Duval returns to scene of 2001 British Open win

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2012, 12:15 pm

This week at Royal Lytham & St. Annes David Duval returns to the top of the mountain. Or maybe the seaside links was rock bottom; it’s difficult to tell when you are examining a career dotted with equal parts peaks and valleys.

At the time the claret jug slipped into Duval’s hands with surprising ease. In 1999 he’d scaled to the top of the world golf ranking and had rifled off 11 victories in 34 starts. When he arrived on the English coast in 2001 Duval was the consensus “best player without a major” and by the time he birdied the 13th hole late Sunday the closing lineup quickly turned into a coronation.

But for Duval his three-stroke victory was all at once pinnacle and tipping point.


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Imagine a singular lifetime focus cascading into a momentary blur of emotions and epiphanies. Imagine scaling the mountain only to discover that the view was just as good at base camp.

David Duval, machine-like in his prime and virtually emotionless, was almost immediately consumed by a haunting notion: Is this it?

Some of Duval’s post-Open letdown had to do with how imperfect his performance had been at Royal Lytham. He was slicing the ball so badly that week that he refused to go to the practice tee when the wind was blowing from left to right and the “best shot of his career” was a 6-iron from the left rough at the long par-4 15th hole to 16 feet for a two-putt par.

Not exactly the kind of heroic tale one would expect from a player with Duval’s pedigree.

“It’s a lot easier than I’ve been making it,” Duval recalled in an interview with Golf Channel earlier this year. “I certainly won that golf tournament without playing my best golf or at least the way I wanted to play.”

But the emotional letdown that followed his Open victory ran deeper than simply a “B” game breakthrough. His dogged pursuit of perfection had delivered the claret jug but virtually no clarity of thought.

The official line on Duval’s post-2001 British Open career is riddled with injuries large and small that sent the one-time boy wonder spiraling into a professional abyss, but the armchair psychologist will suggest it was a broken heart that essentially fueled the slump.

“That existence to me, in the end, is a miserable one,” Duval said. “It’s a solitary existence. That pursuit of greatness trying to get as good as you can get, you pay a price for it in some way. I don’t know if it’s with your soul or your psyche.”

In retrospect it seems Duval left a bit of his soul on Lytham’s 18th green that glorious Sunday. He’d reached Valhalla only to discover that he had no interest in hero worship.

As if on cue, Duval met Susie Persichitte shortly after Lytham and the two were married in March 2004. Susie had three children from a previous marriage and the couple quickly added two more to the family.

As if overnight one of the Tour’s most determined, some would even say detached, competitors had gone quality of life.

“I have tremendous guilt when I leave because I know how hard it is to run the house,” Duval said. “I hate having to leave but that is the lifestyle that comes with this job.”

As rewarding as his newfound home front is, it now is apparent that some part of the competitor was lost during the transition.

Last year Duval finished outside the top 125 in earnings for the eighth time in his last nine seasons. There were flashes of the Duval of old, like his runner-up showings at the 2009 U.S. Open and 2010 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, but the consistency that defined the early part of his career was gone.

The ultimate scorecard came by way of the world ranking, In less than 10 years Duval tumbled from No. 1 in the world to No. 882.

In 2007 and ’09 he played the Tour on one-time career money list exemptions (top 25 and top 50) and in ’08 he was exempt via a major medical exception. Last year Duval finished 152nd in earnings and came up short in December at Q-School.

For all his struggles, however, Duval’s mind remains willing. He still envisions the kind of golf he played when he reached the peak in 2001 at Lytham, only this time there will be family waiting on the 18th green to celebrate with him.

“It’s been a long process but it’s not over,” Duval said. “I haven’t put myself in a position to say I’m all the way back. I feel a little premature talking about it but I feel confident in what I’m doing again.”

It’s worth noting that of Duval’s 13 PGA Tour titles it is the claret jug that remains perched in the office of his Denver home. It is, like Duval, a bit tarnished but still resolute. It’s also worth pointing out that the 2001 Open was Duval’s last Tour victory, news that seems to surprise Duval.

