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The second chapter of David Duval’s playing career has been a slow roll.
Entering his third PGA Tour Champions start, Duval is still trying to find the rhythm of playing competitive golf on a regular basis again. It’s no wonder, considering he hasn’t played a full schedule in nearly a decade.
“It’s just getting the rust off more than anything, figuring out the routines of it again, budgeting your time because there is something to just naturally getting into that flow of knowing how to get everything you need to get done in a day,” Duval said.
Duval is at least in a familiar place, even if he doesn’t fully remember everything about the course.
The Cologuard Classic at tricky Tucson National, the third stop in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup, is where Duval picked up one of his four PGA Tour victories in 1998. Duval shot a second-round 62, built a seven-shot lead and won by four with a long birdie on No. 18 after Justin Leonard tracked him down with four holes to go.
“I don’t recall the last time I was here, but it’s nice to go around the golf course and see it again and think of some shots that I’ve hit over the years, back in the ’90s and stuff,” he said. “Just always liked it, always liked being here.”
The victory was one of 13 on the PGA Tour for Duval, including the 2001 British Open, before injuries derailed his career. The former world No. 1 has played just a handful of tournaments since making 15 starts in 2013-14, shifting his focus to broadcasting.
With his 50th birthday in November, Duval started to get the competitive itch again.
He’s planning to play a full PGA Tour Champions schedule and cut back on his TV work to see how he stacks up with the over-50 crowd. Duval was even through three rounds at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii to tie for 34th in the season opener last month and was 11 over to tie for 68th at the Chubb Classic in Florida last week.
“They haven’t gone as well as I would have thought or wanted them to, but at the same time I’m trying to be patient with myself because I haven’t really done this in quite some time,” he said.
Duval’s third start will be against a deep field that includes 2021 Cologuard Classic champion Kevin Sutherland, reigning Schwab Cup champ Bernhard Langer, Ernie Els, Mike Weir and Jim Furyk.
Langer is still the man to beat, even at 64.
The two-time Masters champion battled through a balky back to clinch his sixth Schwab Cup season series title in Phoenix last year and became the oldest winner in PGA Tour Champions history at the Chubb Classic last week. Langer went wire-to-wire at Tiburon Golf Club’s Black Course to win for the 16th straight season and pull within two victories of Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45.
“Whenever I do something, I want to do it well, I want to do it great to the best of my ability,” Langer said. “When the day comes and I’m out here just goofing off, it’s time to go home and play with the grandkids and kids, which is great, too.”
Langer is setting the standard as he keeps winning at an age when most players are moving up to the forward tees.
Duval, 14 years his junior, is taking the first few footsteps to see if he can follow a similar path.