Fourteen years ago in the California desert, David Duval shot perhaps the greatest final round ever – a 13-under 59 to stun the field and win the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
Much has changed since carding golf’s magic number, of course. The former world No. 1 won his first major at the 2001 British Open, but then promptly saw his game disappear amid various injuries.
This year, for only the second time since 1995, Duval will not tee it up at PGA West, revealing Monday night that he was bypassed for a sponsor exemption by tournament officials at the Humana Challenge. The 41-year-old took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with the decision.
So it's official. I will not get a spot at the Humana.— David Duval (@david59duval) January 8, 2013
I guess having the defining moment in the history if the event doesn't matter.— David Duval (@david59duval) January 8, 2013
A few of his peers rushed to Duval’s defense on the social-media site.
Steve Flesch tweeted: “Rest assured DD, guys who got them are either still in college, built on hype, or best buddies with tourney dir. Political BS.”
John Cook added: “?@david59duval seriously DD?!! That makes me want to throw up a little. I guess Clinton got ahold of the registered voter list.”
Prior to 1999, all winners of the Hope received a lifetime exemption into the event. Since then, however, the winners receive a 10-year exemption. Duval won in ’99.
Duval has finished inside the top 125 in earnings just once in the last 10 seasons. Last season, he made the cut in only three of 17 events, but hopes to play in about a dozen Tour events this year to regain his status. Duval also tweeted that if he doesn’t receive a sponsor exemption into the Farmers Insurance Open, he will begin his season at Pebble Beach.
On Tuesday morning, after his Twitter account was inundated with responses to the news, Duval wrote: “Please don’t hate on the tournament. It holds a special place in my heart. It is an historical event for many reasons.”