Nothing Like Professional Golf for Lazarus Stories
The Steve Stricker saga of 3 years ago was fantastic as he totally lost his confidence and his PGA Tour Card with it. Then, like a phoenix slowly rising from the ashes, he successfully navigated the horrors of Qualifying School and played well enough afterwards to be named Comeback Player of the Year two years on the bounce. He went from PGA Tour winner and major championship contender, to the depths of despair, and back again. Unbelievable. But that has nothing on what we’re seeing now.
As I predicted four years ago, David Duval just finished second in the US Open and made that story look like child’s play. Every high and low point in Duval’s ordeal is similar to Stricker’s, but multiplied by two. He is a former World’s number one player and Major Championship winner during the Tiger Woods era. Duval evaporated from the world rankings down to around the 1,000th spot. And here he was Monday at Bethpage, just a cruel lip out from a potential playoff for another major championship. This stuff never happens in other sports, not like this.
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I know David Duval is not a big favouvite with the US media, but I have liked him since he became our Open champion and gave such an eloquent and sincere acceptance speech. I have been following him missing cuts in several recent tournaments and was therefore very very happy to see him play so well at the US Open, and mortified at the lip out. I do hope that this result will inspire him. I don't know if there was much in the US press about this result - disappointingly little or nothing in the UK, considering such a feat, which is one reason why I was "chuffed" at your coverage.
Duval has remained a curiosity for the US press but this recent performance has increase the attention for now, unless he reverts to the previous level of play - looking good for a round or two then blowing up. Haven't seen Open odds yet but he might be worth a couple of pounds. Turnberry never seems to produce a fluke as champion, so I'd look at Woods and Stenson with red-hot Hunter Mahan and perhaps Kenny Perry (if it isn't cold) as semi-dark horses.
Patriotic - Westwood 33/1 & Fisher 40/1
Fantasy Golf League - Hunter Mahan 33/1
Long Shots - Duval 150/1 (could have got 500/1 pre US Open), Cink 150/1 Rock 500/1 (thus totally ignoring the Turnberry fluke theory).
Stenson out of sorts (?) and too cold for Perry. Never worth betting on/against Woods.
The wind was too blustery for me to play today on the south coast of England so heaven help them at Turnberry.
Don't expect to recoup my outlay, but it certainly makes it even more riveting. Enjoy yourself!