KAPALUA, HI (AP) – David Duval spent his first full season of professional golf in the minor leagues, finishing No. 8 on what was then the Nike Tour money list to earn his PGA Tour card. Nearly 20 years later, after a career in which he has won a major, a PGA Tour money title and was No. 1 in the world, Duval is willing to go back.
Duval still doesn’t know where he will start his 2013 season, but he figures it will be a year like no other. Duval’s only status is as a past champion. His only mission is to start his season next year in Hawaii, whether that’s the Tournament of Champions or the Sony Open with full status.
“My wife is excited, I’m excited,” Duval said over the weekend. “It’s going to be a different year with me the way things have changed for exemptions. I’ve made it clear that this year is about getting healthy and getting status.”
Duval has endured a number of injuries, the latest a broken toe that kept him out of the Father-Son Challenge last month.
Most tournaments have had their unrestricted sponsor exemptions cut in half to two because the tour is trying to create space for players in a short season.
Duval was disappointed to learn Monday he had been turned down for an exemption to the Humana Challenge, where he delivered one of the most famous moments in tournament history when he shot 59 on the final day to win what was then the Bob Hope Classic. He remains hopeful to get an exemption for Torrey Pines, though he is not standing on the street corner holding out his hat.
His plan is to play – anywhere.
“If I have to go play somewhere, I’ll go to the Web.com Tour, too,” Duval said. “I’d like to get in that four-week series at the end of the year.”
There are two ways to get into the “Finals” to earn back his card — finish from No. 126 to No. 200 in the FedEx Cup points, or be in the top 75 on the Web.com Tour money list. Then, it’s a money list built on four $1 million purses with 25 cards available.
“You don’t want to count on charity from other people to play,” Duval said, referring to PGA Tour exemptions. “You have to a little, but I’m going to play where I need to play to be in Hawaii next year.”
Meanwhile, Duval is returning to Nike, but he left vague specifics of any deal. He was the first player to win a major using Nike Golf clubs in 2001 at the British Open. “I will be playing all Nike this year. New covert driver, ball, wedges, etc.” he said on Twitter.
“I’m going to be with them again,” Duval said when asked about a deal. “I haven’t signed anything. We’ve agreed to move forward, is the best way to put it.”
Duval then headed out to practice at home in Denver. He said he has been working all winter, even if that means hitting balls in his garage when it’s cold. He even jokingly inquired about the three-sided trailer Steve Stricker uses in Wisconsin.
“It’s up to me to be ready to play,” he said.
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