ORLANDO -- David Duval can't help but feel snakebit when it comes to injuries. For good reason.
Duval, a former British Open champion and No. 1 player in the world, has been dealt a series of health-related setbacks for more than a decade, starting with a bad back in 2000. His 2012 season, in which he made just three cuts in 17 starts, was plagued by chronic knee problems, and it came to an abrupt end in August after he broke his right foot in a freak home accident.
Despite walking with a noticeable limp, Duval is itching to indulge in some competitive golf, which is why he is teaming with stepson Nick Karavites this weekend in the PNC Father-Son Challenge at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club.
"I still feel like if I ever got healthy I can be a top-20 player. The trick is to get healthy," Duval said Wednesday. "You know, I don't like to complain. You just have to deal with the challenges put in your way. I couldn't play in the Fall Series. I couldn't compete in Q-School. I basically didn't touch a club for almost three months."
Duval, 41, suffered the foot injury literally by falling out of bed. His two small children ran screaming through their Denver house while playing one morning in early September, abuptly awakening their father. "I leapt out of bed in a panic thinking something was wrong, caught my foot on the sheet and fell on my back and my head. At least the kids were OK," he said, chuckling. "At first I thought I dislocated a toe. No, it was a clean break."
After earning just $32,936, Duval has only past champions status on the PGA Tour. A winner of 13 tour titles, he has to rely on sponsor exemptions to enter tournaments. This week's 36-hole scramble format allows him to ease back into the game. His plans for 2013 are modest: get healthy and rebuild his game slowly to a level that he's accustomed.
"The goal for me this next year is to get my status back," he said. "I'm still working hard at it, and I know what I'm capable of."
(Getty Images photo)
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