Duval Making Progress On his Own Terms

By Associated PressJanuary 24, 2006, 5:00 pm
David Toms was curious, like so many others who get paired with David Duval.
They had not played together since the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage, where Duval was the reigning British Open champion. Duval shot 78 that day, the start of a spiral into one of the most mystifying slumps in golf.

Toms didn't know what went wrong. He only saw the scores.
Duval's five-year exemption on the PGA Tour from his British Open victory expires this season, something he was more aware of last year when he hit rock bottom. He shot more rounds in the 80s than the 60s, and the only cut he made in 20 starts on tour was a tie for 60th in the Texas Open.
It is important that he plays well this year, and his start to the season did not bode well. Fidgeting over his opening tee shot at the Sony Open, trying to find a posture that didn't cause his back to lock up, Duval hit a nasty hook that one-hopped off the driving range net and settled at the base of a palm tree.
Double bogey.
On the second hole, another wild hook. Toms raced to the front of the tree-lined tee box to see where Duval's drive crossed the water hazard in case there was a question where to drop. Instead, the ball bounced off the rocks on the other side of the 20-yard stream and landed in the third fairway.
Next tee.
'There you go,' Toms said to him as Duval's drive found the third fairway, this time on purpose.
'I didn't know what to expect,' Toms said later. 'He said he had been swinging well at home, and then he hurt his back when he got here. I could tell he was disappointed. He hit that first tee shot, the next one ... and then he started playing well. And on Friday, other than a couple of drives, he was in control of everything.'
No doubt, Duval is making progress.
He shot 68 to make the cut on the number at the Sony Open, which he later described as a baby step.
What felt more like a leap was how he got to the weekend at Waialae. One shot over the cut line with two holes to play, he stood on the tee with a strong wind against him and from the left on the par-4 eighth, the toughest conditions for him to hit a fairway that he couldn't afford to miss.
Duval went after it and hammered the ball down the middle, leading to a birdie chance he narrowly missed. Then he pounded another drive down the middle on the par-5 ninth, leaving him a 3-iron into the green for a two-putt birdie.
It was too early in the year, and too far from the lead, to feel any pressure.
But he felt it.
Duval compared the jangled nerves on the eighth tee at Waialae with what he felt on the 17th tee at Sawgrass in 1999, when he hit wedge into 6 feet on the island green to clinch The Players Championship, the victory that made him No. 1 in the world.
If he has the kind of year he expects, remember that hole.
'I don't think this answers whether I can get it back,' Duval said, mocking a question that has been making the rounds lately. 'But I still know how to play, how to compete. Standing on that tee, I knew I had to make at least one birdie, if not two. And you can't hit it as good as I did on those holes. The heat was there, and I did it.'
More proof came last week at the Bob Hope Classic.
Blown away by howling wind on a new golf course in the desert, he tumbled to a 78 in the second round. But he kept plugging along, and shot 64 with an insurance birdie on the last hole to make the cut again.
'Are there little steps or small victories involved? Sure, I guess,' Duval said. 'Buy my goal isn't to make cuts. I know I'm playing well enough to win tournaments. It's a matter of staying with it.'
Duval has had ample incentive to quit.
Injuries have been such a part of his career -- both shoulders, right wrist, the lower back -- that he is tired of talking about it. He is financially set and has never been happier. He dotes on his wife's three children, and he and Susie now travel with Brayden, a miracle son born to them last April.
He is driven to play well, even if he has a hard time explaining that to his skeptics.
His goals might not be the same as those watching him, or even those against whom he competes. There is no greater thrill in golf than holding a trophy, something he hasn't done since Japan at the end of 2001.
But that hardly constitutes fulfillment.
Duval figured that out a few weeks after he claimed possession of the claret jug, the oldest trophy in golf.
'People who play the sport are viewed differently, more as entities than people,' he said. 'Their desires and goals should be about winning, and I guess I bought into it a little bit. But I've always just wanted to see how good I could be, and who knows what that measurement should be? I still have many years to find out.
'I know I was the best player in the world,' he said. 'I still feel like, if I'm healthy, I can be one of the better players -- whether that's top five, 10, 20, whatever.'
There is a long road ahead, and Duval is making progress only he can measure.
He went through four swing coaches in four years before reuniting last year with college coach Puggy Blackmon. His swing is looking closer to what it was in 2001, when he came within two putts of keeping Tiger Woods from his fourth consecutive major at the Masters, then captured a major of his own at Royal Lytham.
He is not worried about keeping his card.
'I feel like I won the golf swing battles,' Duval said. 'Now it's a matter of building confidence again.'
Related links:
  • David Duval Photo Gallery
  • Golf, by George - Duval Goes to the End and Back
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    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”