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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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  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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Five Things We Learned: Thursday at The Masters

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The rains came early at Augusta, just as they did in Buffalo. The distinguishing factor was, they had a tournament to start in Augusta. Folks in Buffalo simply went to work, and paid attention to the clouds in north Georgia. By ten o’clock, the skies had cleared enough to begin play. Honorary tee shots were hit, and competitive play began. The delay assured that some of the afternoon groups would not sign scorecards on Thursday evening. Instead, they would rise early for completion of play, then turn right back around and go out for round two.

Round one was filled with the usual characteristics of major championship golf. A pair of golfers shot low rounds, with no guarantee that either would be able to preserve the blistering pace. Others gave shots inexplicably away, on the most confounding of holes, to push themselves away from the dream of the green jacket. Others played solid if unspectacular golf, to maintain the top of the board in sight. Finally, some held to a preserver for dear life, finding a way to stay within shouting distance of the leaders.

With that little bit of tease to lead us in, let’s get straight to the five things that we learned on Thursday at the Masters.

One: Can a horse be a horse for a course, for more than one round?

Both Bryson DeChambeau and Scottie Scheffler have plenty of successful memories ’round the Augusta National course. Scheffle owns the ultimate prize, the 2022 green jacket, while DeChambeau was low amateur in 2016. That’s where the similarities end, however. DeChambeau has never finished higher than that low-am T21, while Scheffler has never finished outside the top 20 in four starts. DeChambeau has had fits of brilliance over the MacKenzie hills, but Scheffler is the one with four-round history.

While it seems unlikely the DeChambeau will miss the cut for a third consecutive time, the question of his ability to put rounds together remains. On Thursday, DeChambeau notched eight birdies on the day, and stumbled for bogey just once, at the ninth hole. For much of the day, he held a multi-shot lead over former champion Danny Willett, until Scheffler finished fast, with birdies at 12, 13, 15, and 16. His 66 brought him within one shot of the leader. Scheffler went without a bogey on the day, and ensured that DeChambeau would have much to consider over the night’s sleep.

Two: Find a way to hang around

Rory McIlroy never looked like he had his best stuff on Thursday. Three bogeys on the day, including one at the gettable second hole, had him steaming. Unlike prior years, when his not-best stuff led to mid-70s numbers, Roars was able to four birdies along the way. His 71 won’t win any crystal, but it will keep him in the tournament. Does he need a 67 on Friday? Absolutely.

Will Zalatoris plays Augusta National as well as anyone. Eagles and birdies are always on the table for the young Texan. He reached four-under par at the 15th, but closed with two bogies for 70. Without the shot that you see below, he may never have found the mojo needed to reach minus-four. Moral of the story: find a way to get in the house with a number.

Three: When you do things like this, find a way to keep it together!

The leaders’ board was filled with golfers like Ryan Fox (five-under through 12, inexplicable bogey at 13, finished minus-three), Erik Van Rooyen (minus-four through 13, only to close with three bogeys to finish one deep) Viktor Hovland (four below through nine, double at ten, one below at day’s end) and Matt Fitzpatrick (four deep through 13, three bogeys coming home.) What keeps these golfers from going deeper under par, or at least preserving their successful stature? It’s usually greed or the razor’s edge. There are too-safe places on the greens of Augusta, but there are always properly-safe areas, from where a two-putt is a probablility. In the case of most of these golfers, they either went at flags and short-sided themselves (leading to bogey) or tried to preserve their position, and landed in the three-putt zone.

Four: How could you do this?

Rickie Fowler  at 76, alongside Hideki Matsuyama. Guys, there were plenty of birdies out there! How could you manage to avoid them, and instead, stockpile the bogeys? Well, at least Hideki has a green jacket already, and at least Rickie has some crystal from Wednesday. Odds are that one of them will post 68 on Friday and make the cut.

Five: Which golfers do we hope to see finish strong?