“Was it?” he asked. “If that’s my last win then it’s a good one.”

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Chamblee: Like Tiger in '13, Mickelson should've DQ'd self

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 19, 2018, 2:46 pm

Two days after Brooks Koepka left Long Island with the U.S. Open trophy, the third-round antics of Phil Mickelson are still garnering plenty of discussion.

Mickelson became a lightning rod of opinion after he intentionally hit a moving ball on the 13th green Saturday at Shinnecock Hills, incurring a two-shot penalty but not a disqualification. In the aftermath, he explained that he made a conscious choice to take the penalty to avoid playing back and forth across the crispy putting surface, and he tied for 48th after a final-round 66.

Speaking Tuesday on "Morning Drive," Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee shared his view that Mickelson would have been well-served to disqualify himself ahead of the final round. He also compared it to Tiger Woods' incident at the 2013 Masters, when he took an incorrect drop and, like Mickelson, received a two-shot penalty but not a disqualification.



"I think Tiger, at least it's my opinion that his year would have been less distracting if he had done so," Chamblee said. "And I think the same of Phil Mickelson. If he had withdrawn from the championship and said, 'Look. This is a little sketchy. It didn't play out the way I thought. I've given it some thought and it's in the best interest of the championship that I withdraw.'"

Chamblee added that Mickelson's antics were "really distracting" on a day filled with drama as the USGA lost control of course conditions, noting that Mickelson and playing partner Andrew "Beef" Johnston were the only tee time where both players failed to break 80 despite the difficult conditions.

But having had time to review the situation and having surveyed a number of peers, Chamblee is as convinced as ever that Mickelson made a mistake by showing up for his final-round tee time.

"What Phil did, I haven't run into a single person that hasn't said he deserved to be disqualified," Chamblee said. "Under any interpretation, a serious breach - if gaining an advantage is not a serious breach, I don't know what is. And he clearly said he was gaining an advantage and doing it for strategic reasons."

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Norman to pose in ESPN's 'Body Issue'

By Grill Room TeamJune 19, 2018, 2:05 pm

Professional golfers have, from time to time, appeared in ESPN's "Body Issue," which features athletes strategically posed in the nude. The list includes: Belen Mozo, Carly Booth, Gary Player, Camilo Villegas, Sandra Gal, Christina Kim, Anna Grzebien, Suzann Pettersen and Sadena Parks.

And now, Greg Norman.

Modesty has never been an issue for Norman, who has an affinity for posing without a shirt (and sometimes without pants) on his Instagram account.

He joins a list of athletes, in this year's edition, ranging from professional wrestlers (Charlotte Flair) to Olympians (Adam Rippon) to WNBA stars (Sue Bird). Click here for a full list of the athletes to appear.

 

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DJ listed as betting favorite for The Open

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 2:00 pm

With the U.S. Open officially in the books, oddsmakers quickly turned their attention to the season's third major.

Minutes after Brooks Koepka holed the winning putt to successfully defend his title at Shinnecock Hills, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook published its first set of odds for The Open. Jordan Spieth, who opened at 14/1, will defend his title as the tournament shifts to Carnoustie in Scotland for the first time since 2007, when Padraig Harrington defeated Sergio Garcia in a playoff.

Joining Spieth at 14/1 is 2014 Open champion Rory McIlroy, but they're both listed behind world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Johnson, who was a runner-up at the 2011 Open at Royal St. George's and just finished third at the U.S. Open, opened as a 12/1 betting favorite. Koepka, now a two-time major winner, is listed at 20/1 alongside U.S. Open runner-up Tommy Fleetwood.

