AUGUSTA, Ga. -- David Duval, playing in his first Masters since 2006, unknowingly got a little help from his wife, Susie, to keep a string of par saves going on the front nine of his opening round Thursday at Augusta National GC.
The former British Open champion went out in 1-under 35, with key par putts of 10 and 4 feet, respectively, on the sixth and seventh holes. On the par-5 eighth, Duval pulled his second drive in a row well left of the fairway. The ball took two bounces and caromed off his wife. The ball hit her in the right thigh and stopped in a trampled down area along the rope line.
She did not know immediately that it was her husband who had struck the tee shot until she looked at the ball, a Nike marked with a red dot. "I hope that's not his ball," she said before leaning closer and, upon seeing that it was, putting her hand up to her mouth to hold back a laugh. Not wanting to break his concentration, she asked the small gallery in the vicinity not to divulge the news that the ball had hit his wife. No one said a word.
Duval, accompanied by Adam Scott and Ricky Barnes, was playing in the final group of the day, immediately behind Tiger Woods, whose group drew a huge gallery and left very few fans following the last pairing.
"I just couldn't get out of the way," she said, laughing again before assuming a posture of mock anger. "I'll have to have a talk with him later."
Duval struggled on the back nine and ended up shooting a three-over 75, with a four-putt on the 14th hole. He was disappointed in his round and took the news of his errant shot with a shrug.
"That's what kind of day it was," Duval said.
-- Dave Shedloski