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Welcome Back David Duval

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I must admit, I waited impatiently for a few days to post this congratuations because I did not want to take anything away from Lucas Glover’s spectacular and much deserved win this past weekend at the US Open. I would be lying if I told you that’s what this short story is about. It’s not. It is about David Duval, Mr. 59, former World #1, the guy hiding behind the darkened Oakleys, I always knew you had something left for the game of golf. Last summer while watching The Open Championship I hoped that you could make a run down the stretch and challenge Greg Norman, Ian Poulter and the eventual winner, Padraig Harrington on the last day. It didn’t materialize, but there was a glimpse of greatness shining through the clouds. I saw it. Many have heard you answer questions about your game with, I am playing great, but my scores just are not reflective of my efforts and work ethic. Not many believed in you David, but I did. Furthermore, I knew that once you started speaking to how much you liked Bethpage Black as a golf course, you would be a contender. Yes, a contender, and NOT an also ran.

David Duval, camo shorts and all, lining up a drive during the USGA Sectional Qualifier in Columbus, Ohio. Pic by Christian Rodriguez.

In fact, I took my first day off from work for the summer (I am a teacher) by waking up at 4 AM to drive two hours so that I could follow you up closely for 18 holes during your first round of the USGA Sectional qualifying at Brookside Golf and Country Club in Columbus, Ohio. Many friends asked why I didn’t follow some other big names, and my reply was David Duval is the man to watch that day. Sure I saw a lot of other big names, but that’s not why I drove two hours so early in the morning. I was immediately impressed with all aspects of your game that day and knew that things were on the way up, and really soon too! I had originally planned on following Mr. 59 for his second 18 holes at Lakes Country Club later that afternoon, but was so motivated watching him play, I hopped in my Jeep after the first 18 holes and went and played (well, I tried to anyway) 18 holes prior to driving back to Cincinnati. (We won’t talk about my score either…)

Duval shot a 6 under 66 on an old school, very tight, tree lined golf course to make his own way into the 2009 US Open. Pic by Christian Rodriguez.

Ahhh…that darned triple bogey from that sand trap lip. Dang it. This is golf, remember? Unfortunately, you cannot get out of every sticky mess your shots or even bad luck place you in on the course. I saw the field come back to you a bit as you played a marvelous final round to get back into contention for the big win, even with that nasty triple bogey to start your day Monday.

Placing in second at our United States Open Championship is a lot to be proud of David Duval. It is even much more of an accomplishment because it shows David Duval’s perseverance for renewed excellence and doing what many in this world said could not be done.

Thanks for being in it right up until the very end! Good luck in next month’s Open Championship.

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3 Comments

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  1. Anonymous

    Jul 2, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    I too watched him at the sectional qualifier in Columbus, only at The Lakes. I work there, so i had access to the course (carts) and the players in the locker room. He was a very nice guy to talk to and sounded very enthusiastic about getting to play on the open (talked to him after the round) i was really hoping he could pull it off come sunday (errr.. monday)

  2. Devin Drayton

    Jul 1, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Great article, I feel much the same way about David. I can still remember watching Duval hit Driver-5 iron-putt for his eagle on the 18th to complete the 59, as good as it gets.

  3. Eric Schuster

    Jun 30, 2009 at 8:19 am

    I have to admit I doubted whether Mr. Duval could come back from whatever level of Dante’s Inferno he’d reached on the plunge from number one in the world to number eight hundred eighty two. A major head trip like that has doomed so many in the past. But to watch the US Open unfold, and particularly after that triple bogey opening hole on Monday was enough to give even the four horsemen of doom pause. The man can still play, and play well. I’ve wished/hoped for his return for years. May this be the beginning of that return.

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Photos from the Rocket Mortgage Classic

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GolfWRX is live from Detroit Golf Club for the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf!

And while COVID-19 restrictions mean we can’t bring you in-hand shots at present, we’re still doing our best to deliver tour equipment shots. And there were plenty of interesting things to be seen on the equipment front, including an iron and driver shaft switch from Rickie Fowler and some cool National Custom Works irons for lord of the golf hipsters, Zac Blair.

