Fall From the Top – David Duval

It sure doesn't feel like that long ago the David Duval was on top of the world. After battling back and forth with Tiger Woods for the number one world rank, Duval captured his first major at the 2001 British Open. He had won thirteen times on the tour and then something happened that has ruined the man as a golfer for ever.It is pretty difficult, at least for those of us on the outside, to speculate on exactly what has contributed to the significant decline in Duval's game. First there was the snowboarding injury, and then there was the vertigo. That combined with the fact that Duval never seemed to care if he won or lost and all of a sudden the game was gone.

David found himself shooting scores in the high 70's and low 80's with increasing regularity until he was finally forced out of the game in 2003. The Tour Accuracy DD golf ball from Nike was discontinued and his name fell off every ranking list to be found.

I think it is safe to say that even though he wasn't the most popular golfer that the majority of fans felt sympathy for David. Sure we have all gone through slumps in our games but most of us have never experience something quite like this. The man's career, his livelihood was gone just like that.

After seven months away from the game Duval has tried to make a comeback starting with the 2004 U.S. Open shooting 83, 82 to miss the cut. Many of us questioned the decision. Not so much his decision to return to the game, that part is certainly understandable. But why, after seven months away from the game would he try to return at one of the most difficult golf courses on the 2004 schedule. After the U.S. Open Duval would miss the cut in the next two events he played.

In fact, since returning Duval has missed the cut eight times in eleven events. For whatever reason the game just isn't there anymore. I feel bad for the guy but if he ever needed anymore proof that it's time to retire the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic should have given it to him. The Bob Hope is a tournament played on four of the easiest golf courses these guys will see all season. The winning score is almost always around 30 under par for five rounds. The cut this year after four rounds was at 11 under par and only seven players of the 126 man field failed to break par for the event. The man bringing up the rear was none other than David Duval at 30 over par! He finished 58 strokes back of the eventual winner Justin Leonard with two rounds over 80.

It's time to give it up David. When your scorecard starts looking like mine at the end of a round then you know you are in trouble. If there were signs of improvement showing in his game then I would say yeah, go for it, but come on; thirty over par on the easiest golf courses in the schedule. People will only feel sorry for you for so long and then they start expecting failure.

It's unfortunate that it has to come to an end this way but it is better to retire now and hope that people can remember you for the great golf you played at your peak, not the golf you played for the last two years.


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