With plenty of round-one action left for Friday morning, we’ve scanned the board and determined that Nicolai Højgaard looks pretty good at five-under through fifteen. We’ll take three pars. We expect one birdie. We’d love to see two or three birdies coming home. Yup, we’re greedy!

Max Homa bounced back from bogey at 12 with birdie at 13, to get back to four under par. We have the same expectations for the California kid: lots of birdies coming home. We have our eyes on a couple of guys at minus-one, and then there’s Tyrrell Hatton at three-deep, along with Ludvig Åberg at minus-two. Plenty of golf left for first-round positioning. Set your alarm for early and don’t miss a single shot!

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Morning 9: Tiger’s Monday practice round | Brooks, Sergio switch putters | Masters eclipse glasses

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans, as we gear up for the 2024 Masters!

1. Tiger’s Monday practice round

Will Cheney for the Augusta Chronicle…”The early reports from Tiger Woods’ Monday practice round at Augusta National Golf Club were good.”

  • “The five-time Masters Tournament champion landed in Augusta on Sunday afternoon and played a Monday morning practice round with Will Zalatoris. Woods withdrew from the 2023 Masters after making the cut, due to a plantar fasciitis flare up.”
  • “He played great today,” Zalatoris said. “He outdrove me a couple times so there was some chirping going on. So, you know, he looks great. He’s moving as well as he can be. Again, with everything he’s gone through, it’s pretty amazing to see how good he’s swinging it.”
Full piece.

2. Langer delays Masters farewell

ESPN report…”Two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer, whose hopes to play the major for a final time were cruelly dashed after suffering a torn Achilles in February, on Monday said that he’ll instead try to bid farewell as a participant at Augusta National in 2025.”

  • “Most likely,” Langer, 66, told Reuters when asked if the 2025 edition would be his final Masters start. “I hope so, but it all depends how the recovery is going.”
  • “The German player tore his Achilles while playing pickleball and is forced to miss significant time. He said his recovery is trending in the right direction and that he has not had any setbacks.”
Full piece.

3. Rahm: LIV events should be 72 holes

Golf Digest’s Ryan Herrington…”It was to be a sticking point for Jon Rahm as he mulled whether to make the jump from the PGA Tour to the LIV Golf League late last year. In the end, the fact that LIV events were just 54 holes, and included shotgun starts, didn’t keep the Masters champion from making the move and signing a reported $350 million deal with the upstart circuit, but it’s something he hopes might still change in the future.”

  • “I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but I definitely wouldn’t mind going back to 72 holes,” Rahm said in an interview with the BBC ahead of his title defense at Augusta National.
Full piece.

4. Sergio, Brooks make putter switches

Our Matt Vincenzi…“Brooks Koepka, who’s used a Scotty Cameron Teryllium Tour Newport 2 for the past handful of years, had what looked to be a Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5.5 in the bag this week at LIV Doral.”

  • “Koepka has been struggling on the greens this season, but it’s still a bit of a surprise to see him switch to a mallet-style putter so close to the season’s first major.”
  • “Koepka finished with -4.4 strokes gained with his new Phantom following a tough week in Miami.”
  • “With the poor performance on the greens at Doral, it’s worth monitoring whether or not he switches back to his traditional Scottie Cameron at Augusta.”
  • “Sergio Garcia, who lost out in a playoff at LIV Doral, also made a notable putter switch last week.”
  • “The Spaniard asked Scotty Cameron to refurbish the 1999 Scotty Cameron Del Mar Prototype he used as a rookie on the PGA Tour. Garcia used the putter when he went head-to-head with Tiger Woods in the 1999 PGA Championship at Medinah as a 19-year-old. He also used the putter in his first Ryder Cup.”
Full piece.

5. Zalatoris returns to Masters a year after back surgery

Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”Will Zalatoris’ mom sent him a text Monday morning to remind him how far he’s come over the past 12 months.”