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Morning 9: U.S. Open leaving Fox for NBC | Harris English positive for COVID-19 | Feinstein: Why the Ryder Cup must be postponed

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1. U.S. Open returning to NBC…this year.
In case you missed the news yesterday, here’s Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…“NBC is once again home to the U.S. Open and the USGA’s full slate of championships.”
  • “The USGA announced Monday that, effective immediately, the broadcast rights for its championships have transferred from Fox Sports to NBC.”
  • “Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but NBC will assume the remainder of the contract, through at least 2026.”
  • “NBC televised the U.S. Open from 1995 through 2014 before Fox won the rights with a 12-year deal that was reportedly worth about $1 billion.”
And the AP’s esteemed Doug Ferguson, who broke the story, writes…“One person said NBC would pay for just under half of the rights fee through the rest of the contract.”
  • “Two other people said the deal began to take shape this month, especially with the U.S. Open being moved to September during the opening month of the NFL.”
  • “One person said Fox was contemplating moving the U.S. Open to FS1, an idea that was rebuffed by Mike Davis, the CEO of the USGA. That led to deeper conversations about the contract and how it could be resolved.”
2. Harris English tests positive for COVID-19
Golfweek’s JuliaKate E. Culpepper…“A fifth PGA Tour player has tested positive for COVID-19.”
  • “The Tour announced Monday Harris English tested positive for the virus and has withdrawn from the Rocket Mortgage Classic. The 30-year-old did not compete during last week’s Travelers Championship.”
  • “Harris is the second player to test positive ahead of this week’s event at Detroit Golf Club. The Tour announced Sunday Dylan Frittelli also tested positive for the virus.”
3. Watney on coronavirus quarantine…
AP report…”Monday marked the 10th day of self-isolation for Nick Watney, the minimum required for PGA Tour players who test positive for the coronavirus.”
  • “He said he is feeling good except for some minor fatigue, perhaps brought on by a major case of boredom, and except for the distinction of becoming the first of what now is five players and two caddies who have tested positive since the PGA Tour returned amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”
  • “I will say, it’s not the greatest feeling being the first to get it,” Watney said in his first interview since he was notified June 19 at the RBC Heritage of his positive test.
  • “Some things are so vague around this thing,” he said. “The symptoms … some people get this, some get that. I haven’t had a fever or cough the whole time, no shortness of breath. Maybe that’s the reason it’s so scary. I still don’t know how or where I got it.”
4. Feinstein on postponing the Ryder Cup
John Feinstein for Golf Digest…“You can play any event in golf-including the four majors-without fans. You can’t do it at the Ryder Cup. Oh, sure, you might miss the roars coming down the stretch at Augusta, but the Masters will be fine come November if the green jackets decide they can’t allow their “patrons” on to the hallowed grounds. The same will be true for the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in August and the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in September.”
  • “If the last three weeks have proved nothing else, it’s that quality golf can be played without having to endure “get in the hole!” shouts when someone is teeing off on a 550-yard par 5. The absence of fans has also helped immeasurably with pace of play.”
  • “Don’t get me wrong: I want to see fans back on golf courses as soon as it’s safe, and I’ll be fascinated to see what will happen if the Memorial goes ahead with its plan to let 8,000 fans onto Muirfield Village next month. But the presence of fans-even when they go over the top at times with boorish behavior-is as much a part of the Ryder Cup as the 17-inch-high gold trophy.”
5. ICYMI: Special temporary membership for Will Gordon
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”A little more than a year ago, Gordon was playing for Vanderbilt, where he was once the SEC Player of the Year. But Sunday he was contending against the game’s best, making the most of a sponsor’s exemption at the Travelers Championship. Gordon played his way into the mix with a second-round 62, and he closed with a 64 that gave him a share of third place along with Mackenzie Hughes.”
