Duval Looking to Start Winning Again

By Associated PressAugust 10, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 PGA ChampionshipKOHLER, Wis. -- Five years ago at the PGA Championship, they were No. 1 and No. 2 in the world.
It was the last time Tiger Woods was chasing anyone in the world rankings.
On Tuesday, he was guiding David Duval around the front nine at Whistling Straits during an early morning practice round at the PGA Championship. Woods had his left hand around Duval's shoulder, and with his right hand pointed the grip of his driver in the direction of the fourth fairway, located somewhere beyond a million bunkers.
Duval took a big cut and no one flinched. The ball soared into the gray skies down the right side of the 493-yard hole, and the wind gently brought it back to the short grass.
'Fairway,' Woods said as if he was giving a progress report.
It was the first time they have played together since the first two rounds of the Nissan Open last year at Riviera, back when Duval's demise was only a rumor.
'As far as the way he's playing, I think he's on the right track,' Woods said. 'He's hitting some golf shots now that are solid, they are controlled. And the cool thing about him, you could see the excitement level is back.
'He will get back,' Woods said. 'There's no doubt about it.'
There have been plenty of reasons to doubt Duval would return to the level that brought him 13 victories, including The Players Championship in 1999 that took him to No. 1 in the world, and a British Open title in 2001 that cemented his status as one of the best in the game.
Not many could have imagined that silver claret jug would be the last of his PGA Tour victories.
Five years after Duval was No. 1 in the world going into the '99 PGA, he has plunged to No. 512.
He is newly married, happier than ever and realizes there is much more to life than chasing around a little white golf ball, all the more reason to believe his best days on the golf course are behind him.
And then there was Shinnecock Hills.
Duval ended his seven-month break from the PGA Tour at the toughest test in golf, but he looked like a ceremonial golfer at the U.S. Open. He shot rounds of 83-82 and smiled his way around the course, the kind of golf expected out of 75-year-old Arnold Palmer, not a 32-year-old entering the prime of his career.
'I enjoyed being out there,' he said at Shinnecock. 'All in all, I would call it an enormous victory.'
But there was something different about Duval on Tuesday, his first trip around Whistling Straits. His tee shots were long and relatively straight. The applause he heard was not from fans just happy to see him, but fans impressed by shots that stopped so close to the pin.
'I feel great,' Duval said after his round. 'I'm going to play well.'
Just as importantly, Duval is going to play more often.
He plans to play in the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston on Labor Day weekend, and probably the Canadian Open at Glen Abbey the following week. Duval wants to play three more times the rest of the season, then resume a full schedule next year and see where it leads him.
'As I stand right now, I think I can win tournaments,' Duval said.
The practice round with Woods and Mark O'Meara was no accident. Duval could not recall the last time he practiced with Woods, joking that 'I haven't played any practice rounds.'
He and Woods have been good friends since their rivalry reached a peak five years ago. He stays at O'Meara's house whenever he plays at Disney.
But the common friend in their group Tuesday was Hank Haney, the swing coach for O'Meara who also has been working with Woods the last several months.
Duval is his latest client.
At O'Meara's recommendation, Duval first met with Haney two weeks ago in Texas. The timing is intriguing, especially since Haney has a cover story in latest issue of Golf Digest magazine called, 'How I Cured My Driver Yips.'
'I believe driver yips - not fatigue, stress or some mechanical swing problem - have sabotaged the careers of David Duval, Seve Ballesteros and Ian Baker-Finch,' Haney writes.
Now, Haney is trying to fix one of them.
Duval already has changed to a weaker grip, and is starting to see the results. The biggest problem he has is learning how far he can expect each club to go, because an effort to gain more control has cost him some of the pop in his irons.
Duval shot a 66 at Vaquero, Haney's home course outside Dallas, a few weeks ago with not many trips into the high grass. Haney believes Duval can recover enough of his game to be a regular winner again, and not the second coming of another British Open champion - Baker-Finch.
'I'm just seeing if I can get it headed in the right direction,' Haney said. 'It's like there are two doors in your brain, and you're opening the wrong door. But it's in there.'
Where it leads when the right door is opened is anyone's guess, but Duval is eager to find out.
That's the first step.
Related Links:
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    Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

    By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

    There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

    The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

    Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

    If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

    “The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

    The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

    Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

    Getty Images

    Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

    There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

    Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

    While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

    Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

    1. Brooks Koepka

    2. Dustin Johnson

    3. Patrick Reed

    4. Justin Thomas

    5. Jordan Spieth

    6. Rickie Fowler

    7. Bubba Watson

    8. Webb Simpson


    9. Bryson DeChambeau

    10. Phil Mickelson

    11. Matt Kuchar

    12. Brian Harman

    On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

    Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

    European Points

    1. Tyrrell Hatton

    2. Justin Rose

    3. Tommy Fleetwood

    4. Francesco Molinari


    5. Thorbjorn Olesen

    6. Ross Fisher

    World Points

    1. Jon Rahm

    2. Rory McIlroy

    3. Alex Noren

    4. Matthew Fitzpatrick


    5. Ian Poulter

    6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

    @jenamsims on Instagram

    Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

    By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

    Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

    The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.

    The second is from Sunday night.

    And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

    Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.

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    Koepka moves to No. 4 in world with U.S. Open win

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:05 pm

    After successfully defending his U.S. Open title, Brooks Koepka reached a new career high in the Official World Golf Ranking.

    Koepka held off Tommy Fleetwood to win by a shot Sunday at Shinnecock Hills, becoming the first player to go back-to-back in nearly 30 years. As a result, he jumped five spots in the latest rankings to No. 4, six spots higher than he reached with last year's U.S. Open victory at Erin Hills.

    Fleetwood finished alone in second place and moved up two spots to No. 10, tying his career-best placement. Patrick Reed moved up two spots to No. 11 by finishing fourth, while fifth-place Tony Finau went from No. 37 to No. 31.

    Updated Official World Golf Ranking

    It was a largely quiet week in the rankings despite the fact that a major championship was contested. Outside of Koepka and Finau, the only other player inside the top 50 to move up or down more than three spots was Jason Dufner, who went from 53rd to 48th with a T-25 finish.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Koepka and Jordan Spieth. Jon Rahm dropped one spot to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Fleetwood rounding out the top 10. Hideki Matsuyama fell two spots to No. 12, dropping out of the top 10 for the first time since October 2016.

    Despite a missed cut at Shinnecock, Tiger Woods actually moved up one spot to No. 79 in the latest rankings. He plans to play the Quicken Loans National and The Open in the coming weeks, which will be his final two chances to move into the top 50 in time to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The event is being held for the final time this summer at Firestone Country Club, where Woods has won eight times.