The full story — David Duval

I’m a David Duval fan. I admit it. I’ve always enjoyed watching him play and even enjoyed a [photopress:duval.jpg,full,alignright]brief interview that I did with him in 2004. Anyway, there’s a fascinating interview with Dvual conducted by Bob Verdi in the latest Golf Digest and the issue is online. Since Duval had the lowest round of the Open today, I thought this story was worth pointing out. Beyond that, it is just fascinating reading. Rarely does a pro athlete open up as much as Duval does in this article. Geoff Shackelford might not like it because Duval rips into his beloved Ben Crenshaw, but I think Duval has a point.

Among the question Verdi asks Duval is about his relationship with the media. Interestingly, during the scrum in 2004, Duval let a local, established, and some might say bitter, Canadian golf writer have it for asking a bunch of questions about his round without ever leaving the media tent. I must admit to enjoying it since I walked 15 holes with Duval that day to write a feature and found him engaging with a dry sense of humour.

Anyway, here’s Duval’s response to his relationship with the media:

What’s frustrating is that we’re in a different town every week, so every week there are a lot of the same questions. I understand that. But if one of you wants to do a story on me, it might be a good idea to go watch me play, don’t you think? Would you write a story about a football game you didn’t see? If a writer comes to me after a round and asks me how I think I played, and I ask him how he thinks I played, and he tells me he didn’t actually see me hit a shot … well, that’s puzzling to me.

Duval also has some insight into slow play and what should be done. Apparently strokes on the card — and without warning.

For one, they have this rule that if you don’t play in the pro-am on Wednesday, you can’t play in the tournament starting Thursday, unless you can prove you were too sick or too hurt to play. Back when I was a top player, like all the top players, I had to play in every pro-am, but the guy who was maybe 75th on the money list didn’t have to play in any of them. Or the guy who just got his card from Q school. Why should top players be penalized by having to play every one? I understand that if Tiger Woods is in the tournament, sponsors and the PGA Tour want him to play in the pro-am. But there’s got to be some leeway, some balance. Spread it around.

Lastly, Duval sounds a lot like Greg Norman when it comes to the PGA Tour. I’m surprised he isn’t the only one worried that the players really have no sense of how the PGA Tour actually works.

When the players have only four of the nine votes on the Policy Board, then it’s not really our tour, is it? We can’t have a union because we’re not technically employees, and we don’t have an association. Yet, we are the product. I mean, people pay to come see us play golf, correct? You sign away a lot of stuff when you join the PGA Tour. It’s not really very democratic. A lot of how the tour operates is about perpetuating the mechanism of the tour.

The whole interview is here. It’ll be fascinating if Duval can stick around for Sunday.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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