DUBLIN, Ohio -- David Duval's chronically bad back is acting up at an inopportune time, just as he is gearing up for the U.S. Open.
"It's mediocre at best," Duval said after carding a 7-over-par 79 Thursday in the opening round of the Memorial Tournament. "It's no fun when you don't feel good and can't swing like you want."
Duval's lower back seized up last week prior to the second round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, and he missed the cut with a 73 after opening with a steady two-under 68. He received treatment at home in Denver Tuesday, but it hasn't improved much since then, and although he planned to show up for Round 2 Friday at Muirfield Village GC, his plan to compete in next week's St. Jude Classic is in doubt.
"It's iffy," Duval said of his chances of showing up in Memphis. "I thought it would be feeling better by now, but it's not. It's sore."
A half-hour weather delay only exacerbated the problem. Duval was even-par and putting for birdie on the sixth hole when play was suspended for 34 minutes. That was long enough for his back to stiffen up more. He promptly three-putted for bogey and then suffered two double-bogeys on par-5s in a four-hole span.
Duval finished T-2 in last year's U.S. Open at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y., and is expected to be a contender at the Open in two weeks at Pebble Beach GL, where twice he has finished second in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, including earlier this year.
-- Dave Shedloski