David Duval’s struggles over the past decade are well known. From the pinnacle of Open Champion and World Number One, he eventually lost his Tour card and has been playing on sponsor’s exemptions. Duval is an enigma, and his periodic flashes of brilliance always make me hope that he will return to his old form.
One interesting aspect of the Duval story is that Nike stuck with him through much of his difficult period. He was the first major winner to sign with Nike, and the company’s loyalty to him was commendable. Dual was doing Nike commercials long after he ceased to be a tournament threat. At some point during his years in the wilderness, it seems Duval and Nike drifted apart, but I can’t find the details of the separation.
News comes now, however, that Duval has re-signed with Nike. He will tee it up with Nike clubs at ths week’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
I can’t help but cheer for Duval. His doggedness in the face of adversity (rumors abound of vertigo, injuries and private difficulties) and Nike’s support are noteworthy.
Press release follows:
Nike Golf Welcomes David Duval Back to its Athlete Roster
BEAVERTON, Ore. (February 4, 2013) – This week, golf fans may notice something that looks familiar – David Duval in the Swoosh. Nike Golf today announced that Duval has re-signed with Nike Golf. He will make his 2013 debut in the Swoosh at this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Duval, who was the first Nike athlete to win a major championship using Nike clubs in 2001, will be teeing up the world’s first high speed cavity back driver that conforms to USGA and R&A rules, the Nike VR_S Covert driver. He will also game the Nike VR Pro Limited Edition fairway wood, Nike VR Pro Blade irons, Nike VR Pro wedges and a Nike Method Prototype putter. For his golf ball, Duval will play with Nike’s new 20XI-X featuring more RZN technology. On the body, he’ll wear Nike Golf apparel from its Tour Performance Collection and the new Nike Lunar Control footwear.
A fan of the Nike Brand since he first signed with the company in 2001, Duval returns to the Swoosh after missing the products and the people involved. “I could not be more excited to once again become a Nike Athlete,” said Duval. “Nike Golf has been a major player in the success I have had throughout my career. I am thrilled to return to the Swoosh and continue my career with a brand that focuses on developing innovative products.”
Duval has 13 career victories on the PGA Tour, including the 2001 Open Championship. He has been on three Presidents Cup Teams, two US Ryder Cup teams, and two World Cup teams over his career.
“We have always had a great relationship with David and are happy to welcome him back to the Nike family,” said Mark Thaxton, Global Director of Sport Marketing Operations for Nike Golf.
Duval’s Nike Golf Arsenal
§ Driver: Nike VR_S Covert 8.5-degrees, neutral position (Diamana White Board 73X)
§ Fairway Wood: Nike VR Pro Limited Edition 3-wood/15-degree
§ Irons: Nike VR Pro Blades (2-PW)
§ Wedges: Nike VR Pro 53-degree and 58-degree
§ Putter: Nike Method 006 prototype
§ Ball: Nike 20XI X
§ Apparel: Nike Golf Tour Performance Collection
§ Footwear: Nike Lunar Control
Located in Beaverton, Oregon, Nike Golf designs and markets golf equipment, apparel, balls, footwear, bags and accessories worldwide. Nike Golf is passionately dedicated to ushering in the future of this great game by developing ground-breaking innovations that enable athletes to perform at their physical and mental peak. For more information on Nike Golf, visit our Web site at http://www.nikegolf.com. To follow Nike Golf on Twitter visit http://www.twitter.com/nikegolf and to become a fan on Facebook go to http://www.facebook.com/nikegolf.