2009 Is a Rim Out for David Duval

2009 Is a Rim Out for David Duval 1

CRAZY AS IT SEEMED, David Duval was in position to win at Bethpage Black in June. Duval was back from the golf doldrums, contending for a major. The U.S. Open, no less.

He was playing with resolve. After going four-over par on the first three holes of his final round, Duval had gotten all the strokes back by the time he reached the 17th tee. He reeled off three straight birdies on 14, 15 and 16. It was oddly familiar, for David was once the world’s No. 1 player and main Tiger Woods challenger.

On the 17th green, Duval stood over a par putt. As I remember it, it was a four or five-footer. There was no hesitation. He stroked it firmly. The putt hit the side of the hole, dipped down and spun out. It was unjust. He needed that putt. You might even say he deserved it, especially after all he had been through. But it didn’t fall. Duval went on to finish in a tie for second with Phil Mickelson and Ricky Barnes, two shots behind winner Lucas Glover. It was a fat check for David, who had made few cuts in recent years and banked little money. But it wasn’t a win, or a major, or an exemption, or redemption after years of wandering through a golf wasteland.

That rim out on the 17th green at Bethpage Black summed up 2009 for Duval. He was close, very close, to breaking back into the game in a big way. It didn’t quite happen.

It didn’t quite happen this week either at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic. Duval entered the tournament at No. 125 on the money list, the precarious final spot to earn full playing privileges for 2010. All he had to do was play well enough—and earn enough—to hold his spot. Instead, David missed the cut by seven shots.

What now?

Duval will more than likely lose his card, although his top 150 status will get him into a dozen or more events. His runner-up finish at this year’s U.S. Open and 2001 British Open title will get him into three majors in 2010. Just in case, he had already signed up for Q-school.

It’s not a position you want to be in, he said today after a 73 that followed a 76. It’s a position that’s all too familiar. The hoped-for comeback of David Duval plods on. 

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: Gusick/Flickr)

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Neil Sagebiel

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