Maybe his luck is changing.
The former British Open champion hasnt played in a tournament since then. But two weeks ago in British Columbia, Duval bagged a 45-pound king salmon with an eight-weight fly rod while filming an outdoors show for ESPN that will air in January. It was two pounds shy of the listed world record.
Maybe Duvals luck is changing.
Maybe by January his back will be healthy again and he will begin the long, slow climb back to the top of mens professional golf. In 1999 he rose to the top of the world rankings. Today he sits at No. 173.
Duvals record in 2003 includes 15 missed cuts and 2 withdrawals in 19 events. He has battled vertigo, a dodgy neck and an inquiring public.
These days he is taking it easy. He is practicing, when the back allows. He is spending time in Sun Valley, Idaho, his home away from his Florida home. And he is catching big fish.
He may play in Las Vegas next week. He may not. He may play in Asia before the end of the year. He may not.
This is all part of getting his batteries recharged, said a source close to Duval Tuesday.
Its that time of year when players who havent gotten what they wanted out of 2003 already are planning for 2004.
Casey Martin has played 16 events on the Nationwide Tour in 2003 and missed eight cuts. The $15,945 he has won ranks him 157th on the money list. As recently as 1998 he was a winner on the Nationwide Tour.
Last week he tied for 24th at Rancho Cucamonga. It was his best finish of the year. Maybe his luck is changing. Martins immediate goal is the second stage of Q-School in Seaside, Calif., Nov. 19-22.
If he doesnt advance, you cant help but wonder how long Martin, who suffers from a degenerative circulatory disorder in his leg called Klippel-Trenauney-Webber Syndrome, will pursue his golf dreams.
I dont think anybody can answer that question with Q-School directly in front of them, said Martins agent, Chris Murray. These guys thrive on hope.
Murray says Martin is doing well financially despite his recent poor earnings from golf. Hes bought two big things, Murray said. A car and a townhouse. He gives a lot of his money to his church.
Martin is 31 years old, same as David Duval.
Australian James McLean is only 25. But he, too, is pointing to the second stage of Q-School and looking ahead to 2004.
McLean, the former NCAA individual champion from the University of Minnesota and one of the PGA Tours longest hitters, is currently chilling in the Cities watching the Twins play the Yankees and nursing a wrist that is swathed in a soft cast. Calcium build-up in the wrist has forced McLean off the tour.
Doctors have managed to avoid surgery as a last resort for McLean. But they say his condition is unique. They may have to operate eventually.
Meanwhile, the best players in the world this year have convened in nearby Atlanta for the WGC-American Express Championship. There is this matter of Player of the Year yet to be determined. It probably wont be settled until the final round of the Tour Championship, Nov. 9 in Houston.
At the moment, they have bigger fish to fry.
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