Here's a look at the first edition of odds, with The Open just five weeks away:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

14/1: Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy

16/1: Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas

20/1: Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama

40/1: Phil Mickelson, Branden Grace, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Marc Leishman

50/1: Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Tyrrell Hatton

60/1: Matt Kuchar, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Ian Poulter, Francesco Molinari, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick

80/1: Tony Finau, Zach Johnson, Thomas Pieters, Daniel Berger, Xander Schauffele, Bubba Watson, Shane Lowry

100/1: Charl Schwartzel, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker

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Golf Channel, Loch Lomond Partner on Claret Jug Tour Ahead of 147TH Open

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJune 18, 2018, 9:35 pm

Award-Winning Independent Scotcb Whisky Sponsoring Tour to Select U.S. Cities; Will Include Special Tastings and Opportunities for Fans to Engage with Golf’s Most Storied Trophy

Golf Channel and Loch Lomond Group are partnering on a promotional tour with the Claret Jug – golf’s most iconic trophy, first awarded in 1873 to the winner of The Open – to select U.S. cities in advance of the 147TH Open at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland. Loch Lomond Whisky’s sponsorship of the tour further enhances the brand’s existing five-year partnership with the R&A as the official spirit of The Open, initially announced in February.

“We are proud to partner with Golf Channel to support this tour of golf’s most iconic trophy,” said Colin Matthews, CEO of Loch Lomond Group. “Whisky and golf are two of Scotland’s greatest gifts to the world, and following the news of our recent partnership with the R&A for The Open, being a part of the Claret Jug tour was a perfect fit for Loch Lomond Group to further showcase our commitment to the game.”

“The Loch Lomond Group could not be a more natural fit to sponsor the Claret Jug tour,” said Tom Knapp, senior vice president of golf sponsorship, NBC Sports Group. “Much like the storied history that accompanies the Claret Jug, Loch Lomond’s Scottish roots trace back centuries ago, and their aspirations to align with golf’s most celebrated traditions will resonate with a broad range of consumers in addition to golf fans and whisky enthusiasts.”

The tour kicks off today in Austin, Texas, and will culminate on Wednesday, July 11 at the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe one week prior to The Open. Those wishing to engage with the Claret Jug will have an opportunity at one of several tour stops being staged at Topgolf locations in select cities. The tour will feature a custom, authentic Scottish pub where consumers (of age) can sample Loch Lomond’s portfolio of whiskies in the spirit of golf’s original championship and the Claret Jug. The Claret Jug also will make special pop-up visits to select GolfNow course partners located within some of the designated tour markets.

(All Times Local)

Monday, June 18                    Austin, Texas              (Topgolf, 5:30-8:30 p.m.)

Tuesday, June 19                    Houston                      (Topgolf, 5-8 p.m.)

Wednesday, June 20               Jacksonville, Fla.        (Topgolf, 6-9 p.m.)

Monday, June 25                    Orlando, Fla.               (Topgolf, 6-9 p.m.)

Wednesday, July 4                 Washington D.C.        (Topgolf, 5:30-8:30 p.m. – Ashburn, Va.)

Monday, July 9                       Edison, N.J.                (Topgolf, Time TBA)

Wednesday, July 11               Lake Tahoe, Nev.       American Century Championship (On Course)

Fans interacting with the Claret Jug and Loch Lomond during the course of the tour are encouraged to share their experience using the hashtag, #ClaretJug on social media, and tag @TheOpen and @LochLomondMalts on Twitter and Instagram.

NBC Sports Group is the exclusive U.S. television home of the 147TH Open from Carnoustie, with nearly 50 live hours of tournament coverage, Thursday-Sunday, July 19-22. The Claret Jug is presented each July to the winner of The Open, with the winner also being given the title of “Champion Golfer of the Year” until the following year’s event is staged. The Claret Jug is one of the most storied trophies in all of sports; first presented to the 1873 winner of The Open, Tom Kidd. Each year, the winner’s name is engraved on to the trophy, forever etched into the history of golf’s original championship. It is customary for the Champion Golfer of the Year to drink a favorite alcoholic beverage from the Claret Jug in celebration of the victory.