You all know the story of David Duval. Four-time All-American. Struggled to get his first win on the PGA Tour. Finally broke through and became a fixture at the top, taking over the world No. 1 ranking from Tiger Woods in '99 after shooting 59 in the final round to win the Bob Hope Classic. British Open champion. Fell off the face of the earth.
Since Duval's fall from the top, there was never any question about his attempt to get back to golf. Yes, he took some time away after that British win because he admitted that he felt it would be something bigger, but for the past five years he has really tried to become a dominant golfer, defined by his second-place finish at the 2009 U.S. Open.
His game has been shaky, but this year, Duval was good enough. His second-place finish at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, along with last week's sixth place tie at the Frys.com Open means that Duval, a man that actually went back to Q-School last year in an attempt to become a full-time exempt golfer without the crutch of sponsor's exemptions, will be on tour again.
Duval is currently 99th on the PGA Tour money list, making just under a million dollars this year, but in typical fashion, most of his success came from those two events mentioned above. The 38-year-old Duval played 23 tournaments in 2010, and is in the field this week in Las Vegas, but can account for 76 percent of his earnings to Pebble Beach and the Frys.
But, nobody cares how you get there, as long as you can sneak into that top 125 on the money list.
Duval will get a chance to play at Sawgrass next season for the first time since 2006. He will have earned his spot in these tournaments for the first time since his five-year exemption ran out that same year, and who knows, like at Bethpage Black, four good rounds could mean Duval will be a PGA Tour winner once more.
All in all, Duval's story continues to inspire people. Sure, he isn't the same player that he used to be, but he keeps grinding and looking for the answer, finding it occasionally and reminding us just how good he used to be. Maybe next year, without the hassle of sending out those sponsor invitation letters, he can just focus on playing golf and having some fun.