124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

Will the real David Duval please stand up

July 12, 2009

The enigmatic David Duval still can't shed the adjective, even as he tied for second in the U.S. Open amid stories as to how he's found his comfort zone in life and the contributions it was going to make in resurrecting his golf game.

His Open performance was to have been a launching pad, lifting him back into golf's stratosphere. Perhaps it will still do so, but in his next start, the John Deere Classic, Duval remained grounded in the reality that one good week changes nothing.

Duval missed the cut for the ninth time in 15 starts this year. Aside from the Open, Duval's best finish is a tied for 55th, in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. His performance at the John Deere served only to confuse the issue as to whether Duval has indeed turned a corner: He shot 75-66. Who can tell which score more accurately represents where his golf is on the eve of the British Open?

His college coach and mentor, Puggy Blackmon, said the 75 was the aberration in this story by Bob Gillespie in the newspaper The State.

"I think he was kicking off the rust," Blackmon told Gillespie. "He hit the ball fine but made some goofy mental errors. In majors, he plays with more patience, more discipline."

The better story for golf, of course, is Duval completing an improbable comeback, maybe even in a major championship. But whether he's equipped to tell it remains very much a mystery.

-- John Strege