  • “It was the one-year anniversary of when he underwent back surgery.”
  • “Another reminder came just a few hours later, when Zalatoris linked up with Tiger Woods to play the second nine at Augusta National.”
  • “Over the past several months they’ve been swapping war stories about the microdiscectomy procedures and their different recoveries. It’s been comforting to Zalatoris not just to know that he’s not alone, but to understand the value of patience and his own process.”
  • “It’s always special to be here,” he said, “but obviously given the last year that I’ve had this was a very special day.”
Full piece.

6. GolfWRX’s resident statistician on who can win the Masters

Our Rich Hunt…”Since 2013, I have created a filtering process to help determine the players who are most likely to win the green jacket based on criteria that have strongly predictive outcomes to success at Augusta. The list of players that can win at Augusta is usually filtered down to 20-24 players and in that time I have correctly shortlisted every Masters champion.”

  • “This includes last year’s winner, Jon Rahm. Even though Rahm essentially walked away with the green jack and did not make it very close, there were some close calls on top of the leaderboard as I had filtered out Phil Mickelson (t-2nd) and Patrick Reed (t-4th) as the LIV Tour is still behind on providing advanced analytics for their tour. Russell Henley was also filtered out and finished t-4th, five strokes from Rahm’s winning score of 276.”
  • “If you’re watching at home, the “critical holes” that will likely determine the top finishers will be holes No. 7, 8, 11 and 13. The 11th hole is projected to be the most critical of holes as over the past five Masters the top players have gained nearly a 1.5 strokes for the tournament on that hole alone.”
  • “Just like last year’s column I will get the LIV Tour players I’ve filtered out of the way. Since LIV Tour does not provide ShotLink or Trackman data, it’s more of a guessing game as to how certain LIV Tour golfers are playing. I did utilize recent performance as well as performance at Mayakoba and Doral as they were two former PGA Tour courses that have some semblance of crossover to playing Augusta.”
Full piece.

7. Fields: Listen to the course whisperers

Bill Fields for Masters.com…”Many years after making his debut in the Masters Tournament in 1959, Jack Nicklaus had a sharp recollection of the tutorial he received that spring at Augusta National….Difficult lessons, after all, often are the most memorable.”

  • “Nicklaus was a 19-year-old amateur on the ascent, on his way to becoming one of the best golfers – the best, if measured by his ultimate major-championship tally, highlighted by a record six victories in the Masters. Yet, 65 years ago, the learning curve was steep for him. Despite his credentials, he shot 76-74–150 to miss the cut by one stroke as defending champion Arnold Palmer led at the halfway point.”
  • “I played pretty well from tee to green,” Nicklaus once recalled of that first competitive experience at Augusta National. “I hit 31 of 36 greens. But I had eight three-putt greens in 36 holes and got done and found Arnold was leading the Tournament at 140. He had hit 19 greens in regulation. I said, ‘You’d better learn how to chip and putt and understand what happens on this golf course.’ That’s what I learned.”
  • “Nicklaus, of course, isn’t alone in receiving such an education. More than two decades after the Golden Bear first turned up in northeast Georgia, another promising young golfer experienced the school of hard putts. Bernhard Langer of Germany, 24, was a three-time winner on the European Tour when he played his first Masters in 1982.”
Full Piece.

8. LIV Golf officials invited to Masters

John Turnbull for Bunkered…”It appears that defending champion Jon Rahm and his colleagues will not be the only LIV Golf representatives at The Masters this week.

  • “Despite golf’s civil war rolling on, officials of the Saudi-backed circuit have been invited to The Masters, according to reports.”
  • “The Telegraph has reported that at least one high-ranking LIV official will attend the first major championship of the year.”
  • “LIV’s chief executive Greg Norman, who was a three-times runner-up at the tournament, is not expected to show face at The Masters.”
Full Piece.

9. Masters eclipse glasses

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7 PGA TOUR courses you need to play

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Golf is a unique sport in that you can play where the pros play and make golf history of your own. Nothing in golf can compare to playing a world-renowned course and following in the footsteps of the game’s best golfers. The feeling is incomparable, and it’s one we think more golfers should experience!

