Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Duval Future in Doubt as He Quits Open Field

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Duval Future in Doubt as He Quits Open Field

Article excerpt


DAVID DUVAL'S future in golf was thrown into fresh doubt today when he made a last-minute withdrawal from The Open. The 2001 champion and former world No1, who has been struggling desperately with his game in the last year, told officials last night that he was pulling out because of a sprained back muscle.

The American's name was still on the list of competitors this morning and spectators were only aware of his withdrawal when he did not appear on the tee for his 7.36am start time. He is believed to have first suffered the injury on Tuesday.

Duval was replaced by England's David Griffiths, the fifth reserve who made it through the qualifying tournament at Western Gailes.

Duval, 32, was the last player to be No1 in the world rankings before Tiger Woods began his record run of more than 250 weeks at the top. But he has since slumped to 490th in the world.

Duval has had problems off the course.

He split with a woman to whom he had been engaged in 2002 and has since married another woman with three children and moved from Florida to Denver.

Duval's only one tournament this year was the US Open, where he failed to make the cut.

Golf followers had been worried that he might suffer the embarrassing fate of Australia's former Open champion Ian Baker-Finch, who made a poor decision to play at The Open at Troon in 1997.

After a break from the game which followed 23 consecutive missed cuts, Baker-Finch carded a 92 and, after shedding some tears, retired to a career in broadcasting.

Duval has admitted crying over the state of his game. His future must now be in doubt as he struggles to hit shots that used to come so naturally.

Duval has admitted that he has "forgotten how to play golf ". His father has said his golf problems are mental rather then technical.

He said: "I don't think it is technical because his swing is so simple. …

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