If David Duval ever wins again, brace yourself for a Hollywood golf biopic
Nobody in the history of sports has fallen further from a higher place than David Duval. To go from the world’s No. 1 player to a guy who has trouble breaking 80 is unprecedented in golf.
Every sport has examples of athletes who have fallen from grace, but few have done it as dramatically while still in their prime. The most prominent, baseball pitchers Steve Blass and Rick Ankiel, both of whom developed mysterious control problems, were not stars of Duval’s magnitude or duration.
Whenever a great athlete’s game disintegrates for no apparent reason, you’ll find a writer taking the role of amateur psychologist. Roger Angell of The New Yorker wrote a fascinating article of this type on Blass, and Golf Digest published the most detailed analysis of Duval’s woes. It looked at his golfing record, his family background, his battle with Tiger Woods atop the standings, his medical history and his personality quirks - but in the end, as always in these kinds of stories, Golf Digest could offer no definitive reason.
It really all comes down to the riddle of human identity, which is why we find Duval’s story so intriguing. Back when he was racking up wins, Duval was a cold and distant figure on the tour. Those wraparound sunglasses he wore because of an eye defect symbolized his determination to keep the world at arm’s length. By most accounts Duval is a nicer and more relaxed person today. Repeated failure has humbled him, and made him less single-minded and bent on victory. He’s become a family man, and a more balanced human being with varied interests.
Can he be a winner again? Already this year, he has recorded seven scores in the 60s against only four in all of 2005. However, he’s been so inconsistent in attaining those scores that one can only wonder. His best round was a 63 in the Sony Open, where he finished tied for 31st.
In the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, he carded three scores in the 60s but undermined himself with a 78. He missed the cut in the FBR Open because of an opening round 76, and played his most consistent golf of the year in the Nissan Open, finishing at even par.
Now that we’ve seen him face his struggles more or less gracefully, he’s attracted a lot of new fans.
I’m one of those rooters, if only because it would be such a great story if he won a tournament. Steve Blass never was a winner in baseball again, and neither was Rick Ankiel. If, after five years of dismal failure, Duval recaptures his winning formula, his comeback will be the subject of the most inspirational sports movie since “Rudy.”
I know I’ll be at the ticket window. What about you?
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any athlete in the history of sports.
Imagine if Arod starting batting .210
each year or Koby Bryant averaged
8 PPG for a few years in a row. That's what Duvals slump equates to. From The best Golfer in the world,
a guy who shot 59, to a guy who struggles to break 80 and would have trouble starting on a Good NCAA team.
It's really sad and would be an incredible story if he ever won a big tournament again. it would be the best feel good story in the history of golf. Good luck David, I'm pulling for you.
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