Wednesday, November 23, 2011

duvalwatch continues

There was an interesting article on the BBC website the other day about David Duval, one of my favourite golfers and a man whose recent trials and tribulations would have crushed the life out of a lesser man. Duval seems to have a Zen-like calm about him these days despite seemingly uncontrollably erratic form; the article describes his bid to qualify for his PGA Tour card for the 2012 season (and so far so good as he finished tied 2nd in the preliminary event).

The last time Duval got a mention here he had just finished tied 2nd in the 2009 US Open - after that he started off the 2010 season with a bang by finishing tied 2nd at the AT&T tournament at Pebble Beach. Results after that were a bit erratic, but included another top 10 at the Open late in the season, and a few other decent results meant that he kept his tour card by finishing 106th on the money list, his best result since 2002. 2011 was less good - after a couple of tidy results in the early tournaments including a tie for 9th at the Northern Trust Open the rest of the season was pretty dreadful and he ended up down at 152nd on the money list, outside the top 125 that retain their card by right.

Duval's struggles resonate with me in particular, as he's not just grindingly mediocre in an easily understandable way - he makes a lot of birdies, but just throws in the occasional disastrous quadruple bogey at inopportune moments, something I can relate to very closely. But there are plenty of fairly recent examples of players emerging from decade-long slumps to enjoy a string of late-career victories, Hal Sutton and current world number 5 Steve Stricker to name but two.

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