To get you started, here are our picks of the best PGA TOUR courses you can (and should!) play:

PGA Tour courses you can (and should) play

Pebble Beach Golf Links (AT&T Pro-Am, U.S. Open, PGA Championship)

Early morning light on the par-4 8th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links on the Monterey Peninsula.

One of the most recognizable golf courses in the world, Pebble Beach Golf Links is the definition of a bucket golf course. Golfers will play iconic holes like the par-3 7th to the stunning par-5 18th. Enjoy great views of the Pacific Ocean as you play amongst the clifftop fairways and make memories that will last a lifetime when you play this PGA TOUR and major championship course.  

TPC Sawgrass – Stadium Course (THE PLAYERS Championship)

The 17th hole of THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL Photo by: Chris Condon/PGA TOUR (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA)

Home to arguably the most famous par 3 in golf, the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is a top bucket-list course designed by Pete and Alice Dye. A challenging layout awaits that will test all facets of your game, especially shot shaping and course management. Subtle elevation changes, undulating greens, and unique bunkering add a degree of difficulty that stump even the best players in the world. Not to mention one of the best finishing stretches in golf with the long par-5 16th, the iconic 17th hole island green, and the testy par-4 18th. 

Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill  (Arnold Palmer Invitational)

A course fit for “The King” is what you will experience when you visit Orlando and play Bay Hill’s Championship Course. This classic Florida layout offers generous landing areas off the tee with few trees, but bunkers guard the greens and large ponds will make you rethink your shot choices. The course is only available for members and guests staying at The Lodge, so a stay is required to play this stunning course. But with year-round sunshine and pristine course conditions, it is never a bad time to visit Bay Hill! 

Torrey Pines – South  (Farmers Insurance Open, U.S. Open)

Another California clifftop course that should be on your bucket list is the South Course at Torrey Pines. Located just north of San Diego, this annual PGA TOUR stop has also hosted two U.S. Opens, which adds to the allure of the property. Narrow fairways and tall rough combined with amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and the California coastline make for an unforgettable round of golf. Large bunkers and elevation changes add to the challenge of the course, but the moderately sized greens offer golfers some respite. Who would’ve thought that a municipal course could be so exciting?

Harbour Town (RBC Heritage)

Hole 18 Harbour Town

Most recognized by the famous red and white striped lighthouse behind the 18th green, Harbour Town is the brainchild of Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. While the course is relatively short for a PGA TOUR event, the challenging design offsets length for accuracy with the narrow fairways framed by overhanging trees making it a shot makers course. A majority of the course winds through the wooded and sandy terrain before looping back towards the coastline with the final two finishing holes playing along the water. 

PGA National – Champion Course (Honda Classic, Ryder Cup, PGA Championship)

With the prominent golf tournaments this course has held, it is hard to leave it off the list. A fantastic Jack Nicklaus design, the Champions Course at PGA National is also home to a famous stretch of golf holes called “The Bear Trap.” The fairways and greens are player-friendly while the bunkers and water hazards are the course’s biggest defense. You will enjoy a 5-star experience and feel like a professional when you visit PGA National’s Champion Course.

Innisbrook Resort – Copperhead Course (Valspar Championship)

At more than 7,200 yards the Copperhead Course is the most recognizable of Innisbrook’s four Tampa, Florida courses and plays host to the PGA TOUR’s Valspar Championship.

One of the more under-the-radar courses on Tour, the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort still offers a challenge even to the pros. Designed by Lawrence Packard, the course, while not heavily wooded, requires accuracy with tight fairways, strategically placed bunkers, especially around the greens, and a decent amount of water hazards that come into play. As you head towards the clubhouse, you will encounter “The Snake Pit;” a collection of the most difficult finishing holes on the PGA TOUR.

There you have it, GolfWRXers. Have you played any of these PGA TOUR tracks? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s note: This article is presented in partnership with Golfbreaks. When you make a purchase through links in this article, GolfWRX may earn an affiliate commission. 

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