Disney Taught Duval How To Persevere
The number had grown to 0-for-92. He had come so close so many times, but as a professional, you had to wonder when it would happen.
And then ' voila ' he won at Kingsmill in 1997. And one week later the floodgates swung open again at the Walt Disney World Classic. Duval won again, and you wondered if he ever was going to lose.
Duval was to go on a tear of seven wins in 13 months, but in October of 97, he had just won his debut event and was about to go into another. Winning was still new, even a little weird. He had won many times in college, even been a rare four-time All-American, and he had won on the Buy.Com (then Nike) Tour. But for nearly three years on the regular tour, he had known nothing but heartbreak and near misses.
Then, suddenly, he went to Disney a tournament winner.
Two and four-fifths of a year on Tour, I didnt win a golf tournament, Duval explained. However, I had the opportunity to win ' I dont know ' probably a dozen tournaments up until then. Some of them I was close to the lead starting the final day, so I had many opportunities.
And the point Im getting at is that, once I learned how and figured how to do it, I havent done anything differently. I just continued to get it that position where I have an opportunity to win.
He had broken through at Kingsmill in a playoff against Duffy Waldorf and Grant Waite. He came down to Disney at Orlando and, after three holes at the short Lake Buena Vista course, he found himself at 2-over-par.
It kind of woke me up and made me realize I had another tournament to play in, he said. Obviously I came to town walking about two inches off the ground, but once the tournament started, it kind of knocked me to the ground and woke me up.
He finished that first day by eventually recording nine birdies, which turned his 2-over into 7-under. Duval was tied for second, one shot behind Payne Stewart.
Following a second round in which he shot 70, he fell down the ladder to five shots behind Stewart. But a third-round 66, 6-under-par, put him solidly in second place. Beginning Sunday, he was only two shots out of the lead held by Len Mattiace.
In the fourth round, all the things that used to turn defeats ' suddenly turned into successes. On the 71st hole, he hit an errant drive with a 3-wood, but the ball hit a tree and bounded out in the fairway. He bogeyed the 72nd, and in the old days, either one of those would be enough to send him spiraling down out of contention.
Not at Disney. He grittily hung in there and was still alive, going into a playoff with Dan Forsman. On the first hole, though, Duval again encountered trouble. He knocked his approach into a bunker, then compounded his difficulties by hitting a lukewarm bunker shot.
He still had life, however, when Forsmans approach shot died in a horrible lie near the green. Forsman flubbed his chip shot, Duval stroked his 15-foot putt dead in the center, and suddenly it was over. Duval, who up to now couldnt buy a win with a million dollars, suddenly couldnt lose even when he was botching the three final holes.
Im motivated by my potential, whatever that is, he said. I know now what it feels like. And I know this is turning into a good streak.
Duvals victories at Kingsmill and Disney were the impetus that kick-started him onto a year-long run that didnt stop until he had passed Tiger Woods and reached No. 1 in the world. He, incidentally, was the last one to reach that lofty goal until Woods regained the top rung in 1999.
Once I learned how and figured out how to do it, I havent done anything different, Duval said. When I have an opportunity to win now, I feel more comfortable about closing the deal now. Instead of not finishing them off, I have.
Duval has battled injuries the past two years, primarily a problematic back. Outside expectations are not necessarily high for me right now, he says.
Yet he himself has high expectations. But even when he was finishing in the runner-up position, he felt he was doing something that only one man in the entire field had done.
I think ' and I still think ' that most people dont understand that if you finish second in a PGA Tour event, youve played very, very well, said Duval. Its nothing to hang your head about. Youve played great golf, and made a few putts, but you might have come up a shot or two short. Theres nothing to hang your head low about in that situation.
Garcia among bubble boys keeping playoff hopes alive
Sergio Garcia gave himself a chance to keep his perfect FedExCup Playoffs record going with his rally Friday at the Wyndham Championship.
D.A. Points moved into position to make a historic leap into the postseason.
And Johnson Wagner dunked his last shot of the day from long range to keep his hopes of making the playoffs alive.
But the day didn’t end nearly as well for Tyrone Van Aswegen’s FedExCup hopes.
Van Aswegen didn’t do himself any favors trying to hold on to the 125th spot on the FedExCup points list. He missed the cut by a shot.
Only the top 125 advance to The Northern Trust and next week’s start to the playoffs.
Van Aswegen wasn’t alone among “bubble boys” missing the cut. No. 122 Jhonattan Vegas, No. 123 Seamus Power, No. 124 Martin Piller, No. 126 Chad Campbell and No. 127 Robert Garrigus all failed to make the weekend.
Garcia is among 13 players who have advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs every year since they began in 2007, but his run was in jeopardy of ending starting the week. He’s 131st on the FedExCup points list
With a 65 Friday following his opening round 66, Garcia is in more than a great position to advance. He’s in position to win the Wyndham. He is tied for fourth, five shots off the lead. The day ended with Garcia projected to move up to 118th on the FedExCup points list.
