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:

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    Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

    By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:59 pm

    The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.

    Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to to submit your picks for this week's event.

    Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:

    1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.

    2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.

    3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.

    4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.

    5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.

    6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.

    7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.

    8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.

    9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.

    10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.

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    Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'

    By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:28 pm

    It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.

    Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.

    "The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."

    Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.

    That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.

    "You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.

    "But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."