'Did I play nine?' Duval said. 'I'd like to play a couple of more times.'
He didn't return until the U.S. Open, played his third event at the PGA Championship and then returned to a regular schedule over the final two months of the season. Duval made three cuts, tied for 13th in the Deutsche Bank Championship and finished his short year with $121,044 ' more than he made in 20 starts last year.
What did he get out of his season?
'Regardless of how I did for the first couple, it goes to show that making dramatic changes can be difficult, but that the changes I made are the right thing,' Duval said. 'Unfortunately, the tournaments I really played well in, I didn't do anything else well ' I didn't chip well, didn't putt well. And the tournaments I did that in, I didn't hit it quite as good. I was doing all the things I needed to, I just didn't put it all together. It's still going to take a while.'
But it will have to wait.
Duval said he would continue working on his game and return in January ' at the Sony Open if the kids want to go to Hawaii, or maybe the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines.
Tom Lehman is thinking ahead to the '06 Ryder Cup, if not as a captain then a player. He already has let the PGA of America know he is interested in the captaincy, but won't lobby for the job.
'I don't think it's anybody's place to lobby for that position,' he said.
His desire to play on another Ryder Cup team comes with a caveat. Lehman first wants to win.
'I wouldn't want to play again if I wasn't winning,' Lehman said. 'If I didn't win a tournament the rest of my career and somehow snuck onto the team, I would be proud to be on the team ' but I'm not sure that's what the team needs. The team needs guys who are going out and kicking serious booty and winning.'
The U.S. team had four players who were at least 40 at Oakland Hills, but none had won this year. Jay Haas, at 50 the second-oldest player in Ryder Cup history, had not won in 11 years.
Ben Curtis won't be piling up the frequent flier miles next year.
Curtis took up full membership on the European tour, where he has a 10-year exemption from his victory in the '03 British Open. But it didn't pan out the way he had hoped, as he made only two cuts at the start of the season. It was enough travel to make the 27-year-old want to stay home next year.
'I'm just going to play over here,' Curtis said. 'It was just too tough. I had a great time, but I want to keep coming back to the same courses here and get (experience) under my belt. That can only help.'
Curtis wound up playing 26 times this year ' 20 on the PGA Tour, six in Europe ' and he says that's a good number for him. He still might play once in Europe next year, but the rest will be on the PGA Tour.
'I don't regret it,' he said. 'In the long run, I think it will be good.'
The LPGA Tour is going to Mexico twice next year. The $1 million Corona Morelia Championship will be played April 21-24 at Tres Marias Residential Golf Club in Michoacan. The tour earlier said the MasterCard Classic would be played March 4-6 at Bosque Real in Mexico City. ... Two former U.S. Amateur champions made it through the first stage of Q-school. Nick Flanagan of Australia ('03 Amateur) won his four-round stage on the TPC at Heron Bay, while Bubba Dickerson ('01) tied for 14th at Heron Bay. ... The World Cup is staying on the Iberian peninsula for two years. It will be held next month in Seville, Spain, and next year at Victoria Golf Club in Algarve, Portugal.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Olin Browne, who finished 130th on the PGA Tour money list in 2003, is playing in his 30th tournament of the year at the Chrysler Championship.
'When Tiger was playing great, they wanted to know about Tiger. When Vijay is playing great, they want to know about Vijay. I don't know Vijay. He's on the practice range, I'm goofing off. How am I going to get to meet him?' ' Kirk Triplett.
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