Feb
15
2010
The Reemergence of David Duval
By Stephanie Wei under General

Unless you’re related to Dustin Johnson, you were probably hoping he would skull his bunker shot into the Pacific swell. (Kidding!) No disrespect to DJ who played a fantastic tournament to capture his second consecutive title at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, but I would have loved to see David Duval win. The CBS commentators would have, too. During Duval’s post-round interview — when he was still one stroke back — Peter Kostis got all sappy and said, “Thanks for your play.”

Which just shows how far Duval has fallen. (Let’s pin a pretty ribbon on you for participating!) He went from winning the British Open and being the world’s number one golfer to plunging into the dismal land of near obscurity for nearly a decade. But he’s not a quitter, as he repeatedly reminded us at the US Open last year after he started his final round with a triple-bogey, but went on to make three consecutive birdies coming down the stretch. I was quick to dismiss him because, well, I can be cynical sometimes and I hadn’t heard his name uttered in, like, five years.

When his name appeared on the leaderboard on Thursday, I wasn’t a believer. Not that I didn’t want to, but after finishing tied for second at Bethpage last year, he failed to make a cut for the remainder of the season. He was forced to return to Q-school and finished T90. I was tossing around some commentary to Golf Magazine’s Mike Walker as he was live-blogging the first round. Here’s what I said:

You really think Duval can keep it up for the rest of the week? I’d love to see it. But again, last week he went 68-75-76. And at the Bob Hope: 74-65-73-69. Not exactly a bastion of consistency. Who knows, maybe this will be his breakout tournament. It would certainly be nice to see him complete his comeback.

I’m glad he proved me wrong. While several in contention floundered down the stretch, you know, like carding 9s on that pesky par-5 14th, Double-D didn’t blow it. So now the question is, with this runner-up finish, can he keep the momentum going? It seems like once he’s in contention, he manages to grind it out. The problem is these days he rarely gets there. But perhaps this time he won’t disappear into MC land and he’ll complete the fairytale story with a win, hell, maybe it’ll even be at the US Open at Pebble. The golfing world and fans would love to see it. But I have one tiny request for Duval: Please don’t break out the mock turtleneck.

[Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Image]