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August 1, 2001

David Duval


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: All right. We'd like to thank David Duval for spending a five minutes with us here in the media centre. David, I guess it's been a wild couple of days since your major championship win at the British Open. You played today in the Pro-Am. Why don't you begin by talking about the course and the changes and then we'll go into some questions.

DAVID DUVAL: I've been pretty busy. Felt like I haven't stopped yet. Looking forward to next week when I get to slow down for a few days. Excited to be back here. Unfortunately, last year I had to walk off the golf course with a back injury. I was out for ten weeks or something like that, but I'm glad to be back.

Q. (Inaudible.)

DAVID DUVAL: You tell me. I don't know if I was leading. I think Lee Janzen -- I was close going into the lead on Saturday. Doesn't mean anything more.

Q. David, how difficult is it to steady yourself getting ready to play a week after a major?

DAVID DUVAL: It's not hard. I didn't play the very next week. I had last week off. I had a few things going on, but I think it would have been much more difficult to play this past week. Like I said, I wouldn't have come here if I didn't want to be here, and I do like playing here, so it shouldn't be a problem.

Q. David, you've said that this course fits your game, and you like it here, obviously. What do you like about the course and how does it fit your game?

DAVID DUVAL: Well, you know, in this air, the higher you can hit it, the further it goes. I hit it far, anyway, and I can hit it in the air, as well. It's a nice format change, really. At some point, it does get tiring, week after the week, the same, and this is something that breaks up the year. You might do some things you might not normally, as far as on the golf course, being more aggressive. It's a really nice change.

Q. You said right after you won the Open, you didn't really know how much it meant, or at that moment you were so emotional. Now having had a week and a half or so, what does it mean and have you had a chance to reflect on that and can you put into words now what it really means to you?

DAVID DUVAL: To me, personally, it means the world. I think at that moment, you know, it's not like that was the end-all. It's not like: "All right, I'm done with the game." But it is a realization of 20 years of work. It's a goal that I've been striving for for 20 years, and I got to reach that on Sunday at Lytham. You know, I think that's some of the reason people react differently when that happens. It's just -- it kind of hits you; a lot of work has come into this. The reception from the people has been wonderful. The media, the fans, the players; people look at me differently. I don't know how or why, but it's a different look. It's a feeling that I can say now that, for me, you know, winning major championships are goals; that's what I'm out here trying to play for, practice and get better. Up to that point, I had not. You know, I just wish everybody could experience the feeling. It's far greater than I had anticipated, and it's just -- you know, things would not have been finished or complete in the end.

Q. Is it a look of respect?

DAVID DUVAL: I think it's a look of respect. It's a look of pride a little bit, I think. I think everybody realizes the difficulty of winning those events. I get the feeling of accomplishment from other players and people, as well, not just from myself having done it. It's just really great. It's neat stuff.

Q. Where is the Claret Jug right now?

DAVID DUVAL: It is at my hotel room -- no. Just kidding. (Laughter.) It's back at home in Florida.

Q. Have you been in a tournament yet where you've been on the first tee and somebody is going to say: "Now the current reining British Open Champion?" Are you going to have to kind of go, "whoa"?

DAVID DUVAL: I got a taste of that because I went and played the Canadian Skins Game right after the Open. But I have not been, you're right, at a full event. You know, it's kind of like what I said when I was done. That title, my name on the trophy never comes off regardless of what happens from here on out. Being an Open Champion; I'll forever be an Open Champion. And talking with a few players who have won there and stuff, they say that, you know, the people, they just don't forget it. It's something that's never forgotten in the game.

Q. Has Tiger asked you to play the World Cup with him again?

DAVID DUVAL: Yeah -- I'm playing -- I don't know. Yeah, I think.

Q. So you are defending?


Q. You've always said you've sort of focused on this Tour, and now having won a major, I gather you will get a lot more offers to play internationally. Is that something you intend to take up at all or will you continue to foe cushion here?

