David Duval, Again

AP Sportswriter Paul Newberry has an feature on David Duval, who’s playing in this week’s tournament.

DULUTH, Ga. — David Duval got started on the next tournament in his latest comeback at one of his favorite restaurants.

Waffle House.

“I had eggs, chicken, toast, grits and a double order of hash browns,” Duval said, breaking into a smile that has seemed so hard to muster through much of his golfing career. “Gotta have the double order of hash browns.”

Now, if only Duval could order up the shots that once made him the world’s No. 1 player.

It’s been seven years since he was that aloof, buffed-up golfer in the dark, wraparound sunglasses, striking fear into lesser players and looking every bit like this generation’s most worthy challenger to Tiger Woods.

But, instead of playing the Tom Watson role to Woods’ Jack Nicklaus, Duval became the guy who would have trouble competing at Q-school. He still has his PGA Tour card, but that has more to do with personal hardship than anything he’s done lately on the course.

Duval played in only seven tournaments in 2007, stepping aside to be with his wife during a difficult pregnancy. He’s played eight times this year on a “family crisis” waiver, but has yet to make a cut. Yep, the guy who’s won nearly $17 million in his career has yet to earn a single dollar in 2008.

He’s also heavier than he was in his prime, carrying a noticeable bulge around his midsection. He is listed at 180 pounds, but he’s probably closer to 200 and says he needs to lose about 20 pounds. But Duval insists he’s happy with his life and confident he can turn things around.

The mystery continues. How one of the world’s best players has fallen so far, so fast, is astonishing.

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