A Magical Week For David Duval at Bethpage

I must admit, seeing David Duval‘s name near the top of the leaderboard at the U.S. Open on Friday made me happy. But, like most golf fans and spectators, I did not expect it to last very long. He contended for a brief period at Royal Birkdale last year, but faded on Saturday with a disastrous 83. As the week progressed, Duval looked less like the man who over the last seven years has struggled to break 80, and more like the man that held the #1 c for 15 weeks back in 1999. Even though David fell short on Monday afternoon, many would argue that even before he teed off on that day, he had already won. Duval was back where he belonged, contending for a major, and he was loving every minute of it.

From Duval’s own words the worst thing that ever happened to the longevity of his golf career was winning the 2001 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. Duval remembered saying to himself “Is this it?” after finally winning his elusive first major championship. He didn’t fully appreciate the significance of his win, because he didn’t have anyone to share it with him. His marriage was falling apart, and he was alone. Shortly after his triumph at Lytham, his golf game fell apart as well. A series of injuries, personal problems, marital problems, swing changes, body changes, and a bizzarre bout with vertigo derailed Duval’s career right when it was supposed to take off. And then, David just sort of disappeared.

Every once in a while you might see him playing in some obscure tour event where he could get in, but it almost seemed comical that he was continuing to put himself through what looked like torture. All along he would continue to say that he was getting better, and finally, he was happy. Duval was remarried and had kids of his own, five of them to be exact. In a post tournament interview Duval said that he never thought for one second that he was washed up, or would never make it back to the top. And this week on Long Island, he proved himself right, and thousands of critics and doubters wrong.

After starting Monday’s round with a brutal triple bogey, due to a horrible break with his ball burying in the green side bunker, it looked like his wheels were about to come off. Duval had fallen six behind, but he rebounded from that triple by playing the rest of the way three under par. I didn’t think he had a real shot to win until he poured in a birdie at the difficult 16th (his third in a row) to tie for the lead. At this point I found myself just flat out rooting for him. How could you not? Lucas Glover won the tournament with a gutty performance down the stretch, but David Duval stole the show. Is it possible this was a one week aberration for DD? Yes, it’s possible, but I really believe he took a major step forward with his confidence this week.

When asked after his final round where his magical week came from, (Duval had struggled on the PGA Tour in 2009, missing 9 of 13 cuts)  Duval said that his kids have never gotten to see him play great golf before. His kids knew he had won a whole bunch of tournaments (13) before they were born, but they never got to see him do it in person. They finally got that opportunity at Bethpage on Monday. Well done David, and let me be the first to say “Welcome Back”.

-Patrick Keegan

3 Responses to “A Magical Week For David Duval at Bethpage”

  1. Bill Wolfe says:

    Great golf, you have inspired a 66 year old man to continue to try to improve his game. I never gave up on you even when you were 800 and something welcome back,and give them hell the rest of the year.

  2. David Fildes says:

    Have you noticed how Duval breaks his wrists so early as seen in the Magic Moves?? He obviously has seen your website Andy!!

  3. Mark-John says:


    excellent article, I found myself supporting him, along with Mickelson, as well. A GREAT story; I hope that he continues.


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