Gotcha, he said with a smile to those around him.
Due to tendinitis in his right wrist, Duval hasnt been able to play tournament golf since the Genuity Championship at Doral five weeks ago.
While spending five hours a day on the range in preparation for his stretch run to the Masters, Duval developed the tendinitis. He has since withdrawn from the Bay Hill Invitational and The Players Championship. He also skipped this past weeks BellSouth Classic, which he won in 1999.
Duval said he took a cortisone shot last Monday to reduce swelling, and plans to play a limited practice schedule for the remainder of the week.
Its gotten better every day, Duval said of his wrist. I want to play some golf.
Though hes yet to win, Duval has had past success in Augusta.
He tied for second in the 1998 Masters. It appeared as if he and Fred Couples were headed to a playoff, until Mark OMeara birdied three of his final four holes to snatch away the green jacket.
In 1999, he tied for sixth. Last year, he tied for third. Duval had an excellent chance to record his maiden major triumph in 2000. In strong pursuit of Vijay Singh, Duval hit a perfect tee shot on the par-5 13th. He then stood in the fairway trying to decide with which club to attack the green. He chose 5-iron. His approach shot from 196 yards came up short, and wet.
Duval carded a bogey and never caught the eventual champion.
Duval talks to the press after the 2000 Masters
Its been a tumultuous beginning to the 2001 season for Duval. Hes slipped to eighth on the Official World Golf Ranking. Hes played in only five events, missing the cut twice and finishing out of the top 50 on two other occasions.
Duval hasnt found solace off the course either. Hes been burdened with a lawsuit from Titleist for breach-of-contract.
Yet despite all the misfortune, Duval is confident coming into the seasons first major.
I expect a lot, he said. I feel like when I hurt my hand I was swinging the golf club the best I have all year.
I feel like I have just as good a chance to win this tournament as I did last year, and the year before that, and the year before that.
Full Coverage of the 2001 Masters Tournament