DAVID DUVAL: I'll stay here. I'll continue to keep the schedule that I've had for the last eight years. That's what helped me win over there. I had some offers right at the end of this year before the Open and we are still exploring those, but I will not be adding two or three overseas events, no.

Q. In the old days, guys would try to make some money while the iron is hot, but is that not so much a factor anymore with the money in the game now?

DAVID DUVAL: It's not a factor with me. I'm surprised I get asked about this so much. We've been over this so many times. You guys know how much I turn down every year; and when I get blasted for the Ryder Cup stuff, it just doesn't make sense. I'm not money driven out here. I do make a great living, obviously, but I'm out here to try to play golf and do the best I can. I've always felt for me that it was playing here. I felt that that was the best place for me to play. It's hard doing those overseas trips, especially if you start doing a lot of them. It just wears you down more and it will hurt my competitiveness over here.

Q. A two-part question. In the media we love to create rivalries. Is it fair to call you and Tiger a rivalry, and is it fair for the game of golf to have two guys that we can hold up as a rivalry?

DAVID DUVAL: I don't know. That's not my decision to make, if it's good for bad for the game. I think there has been some talk about if at some point, would it get stale with Tiger winning a lot of golf tournaments. I don't have that answer, either. You know, it's funny, up to -- up to, I guess, ten days ago now, I was written off as the rival, but, my, how things change. It had gone from me and then it went to, I don't know, Sergio maybe, and then Mickelson and then Els and then Adam Scott and Aaron Baddeley. Like I said over there, it's just kind of flavor of the month right now, it seems. If I don't continue to play great and win golf tournaments, then someone else will be the potential rival.

Q. What did Tiger say to you after you won that, and do you get the sense that he would love to have a guy -- when you won the British Open?

DAVID DUVAL: Do I get a sense that what?

Q. Like if Palmer had a Nicklaus --

DAVID DUVAL: Shoot, no. If I was beating up on everybody, I wouldn't want somebody else to beat me. (Laughter.) It's tough competition. You want it to be the easiest game, not as hard. No, he was very happy for me. He actually stuck around to watch me finish; finish out and win. And then had to hurry and get out and leave. I think that he was genuinely excited for me, really.

Q. Back in 1999 you had a streak going, and you climbed to the top of the World Rankings. Then you had injury problems and so forth. You're now back and won in the British Open. Are you moving into a position now where you can challenge him for the No. 1 position?

DAVID DUVAL: I can't explain exactly how the rankings work because I don't know exactly. It's based off of strength of field, various things. No, I can't. Simply mathematically right now, nobody can challenge that ranking. His point accumulation, his average is so much greater than anybody else's right now that nobody can challenge him. That ranking won't change for -- boy, I don't know, 18 months probably. It cannot change mathematically. It cannot change, regardless of how he plays. If he misses every cut for the next 18 months, he will still be No. 1. So I cannot challenge him nor that ranking. Now, do I want to, certainly. I've said also, I feel like -- I've been the No. 1, and it just does nothing for me. So it's not a goal of mine. Ten days ago did something for me. The 1 ranking itself really means nothing to me.

Q. I think it was John Feinstein that said that you guys played for history four times a year and money the rest of the year. Do you agree with that, or is that putting it a little too trite?

DAVID DUVAL: A little bit.

Q. And maybe not being fair to --

DAVID DUVAL: A tournament like this. The 1,500 people that are helping out this week, the sponsors and the million dollars that will go to charity. That's a little harsh, certainly. This is the one time this year that the PGA TOUR is going to be in town and it is going to help out a lot of different people, not just the 144 playing. You know, I think that these people put their guts into these events. If you want to demean them by saying some of those things, yeah.

Q. You said that players are treating you a little differently now --

DAVID DUVAL: Not that they treat me, but they just look at you.

Q. Is there kind of a fraternity among major winners, a little wink or something? (Laughter.)

DAVID DUVAL: I keep getting mixed up with doing the same -- no, that's for the Masters win. (Laughter.) No, I think as much as anything, it's an understanding of the difficulty of what you went through and how you had to play in the situation, how you had to handle that. I think that's the big thing that is common among the guys who have won one.