“I'm just going to try to keep building on the things that I did well these first two days,” Garcia said. “Whatever happens, happens. Like I said at the beginning of the week, if I have a great weekend, then it will be great. If I don't have a great weekend, it will still be great because
I'll get to rest.”
Points started the week 214th on the FedExCup points list. With back-to-back 64s, he trails only Brandt Snedeker going into the weekend. He’s projected to move to 81st in points. Nobody has ever started the Wyndham Championship that far back in points and qualified for the playoffs. Davis Love III was 186th when he won and advanced in 2015.
Wagner, 136th on the FedExCup points list, went to spectacular lengths Friday to keep his playoff hopes alive. He was outside the cut line until holing his 153-yard approach at the last.
Bill Haas, who is among those 13 players to have qualified for the playoffs every year, started the week 150th in points. He can keep his perfect playoff record going with a big weekend. He shot 68 Friday to make the cut. He’s tied for 52nd in the tournament.
Points two back after missing 16 of 17 cuts
What’s the better story come Sunday?
Brandt Snedeker turning his 59 in the opening round into a victory at the Wyndham Championship?
Or D.A. Points winning after missing 16 cuts in his last 17 starts?
They’re both scripts in the works at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.
Points, who has been struggling this season with a herniated disc that causes numbness in his fingers, has broken through his season-long funk to shoot back-to-back 64s. He starts the weekend in second place, two shots behind Snedeker.
“It's been difficult,” Points said of his slump. “It's been hard on my family. I was in this position a couple years ago, and I clawed my way back and won in Puerto Rico.
“I had that big downturn, and I clawed my way out of it just to find myself way back down in another deep hole again.”
Points, 41, is a three-time PGA Tour winner. He won his first title playing alongside Bill Murray at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2011 and two years later won the Shell Houston Open. He slipped into a three-year funk after that, before rebuilding his game and winning the Puerto Rico Open last year.
“Hopefully, this is my way of starting to claw back out,” Points said.
New 'Mr. 59' Snedeker needs Day 2 rally to keep Wyndham lead
Brandt Snedeker struggled coming off the emotional high that comes with shooting 59, but it didn’t stop him from rallying Friday to try to turn his historic round into a victory at the Wyndham Championship.
After a sluggish start to the second round, Snedeker caught fire on the back nine at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., to take the lead going into the weekend.
With a 3-under 67, Snedeker moved to 14 under overall, two shots ahead of D.A. Points (64).
“I knew it was going to be tough” Snedeker said. “It wasn't going to be the same way it was yesterday. Kind of battling the emotion of everybody pulling hard for you, wanting to see you do it again. So the front nine was disappointing.”
A day after becoming the ninth player in PGA Tour history to post a sub-60 tournament round, Snedeker opened with three bogeys and two birdies on the front nine. He said it was a struggle to begin anew.
“You hear people telling you every two seconds, `Mr. 59,’ or saying how cool it was to watch it,” Snedeker said. “Phone's still blowing up this morning, guys in the locker room are still talking to me about it. So, yes, totally on your mind. You can't ignore it. You can't try to forget about it. Hardest thing is trying to get back into a rhythm.”
Snedeker did with an eagle and two birdies on the back nine. Rolling in a 30-foot eagle putt at the 15th gave him back the lead he lost earlier in the round.
“To see that go in was huge,” Snedeker said.
Not every player to break 60 on the PGA Tour has gone on to win. In fact, Snedeker is looking to become just the fifth player to do so.
Garwood (64) leads Dick's Sporting Goods Open
ENDICOTT, N.Y. - Doug Garwood birdied the final three holes for an 8-under 64 and the first-round lead Friday in the Dick's Sporting Goods Open.
The 55-year-old Garwood had nine birdies and a bogey, playing his final nine holes - the front nine at En-Joie Golf Club - in 6-under 31.
''Drove it well, hit the irons well, pitched well, putted well, thought well,'' Garwood said. ''I got to a point I was just making birdies and I kind of lost track of how it was going,'' Garwood said. ''That's always a good thing.''
He won the 2016 SAS Championship for his lone PGA Tour Champions title.
"I haven't been playing great this year, but I've been working hard on my game and things I've been working on are paying off,'' Garwood said. ''My golf, I take it a shot at a time, don't think about too far in advance because you really can't control, you know, the 13th hole tomorrow. It's just about the tee shot on No. 1.''
Michael Bradley and Marco Dawson shot 65, Woody Austin and Clark Dennis followed at 66, and Bob Estes and Tom Gillis were at 67.
''It was a good day,'' Bradley said. ''I've traditionally not driven the ball well here and you've got to drive the ball good here to shoot a good score. I drove the ball well and made a few putts, so that was that.''
Kenny Perry, the 3M Championship winner two weeks ago in Minnesota, had a 68. Bernard Langer and Miguel Angel Jimenez each shot 70. Langer won the 2014 tournament. Jimenez is coming off a victory at St. Andrews in the British Senior Open.
Defending champion Scott McCarron had a 72. Kevin Sutherland also had a 72. He shot the only 59 in PGA Tour Champions history in the 2014 event. John Daly, the winner of the PGA Tour's 1992 B.C. Open at En-Joie, opened with a 73.