  • “In addition to a six-figure payday, Gordon’s finish earned him special temporary membership on the PGA Tour. He had had some success in other spot starts this season, including a T-10 finish at the RSM Classic and a T-21 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open.”
  • “I knew something in the top five would maybe have a chance,” Gordon said. “I knew the higher the better, so I was watching the leaderboard coming in. I knew if I got up there, T-1, T-2 by the end of 18 holes, that I might finish in the top three.”
6. How courses can be more welcoming to LGBTQ community
Golf Digest’s Keely Levins offered a number of guidelines, including…”Train employees on inclusive terms and language”
“As a golf club, it’s important to educate your staff members, to make sure they know to be inclusive and nonjudgmental,” says LPGA Tour pro Mel Reid. “Educating and communicating with their members is another big thing.”
  • “Part of that education is in how players are greeted when they arrive at a course. For example, asking a woman if she’s going to be playing with her husband when she arrives at a course reveals the assumption that she is straight. Simple substitutions, like using the word “partner” instead of “husband” or “wife,” can make a big difference…”
  • “Put a Pride symbol at your course…Fitzgerald talked about this idea with us first at the Pride Open in 2019, and we spoke about it again for this story. “The LGBTQ community is finally feeling accepted in the golf industry, getting out and about and playing and practicing,” Fitzgerald says. “What’s really helping is feeling accepted and seeing there’s some show of invitation or acceptance from golf courses, public or private-things like a little sticker in the window or a Pride flag on their websites do wonders to make LGBTQ golfers feel welcome. We’ll be active and looking for those symbols at golf facilities.”
7. Tee sheets filling up in Ireland
Simon Lewis for the Irish Examiner…“Golf courses moved into the next phase of their roadmap out of pandemic with a leading club general manager talking optimistically of a strong future for the sport in Ireland.”
  • “Clubhouses reopened on Monday for the first time since courses, clubs, and driving ranges were shut down due to the Covid-19 outbreak on March 24. Though play did resume for members living within five kilometres of their clubs on May 18 under Phase 1 of the Irish Government’s lifting of restrictions, Monday marked the first day in which visitors were welcomed alongside members, travel restrictions within Ireland were lifted, and competition golf could resume.”
  • “The Golfing Union of Ireland and Irish Ladies Golf Union has also allowed a shorter interval for fourballs on timesheets, bringing the gap between tee-times down from 14 to 10 minutes and clubhouse restaurants and bars operating as restaurants are open under strict guidelines outline by Fáilte Ireland, all good news for golf club treasurers and general managers such as Cork GC’s Matt Sands.”
8. North & South Am 
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine...”Though many international players remain limited by travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, for those players in the U.S., a month-and-a-half-long stretch of elite amateur tournaments begins Tuesday at Pinehurst.”
  • “Think of it as amateur golf’s version of the FedExCup Playoffs, with four high-profile events setting the stage for the U.S. Amateur at Bandon Dunes in mid-August.”
  • “The North and South Amateur will feature two of the world’s top-10 players, Georgia’s Davis Thompson (4) and Texas’ Cole Hammer (7), as well as defending champion Cooper Dossey of Baylor and two semifinalists from last year’s U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst, William Holcomb and Cohen Trolio.”
9. PGA Professional Championship scratched 
John Strege at Golf Digest…“The PGA of America announced on Monday that it has canceled the PGA Professional Championship, rescheduled for July 19-22 at the Omni Barton Creek” “Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas. Originally, it was to have been played April 26-29, though it was postponed on March 16.”
  • “Despite a deep desire to stage our signature Member Championship on behalf of its talented field, it became apparent after consultation with local health authorities in Austin last week that this could not be done responsibly,” the PGA wrote on its website.”
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Morning 9: DJ wins again | COVID-19: Champ negative, Frittelli postive, J. Day scare | W for Fassi

