Frustration and faith for David Duval

By Randall MellNovember 13, 2009, 3:50 am

PGA TourLAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – David Duval can’t find a surgeon to fix what ails him.

When the magic in his swing detached, there was no specialist to reattach it.

It wasn’t like Tiger Woods tearing his anterior cruciate ligament. The injury can be more traumatic when mystical powers tear away. The rehabilitation process can be fraught with more uncertainty.

We saw that with the former No. 1 player in the world again Thursday in the first round of the Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Disney World.

Duval, who turned 38 on Monday, opened with a 4-over-par 76 on the Palms course and finds himself in a hole in his bid to remain among the top 125 on the PGA Tour money list. Duval is on the bubble at No. 125. He needs a strong rally Friday on the more difficult Magnolia course to make the cut and position himself to preserve fully exempt status next season.

Though he’s signed up for Q-School next month, Duval doesn't want to go. And yet he would rather not have to play next year with conditional status as a top-150 player on the money list. He would rather not have to write letters for sponsor exemptions to fill out his schedule, but these are the options unfolding for him.

On a miserably cold and wet morning Thursday, Duval started ominously. This kind of weather isn’t good for his bad back and the tendinitis in his shoulder and wrists. Duval hooked his first tee shot left into the woods and had to pitch out to the fairway. He opened with a bogey and never got to red numbers on a course that played easier than any course on the PGA Tour last season.

“It’s frustrating,” Duval said after his round. “I just didn’t play that well today. I didn’t hit the ball that great. I hit it very mediocre and hit a couple crazy shots.”

The frustration has to be knowing the greatness he’s capable of, knowing that within him lies the heart of a 13-time PGA Tour winner and British Open champion. It has to be in knowing that if he found the magic before he can find it again. He showed us that with his second-place finish at the U.S. Open this summer. Duval keeps telling us he’s close. He’s still a lot like Tiger Woods that way. No matter how off Woods’ game appears to be, he always insists he’s close. Apparently, there’s power in believing that.

Faith is the strength of Duval’s game today.

He’ll drive the ball terrifically for spells, then lose shots right or left.

His putting comes and goes.

The faith hasn’t left him.

After ending the first round tied for 124th in a field of 128, Duval was asked why the game hasn’t driven him crazy, why he hasn’t given it up to spare himself the aggravation.

“Maybe I am insane,” he cracked leaving the scoring area. “Maybe it’s why I don’t get upset anymore. I just feel like I’ve seen a lot, experienced a lot and had a rough go of it for a few years, but I just know I’m close to doing everything I want to do again. It’s just a matter of patience, which is the hardest quality to have at this point, when you’ve put in a lot of work. It’s hard to be patient.”

Patience is another evolving strength in Duval’s game, and nobody who knew him growing up thought they’d ever say that.

Duval didn’t make his first birdie Thursday until his 16th hole of the day, but you wouldn’t have known it watching his body language. There were no thumped clubs, no kicked golf bags, no expletives leaping out of his mouth.

“Oh, I’m good for two pretty good explosions each year,” Duval said. “But I think I’ve gone through my two this year. I can still sail a club pretty good, but it’s a very rare thing for me to lose it like that now. I’ve never seen much in the purpose in it. I’m not a screamer or a cusser.”

At the 18th tee, Duval’s ninth hole of the day, he hit a smothered hook that was nearly a cold top. His ball nosedived into the left rough barely more than 125 yards off the tee. Duval’s reaction? He bowed his head and pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. That’s about as close as he came all day to showing his frustration in a round that included three bogeys, a double bogey and a single birdie.

“David used to be so serious,” said Bob Gedeon, Duval’s uncle, who followed him Thursday. “He poured his heart and soul into the game. He lost all that weight, became good friends with Tiger Woods. If you went out with him, he wouldn’t drink. Go out with him now, he’ll have a beer with you. He’s got his family he loves. He’s happy in life.”

When Duval spotted Gedeon after four holes, he walked over and hugged him at the ropes. Gedeon and Duval’s father, Bob, were teammates at Florida State in the ‘60s. Hubert Green was on that team, too.

“Bob was a great player,” Gedeon said. “Bob used to give Hubert a shot a side when they played in college. That’s how good Bob was.”

Gedeon and Bob Duval married sisters.

“We’re inlaws, but Bob calls us outlaws,” Gedeon said.

Gedeon spent a lot of time with David growing up. They fished and hunted together, and they played golf. Watching David hit that smothered hook at the ninth tee, Gedeon felt his nephew’s frustration.

“Days like this, your heart goes out to David,” Gedeon said. “David used to be able to take the left side of the golf course out of play. He had a swing where he could hit it as hard as he wanted with that fade. He started hitting the hook, and it affected his confidence.”

Gedeon will affirm what Duval’s told us, that his nephew’s faith and patience are bolstered by his wife, Susie, and their blended family of five.

“You think about it, and it’s crazy David lives in Denver ,” Gedeon said. “Golfers live in Florida and Arizona .”

But Denver was Susie’s home, and Gedeon says that’s where Duval’s heart is. Duval’s spoken more than once about how family is his motivation to return to form. He wants his children to see what made him special in golf. He isn’t playing for money anymore. It’s all about pride. You could see that in Thursday’s round. After making double bogey at his 15th hole, Duval was 5-over, but you would have thought he was contending in a major the way he grinded over his chip at the next hole. He didn’t have a birdie until getting up and down at his 16th hole, but he appeared to give his best effort over every shot.

“David will hit a couple bad drives, a couple bad irons, miss a couple putts, it’s not quite 100 percent,” said Davis Love III, who was paired with Duval on Thursday. “There are a lot of battles when you’re working your way back, but he has it in spurts.”

Duval believes those spurts will blossom into lengthy runs. His faith that will lead to a return to form sustains him.

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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.