David Duval had it all in 2001.
A year after losing 35 pounds and re-shaping his golf swing to fit his new physique, Duval won the ’01 British Open at Royal Lytham near Blackpool, England.
Today, in West Palm Beach FL, David Duval’s PGA TOUR career came to an end.
Well, it came to an end as a card-carrying member of the TOUR, that is.
Duval’s poor play over the last few years sent him back to TOUR Qualifying School, where 150 or so of the world’s best players get together for a grueling 6-day test of golf.
The low 25 and ties from this week’s Q-School get their “Tour Card” for the 2010 season. That means, with the exception of the major championships and a few “invitationals” scattered throughout the campaign, a player with his card gets to tee it up and chase millions of dollars in prize money. If you’re REALLY good, you get to chase the money and, evidently, a bunch of young women as well. OK, that was uncalled for, I admit it.
The 6-days of golf and the mental pounding have been often been described by Q-School veterans as harder than any tournament they’ve ever played in.
In Duval’s case, the British Open in 2001 was obviously easier than the most recent six days.
Duval’s 69 today put him at +1 for the six days. That hardly makes him a slouch. Some folks go their entire life and never shoot +1 for nine holes on a real golf course playing by the rules. Duval just went six rounds – 108 holes in total – and was +1 overall.
And +1 didn’t even get a sniff. In fact, it got him a T89, deadlocked with a few other guys like Hunter Haas, Marco Dawson and Esteban Toledo — all of whom are former card-carrying members of the PGA TOUR.
What a fall from grace for Duval.
Once a major champion. In this decade, even.
And now, a man with trophies and golf clubs…but no place to play.
And to think that he nearly won the 2009 U.S. Open. If not for a late bogey on Monday (4th round), Duval might have wound up in a playoff with eventual champion Lucas Glover.
He hasn’t showed a whole lot in recent years, but he was good enough to compete and nearly win the country’s most coveted national golf championship just six months ago.
Over the last six days, he lost to kids like Rickie Fowler, Spencer Levin and Billy Horschel.
Haven’t heard of those guys? Duval probably hasn’t either.
One guy who got his card (back) was Shane Bertsch. He’s been on and off the TOUR for a decade or so now…a veteran — unfortunately — of PGA TOUR Q-School.
I had the privilege of playing with Bertsch four or five years ago at a U.S. Open local qualifier at Eagle’s Nest in Towson. He cruised around the place, missing one fairway and two greens and shooting either -4 or -5. I don’t remember. All I recall is that he hit every shot dead straight and none of his putts where EVER short of the hole.
He didn’t say a whole lot to me that day because he was busy striping every shot. At one point, though, he did remind me that all he needed “out there” was a chance. ”I know I can do it,” he said as we walked up the 17th fairway. ”I know I can. It’s inside of me, I just have to dig it out.”
Today, he dug it out with a 65 and got his TOUR card again.
A great day for Shane Bertsch.
A bad day for David Duval.