I’m going to be honest – I was never a fan of David Duval during his heyday. Since last weekend, I’ve been trying to conjure up memories from those times and the first words that come to mind are: snore, pompous, mock turtlenecks, shades, and muscles. I know, not exactly anything groundbreaking. My memory just isn’t the same anymore – or perhaps I was playing too much golf back then to pay attention, if that makes any sense. No, not really.
But I do remember he was once the number one golfer in the world (in case you haven’t heard that once or twice since Monday). I also remember he was one of the only “ripped” players on Tour. You could say he stood out from the crowd – along with the wraparound shades he never went without. Then, of course there were those tight-fitting mock turtlenecks I couldn’t forget even if I wanted to.
I saw him play the 3rd hole on Friday – only because it was on my way to follow another group. There was a buzz in the crowd about how well he was playing. I didn’t buy into it. Even after two rounds when I saw Duval’s name near the top of the leaderboard, I dismissed him. I thought he would probably blow it. I mean, he was so 1999 – what business did he have being in contention at the US Open in 2009? It turns out a lot of it.
Jokes aside, I found myself cheering for him down the stretch. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a good comeback story or an underdog. Double D fit in both those categories. On Monday, he triple-bogeyed the third hole to start his round. Most guys would have thrown in the towel, but he never let up. While I sat in the grandstand behind 18 watching the groups come in, I was also occasionally checking the handheld TV courtesy of American Express. I saw that he birdied 14, then 15, and cripes, again on 16. Holy Moly! Like he repeated throughout the tournament, he was NOT a quitter.
That said, he showed us why he was once the best golfer in the world and why he’s won thirteen tournaments on Tour. He didn’t win this one, but T2 isn’t too shabby. Johnny Miller quipped, “Duval is back.” But is he? It’s a tad early to jump the gun and say that he’s going to win this year or even continue to be in contention over the following weeks. It certainly would be a great story though. And it sure would be nice to see.
One last thing – Now that he’s “back,” does that mean he’s bringing the mock turtleneck back with him?