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The Numbers Game: David Duval


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Will David Duval keep his card? That's the question a lot of golf fans are asking. After his first tournament, there were some good and bad things I took away, but overall, things are looking better.

 

tng_title.gifImagine yourself in his shoes. Most everyone is rooting for you, but there are others. Others that doubt you and doubt that you can return to form. Then you start your first round of your last exempt year with a double bogey and follow it up later with four straight bogeys. Imagine yourself standing on #9 tee with that on you. What goes through your mind?

 

 

 

If you're David Duval, you just shrug it off and make a birdie. Then four holes later, you make another. You salvage a 75 and proceed to make the cut. Which, by the way, is just as many as you made in 20 tournaments last year.

 

Looking at Duval's stats, there are some good things and bad things that I see. That aside, for Duval the most important stat was finishing on Sunday rather than Friday.

 

 

 

The Bad

From his first full year on tour in 1995, Duval was an excellent driver of the ball. From that point until 2000, DD ranked no worse than 12th in total driving. Not only was he long off the tee, but he was accurate as well. Then came 2001.

 

 

 

david_duval2.jpgIn 2001 things got ugly, but nothing worse than driving accuracy. He dropped all the way to 148th on the list. While this isn't the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, it was the beginning. Nothing is more disheartening to a golfer than losing control, especially off the tee. This spiraled into less greens hit, worse putting, etc. This is the land from which David Duval is trying to come back. Not only overcoming his physical issues, but his psychological demons.

 

 

 

But we already knew most of that. The bad is that his driving stats last week didn't improve much. He only hit 39.3% of his fairways. Ugh. This is the one area I (and others) really wanted to see some improvement so he can exorcise those demons. The other area that Duval struggled in was getting off to a good start. In his two rounds over par he was a combined nine over par in the first eight holes. In the other two, he was seven under. Not only is this inconsistent, I think it is critical for him to start well.

 

 

 

The Good

Duval was a bit erratic off the tee and he was a bit inconsistent throughout the weekend, that is true… but there was quite a bit of good.

 

 

 

Resiliency

david_duval.jpgI've already mentioned the first impressive thing. Duval came back from being six over in the first eight holes to make the cut. I don't care who you are, that takes some fortitude. Also, he had to birdie his last hole to make the cut. This is another sign that he's turning the corner and standing up to pressure.

 

 

 

Putting

Duval putted pretty well through the weekend. Not great, but good. He finished 18th and had only 24 putts in carding a final-round 63. 24 putts is very good, especially when you hit 13 out of 18 greens. It's not well known that Duval finished in the top 10 in putting twice before his problems. If he can find that stroke again, that will help immensely.

 

 

 

Mistake Free

Probably the one thing I came away most impressed with is his mistake free 63. For someone struggling with control, to shoot a 63 is pretty impressive. Get this, it may have been mistake free, but Duval still did it hitting only 43% of his fairways. He recovered well enough to have his best day of the week hitting greens (72%) and best putting round. Did I think Duval was capable of shooting a 63? Sure, but I thought he'd be a bit more erratic doing it.

 

 

 

What's Next?

It was great to see Duval play well to the point of where he was invoking thoughts of his 59 a few years back. I know it is only one tournament though and we shouldn't put too much into it, but the $30,243 was almost quadruple what he made last year. Also, guess what? Don't look now, but his opening 69 of the Bob Hope on Wednesday was clean as well. I'm starting to believe more in Duval every day.

 

 

 

Photo Credits: © Unknown

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