Welcome back Duval, it’s been a while

Published 1:11 am Thursday, June 25, 2009

Refresh, refresh, refresh … the tension was mounting Monday as I kept updating the live scores blog on the USGA’s U.S. Open 2009 Web site to see who would be the next “people’s champion.”

It was between Lucas Glover, Phil Mickelson, David Duval and Ricky Barnes all the way until the very end of the tournament.

Leading up to this strange-feeling final round on Monday, nature had made its statement at Bethpage State Park in New York on the first round Thursday.

By Sunday, it felt like the final round, but it wasn’t … it was only the third.

Barnes finished his round at 8-under, with a one-shot lead over Glover.

Barnes had a standout performance Sunday, shooting an even-par 70. At one point during his round, he was 11-under. So dropping three shots definitely got to him.

Barnes managed to start his fourth round late Sunday afternoon, but had to stop play on the third hole when the horn blew.

The players went to bed wondering who would be the next champion and would the tournament end on Monday?

At 11:33 a.m. Central time, the refresh button was pushed again and Mickelson and Glover were both tied at 3-under — Mickelson having just finished Hole No. 16 and Glover, No. 15.

Then, not 20 minutes later, Mickelson dropped one shot, Glover stayed and made birdie to move to 4-under and David Duval birdied to move up to 3-under.

Duval then dropped to 2-under after making bogey on No. 17. Then, Glover made par on No. 16, taking a two-shot lead over Mickelson, who was in a three-way tie for second place.

Well, Mickelson finished in second place again, along with Duval and Barnes.

As I was watching Glover make his final putt on the 18th green at Bethpage, I couldn’t help but think that the real story of the U.S. Open — other than Mickelson’s wife, Amy, having breast cancer and wanting her husband to bring her the trophy while in the hospital — would have to be Duval. Yes, there I said it.

Duval had his best finish since winning the British Open in 2001.

He has been out of the limelight for a long time, mainly spending time with his family and working on bringing his game back to where it was so long ago.

Throughout the tournament, Duval would make those sweet iron shots to the green that would leave the NBC commentators with a story to talk about.

The story will continue as Duval prepares for the British Open at Turnberry in the U.K. in a little more than three weeks.

At that tournament, where he won so long ago, he’ll have a new dynamic of golf to contend with.

Duval will do well at the British Open, hopefully winning another trophy that will help him come back strong in the limelight.

For now, welcome back David.