Duval Sees First Signs of Success

RSS

Vijay Singh elbowed Tiger Woods out of the way Monday for the coveted No. 1 spot on the Official World Golf Ranking list. But you will be hard pressed to find a player feeling any better about himself right now than David Duval.
 
Duval fired a 4-under par 67 Monday in the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC of Boston to finish tied for 13th. Once upon a time it was Duval who unseated Woods from the No. 1 spot. But that was before injuries and related swing troubles ushered in a swift fall from golfing grace.
 
Mondays round was the first in the 60s for Duval in a PGA Tour event in 15 months. The check he received for his top 15 ($93,750) was worth more than all the ones he earned in an horrific 2003 season that saw him play 20 events and total less than 85 grand.
 
Earlier this year Duval married a woman, who had three children from a previous marriage. They moved into a new house in Denver. His health'most notably back problems'improved. He played his first event of the year at the U.S. Open at Shinnecock and missed the cut by a million. He withdrew from the British Open with more back trouble. He played at The International near his new home and missed the cut there, too. Ditto for the next week at the PGA Championship.
 
Then he got with Texas-based instructor Hank Haney. Haney, who has spent much of the summer saying he is NOT Tiger Woods new swing coach, changed Duvals grip from strong to neutral. That forced swing changes. The goal was to take the hook out of the equation.
 
So far so good.
 
Lots of changes, says Charley Moore, Duvals manager. You get the sense that with family and health and contentment of life back in their proper places that Davids golf now has a chance to emerge.
 
Duval is entered in this weeks Bell Canadian Open. And Moore said he expects Duval to play in two or three events after next week. If everything continues to move in the right direction, Moore said it would not be out of the question to see Duval playing a full schedule in 2005.
 
The relationship with Haney is not one that needs constant monitoring. Haney basically laid out the necessary changes in Texas. And he isnt expected to travel to events, at least not on a regular basis, to be with Duval.
 
This arrangement should suit the independent-minded Duval.
 
He is not within shouting distance of the top any more. But his world ranking did climb back to 451 Monday.
 
Dont be surprised if he cracks the top 100 early in 2005.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt