Duval Starting Over in Texas

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David Duval sat in the press center in Hawaii Jan. 3 anxious to watch the NCAA National Championship football game, and excited about the prospects of the upcoming PGA Tour season.
 
I think Miami is going to kill (Nebraska), he correctly predicted as the Hurricanes beat the Cornhuskers 37-14.
 
But thats where his soothsayer talents faded, and thoughts turned into hopes.
 
As much as anything, Im hoping my health is good, he said. Since I injured my back a couple of years ago, I havent been on a stretch as long as I am now without having some type of little problem.
 
Im really looking forward to this year.
 
Now 4 1/2 months later, Duval exudes the same enthusiasm, perhaps because he once again feels his season is just beginning.
 
The first half of the 2002 campaign has basically been a wash for Duval. Hes competed in 10 events without recording a single top-10 finish. As has been the case in recent years, physical and personal complications have outshined his professional accomplishments.
 
Soon after finishing 12th at the Mercedes (his best result of the year), Duval injured his right shoulder while snowboarding in Sun Valley, Idaho. He ended an eight-year relationship with his fiance in late January. And he was forced to withdraw from the Nissan Open after a serious bout of food poisoning.
 
He also caught flack for withdrawing from the Phoenix Open for personal reasons and skipping the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am because of the inconsistencies in weather and course conditions.
 
All that disappointment and frustration culminated at the Masters Tournament, where, after four consecutive top-6 finishes, Duval missed the cut.
 
He has dropped from third, as the season began, to sixth in the Official World Golf Ranking. He is also 84th on the current money list.
 
Have all these things hindered my play? It probably has, he told The Associated Press last week. I just dont want to make excuses.
 
As much as anything, life has happened to me the last couple of years, the kind of things everybody has to deal with.
 
Since overtaking Tiger Woods for No. 1 in the world ranking in 1999, Duval has experienced back problems that sidelined him for 10 weeks in 2000; been entangled in a lawsuit with Titleist over breach-of-contract in 2001; suffered through tendonitis in his wrist the same year; and switched equipment.
 
Of course there were highlights. He rebounded from his two-and-a-half month layoff to win his first start back, the 2000 Buick Challenge. He also earned his first major championship by winning the 01 British Open.
 
The 30-year-old is now waiting for the tide to turn once again. Hes coming off his best performance since the Mercedes, having finished tied for 15th in last weeks Verizon Byron Nelson Classic.
 
Duval, flesh willing, expects to play in all but one event leading up to the U.S. Open at Bethpage. He then hopes to gear his game towards a successful defense at the British Open at Muirfield.
 
Im starting to have fun again, he said at this weeks MasterCard Colonial in Ft. Worth, Texas. The Nelson was the first time I have had fun playing golf in a while, so hopefully its a good sign that things are starting to turn around for me.
 
Full Coverage of the MasterCard Colonial