Q. I mean, do you do you get up every day and still think back to Sunday at Lytham at the tournament, and is there one thing that you think is going to stick with you more from that than anything else, other than having your name on the trophy, one moment that you might recall?

DAVID DUVAL: I think the last few holes -- last couple years when I was not playing well, I just kept telling them I wasn't making the putts I should make. I made those putts at Lytham. And then they mentioned whether my off the course preparation as far as workouts, running, various things was hurting me. You know, I can tell that you that every weight I have lifted and every ounce of muscle I've gained for strength is what helped me win that Open on 15, because I don't think there's too many people that could have hit the shot I did on 15; comes out of that hay with the 6-iron. That won the golf tournament for me, that shot. It's just one of those shots that will -- for me, that was it. I could have lost the tournament, as well, hitting that shot. I could very easily made 6 trying to do what I was trying to do. That was it right there.

Q. Describe for me the shot.

DAVID DUVAL: I don't know what how strong the wind was. It was about a club wind probably into my face. I was -- I was 210 yards to the front of the green. I think the pin was somewhere about 23 steps on. I was in the stuff. It was just tall. Obviously, from here up, it's the tall weed stuff, but that stuff can wrap around the shaft and I had actually tried a shot on the sixth hole earlier in the week and it wrapped around my shaft, and when I looked up I didn't see my ball because it had gone so far left. It was over next to -- in front of 14 tee. I mean, I hit it 80 yards left. It was not like it was sitting in real thick grass down at the bottom. It was sitting okay. I thought I could get on it. I hit 6-iron and was counting on catching a flyer and I did. It looked like it flew probably 200 yards, maybe. Pitched about ten yards short maybe and rolled up to 15 feet right of the hole.

Q. Did you ever think that this might not happen, winning a major?

DAVID DUVAL: I honestly had not. I had not gotten to that point. I played -- I think this is my eighth year on Tour, I'm not sure, seven or eight. I had not gotten to that point of doubting it. I can tell you, though, if I had gotten to major 34, 35, 36, if I if I had not done it at that point, yeah, started to doubt it.

Q. I imagine a career among top players without one -- I talked -- inaudible -- couple of times and he said, "I got one, maybe I underachieved, but I got one."

DAVID DUVAL: The best way I can explain that and answer that question is that that having just ten days ago I had won a lot of events and made a lot of money on TOUR, and thought I had done all right so far. I was still early in the career. But looking back now, having gone through it and done it, done it and experienced everything, the emotions of it, the gallery -- for me, individually, I'm not going to talk for another player. For me, now having gone through it, I would not have realized because I wouldn't have done it, but I can tell that you my career would have been incomplete.

Q. As far as the course, how important is length out here? It's talked about, but if you look at the winners, there have been three or four guys that are not very long. How important is it out here?

DAVID DUVAL: Well, I think it can be very beneficial. A couple of the par 5's, you can hit at that maybe some of the medium to shorter hitters can not. Then again, some of those holes, if you did miss the greens, you would be dead, and I think with some of the changes they have made, they have eliminated some of that -- like 14 and backing up on 8. Guys just are not going to hit it now. There's just nowhere to hit it anymore.

Q. Does it level the playing field?

DAVID DUVAL: I think it might take some of the excitement out of it. You're not to see guys trying to hit 3-woods and 2-irons or 1-irons at the 14th green. There's just nowhere to hit it anymore. If you miss, you're done. There will probably be very few people who can get to 8 if they can play that back tee. Then having to hit 260 yards up the hill to a blind shot, I don't think guys are going to do it much.

Q. David, one of the tournaments you are thinking about for later this year you have mentioned the Australian Open; is that correct?

DAVID DUVAL: Yeah, that was one of the events that we had talked about, yeah.

Q. So are you playing the Grand Slam?

DAVID DUVAL: I think so.

Q. (Inaudible.)

DAVID DUVAL: My golf coach from Georgia Tech, Buggy Blackman (ph). He's at South Carolina now.

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