Is Duval in denial?
A bona fide comeback by David Duval would be good for golf, as his popular one-week surge demonstrated last summer, but he seems no closer to achieving one than he ever has.
Duval missed yet another cut, this one at the Children's Miracle Network Classic on Friday, his last start of the year pending a decision to play in the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament next month. He is going to finish out of the top 125 on the money list and thus will lose his PGA Tour exemption.
Yet somehow he took solace in how he played in 2009. "I feel that the overall picture of the year, I feel like it was mostly successful," he said after Friday's round. "You know, I talked a lot early on in the year about coming back, building the confidence back that I had for so long, and I feel like for the most part I did that."
There is no way to measure one's confidence, but there are ways to measure one's performance. Here's the reality:
-- In 2008, he made the cut in five of 20 tournaments. In 2009, he made six cuts in 21 events. Since 2003, he's made 34 cuts in 121 starts. He made the cut in 28.5 percent of his starts this year, 28 percent of his starts since 2003.
-- In 2008, he was 197th on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy, 197th in greens in regulation. In '09, he is 186th and 181st, respectively. He did make significant improvements in driving distance (from 113th to 54th) and putting average (from 178th to 26th), and his scoring average has come down (73.20 in '08 to 71.82 this year).
-- Since tying for second in the U.S. Open, he's missed the cut in seven of eight starts. Had he made one more cut, he probably would have finished inside the top 125.
Essentially his year came down to one remarkable week, at the Open at Bethpage Black. His best finish otherwise was a tie for 55th.
He called his year "mostly successful," but the reality is that it was mostly unsuccessful, more of the same and not a harbinger of better days.
-- John Strege