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1. DJ returns…now a winner in 13 straight seasons 
…and owner of a new blue blazer for the wardrobe! AP report…”Dustin Johnson won the Travelers Championship on Sunday to end a long drought and extend his career-long season victory streak to 13.”
  • “Johnson closed with a 3-under 67 for a one-stroke victory over Kevin Streelman at TPC River Highlands. Johnson last won in March 2019.”
2. You may have missed: Day’s situation…further protocol changes
Nick Pietruszkiewicz for ESPN.com…”On Saturday morning, Jason Day asked to be tested again. He had an 8:19 a.m. tee time. Clearly, he wasn’t going to get a result in time. So his tee time was pushed back. He didn’t play with Rafa Cabrera Bello and Rogan Sloan, as scheduled. Instead, as the tournament leader Mickelson teed off on the first hole with Will Gordon and MacKenzie Hughes, a few hundred yards away at the 10th tee, at the exact same time, Day was started his round all by himself, not knowing whether he was positive or negative.”
  • “The result came in a few holes later. He was negative; had he been positive, he would have been removed from the course midround and put into isolation.”
  • “Shortly after the PGA Tour announced his negative result, it announced another change to the protocols, their second such announcement in four days. Going forward, beginning at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, players would not be allowed on site at an event until they got back a negative test result.”
3. Cam Champ tests negative for COVID-19 3X
Adam Woodard for Golfweek…“After three tests over the last 72 hours all came back negative, the 25-year-old took to Twitter to announce the good news on Saturday afternoon.”
  • “Subsequent to my positive test result for COVID-19, I am fortunate to say that I had three consecutive negative test results in the 72 hours which immediately followed. I’ve felt great the whole time and experienced no symptoms. I am pleased to be on my way home in accordance with the CDC Guidelines,” said Champ via a statement.
  • “He continued: “I would like to thank my team, all the medical advisors, and everyone at the Travelers Championship, as well as the player relations team at the PGA Tour, for their advice, care, and attention during this process. A special thanks goes out to my fiancee, our family, my partners, and all of you out there for the outpouring of love and support that I’ve received this week. Stay safe and see you soon!”
4. Dylan Frittelli tests positive 
Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker…“Dylan Frittelli has tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the fourth player to do so since the PGA Tour resumed its season three weeks ago.”
  • “The tour announced the test result in a statement on Sunday night. “I am experiencing no issues and feel great physically and was surprised and disappointed to learn of the positive test today,” Frittelli said in the statement. “I look forward to getting back on tour once it’s safe to do so.”
  • “Frittelli, who missed the cut at the Travelers Championship after playing the first two rounds with Ian Poulter and J.T. Poston, has withdrawn from next week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.”
5. McIlroy on T12 finish: Decision making “terrible”
PGATour.com’s Mike McAllister…“he will definitely take next week off in Detroit at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and may not return to action until the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, the second of two consecutive TOUR events at Muirfield Village.”
  • “The way I’m feeling right now,” McIlroy said, “I feel like a couple weeks off … just reset and start again.”
  • …”McIlroy was playing the Travelers for the third time in the last four years, having finished inside the top 20 in his previous two times. He has another top-20 this week, but the lasting feeling for McIlroy is frustration.”
  • “Decision-making was terrible the last few days,” McIlroy said. “Just some stupid shots and trying to take too much on at times. I think probably playing a little bit and just being a little more thoughtful on the course. Yeah, it’s just sort of dumb mistakes in there that I don’t usually make.”
6. For Phil: Progress-despite weekend fade (and joggers)
…kidding, I’m bullish on joggers! Always! Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”It wasn’t the weekend finish he envisioned, but Phil Mickelson still viewed his stint at the Travelers Championship as a step in the right direction.”
  • “Mickelson made the most of his first start as a 50-year-old, shooting rounds of 64-63 to take a one-shot lead into the weekend as he looked to win for the third time at TPC River Highlands.” “But he couldn’t keep pace from there, closing with two straight rounds of 1-over 71. Mickelson finished the week at 11 under in a tie for 24th place.”
  • …”I’m looking at this week as progress,” Mickelson said. “Certainly the goal is to win tournaments, but keep in mind I’ve missed a bunch of cuts. I haven’t played to the level I’ve wanted to, and this week I came in and had a lot of great finds. I hit a lot of good shots, hit a lot of good tee shots. My misses were much better.”
7. Meanwhile, on the KFT…
Trevor Allen at KSL Sports…“Baylor alum golfer Kyle Jones knocked off two others in a playoff round to win the Korn Ferry Tour Utah Championship on Sunday.”
  • “Jones, Paul Haley II and Utah native Daniel Summerhays all finished the final round at -20 for the tournament and went on to play in a playoff at Oakridge Country Club.”
  • “…Jones scored a birdie on the second hole to claim the Utah Championship.”
 
8. Fassi wins first pro title
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“Two eagles in the span of three holes vaulted Maria Fassi to her first professional title. The former Arkansas standout went wire-to-wire at the Cooper Communities NWA Classic on the Women’s All Pro Tour in Bella Vista, Arkansas, about 30 minutes from the Razorbacks’ home course, the Blessings Golf Club. Fassi won the individual NCAA Championship there last spring.”
  • “Fassi, who began her career on the LPGA just over one year ago, closed with a 68 in the final round to post a 14-under 274, finishing four shots ahead of amateur hotshot Alexa Pano.”
9. Two birdie bombs = $210K
Golf Channel’s Nick Menta..”Playing in the afternoon’s second-to-last group alongside runner-up Kevin Streelman, Mac Hughes poured in a pair of birdie bombs late Sunday to vault himself into a backdoor tie for third at the Travelers Championship with a final-round 67.”
  • “…A pair of routine two-putts would have left Hughes in a six-way tie for sixth at 15 under, with Ryan Armour, Brendan Steele, Patton Kizzire, Scott Stallings and Bryson DeChambeau.”
  • “Instead, he locked up a tie for third with Will Gordon at 17 under….The difference between the respective finishes ($225,700 vs. $436,600): $210,900.”
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