Ever wonder what happened to David Duval? Don’t forget that he was the number one golfer in the world just before Tiger’s record breaking reign began. If you’ve been paying attention, and most probably aren’t, he’s been trying to get it together as a Tour professional for about a year and a half now after a series of injuries and personal setbacks. I’m not writing about David to look at his personal life or delve into his psyche. From the average golfer’s point of view, what I think is interesting is how fleeting golf skills can be even for someone who was number one once and how this might help us understand our own game better.
David played at the British Open this year. He didn’t make the cut. He didn’t score nearly as well as Jack Nicklaus who is now 65 (or thereabouts). David is somewhere around 30, just about Tiger’s age. If he’s not still injured and was once the world’s best, how could he be that far out of form?
How many top golfers have ‘it’ for only a fleeting second or two. Look at Mike Weir. Great to see a Canadian win a major! He seems like a really nice guy and I liked that little half back swing rehearsal he does. He strikes the ball well, but when is the last time he was seriously in contention? And when he won, he didn’t just get lucky, he played great golf for 4 rounds, earning every bit of his Green Jacket.
Why is a golf swing so elusive? How many times have you thought you found ‘the secret’ only to discover the next day that you still can’t hit the ball the way you want. Or how about hitting those beautiful shots on the practice range only to have the driver feel more like a broom on the first tee. Even Tiger talks about that. At the British Open he spoke about being ‘Ranger Rick’ on the practice tee and then having it disappear by the time he teed off. He said he won on Sunday because ‘Ranger Rick’ actually showed up on the first tee.
If having and then losing ‘it’ happens so frequently and to every golfer, then there must be an explanation for it. Tomorrow I’ll give you my best shot at why this happens to all of us. Someone tell Tiger and David to tune in.