Saturday, June 17, 2006

Finding David Duval

As the third round of the U.S. Open begins, it's still possible that David Duval -- remember him? -- could win the championship.


It's not likely but the fact it's still possible is intriguing enough.

Duval has been lost in the wilderness for years, wandering off in search of tee shots that went screeching sideways and leaving those of us on the outside looking in wondering how much desire remains in the tank of a man who has never let us get behind those wraparound shades.

Duval's fall from golf's pedestal to the place where double bogeys live has been one of the great crashes ever. But Duval, who still maintains his gruff streak, has been adamant in telling the world that he's happier than he's ever been and he believes his game is coming back.

It's hard to believe that Duval will stay in the chase at Winged Foot because of his problems driving the ball in play in recent years. But as he stood on a podium addressing the media early Friday evening, he didn't seem the least bit surprised he had been on the leader board much of the afternoon.

If Duval were to somehow win this Open, it would be beyond stunning. Regardless, having him show up in contention is great to see. He has been through a wickedly rough patch and he's coming out of it.

Duval has never been easy to love from a spectator's standpoint and he still seems exasperated with any question he's asked. But he's become a sentimental favorite now -- and maybe more than that.

We'll find out this weekend.