He’s been The Players champion, held the Claret Jug and been ranked No. 1 in the world. Now, David Duval is set to become something different: a rookie.
Duval, an Episcopal grad and Jacksonville native, will make his PGA Tour Champions debut this weekend at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualailai in Hawaii.
Duval was a month shy of his 50th birthday when the inaugural Furyk and Friends tournament was held at Timuquana Country Club, so he was ineligible to play in the tournament. But now that he’s hit the big 5-0, Duval is planning on a fairly robust schedule on the tour that features the best 50 and over golfers on the planet.
“Surreal, I guess, is the best way to put it,” Duval said. “Tremendous excitement, tremendous satisfaction, tremendous pleasure. Really looking forward to what the PGA Tour Champions presents, the opportunity it gives us as players. There’s some nervousness and some excitement and anxious, because I haven’t competed consistently for a very long time, but the opportunity to do that is just putting a smile on my face.”
Duval hasn’t been a regular on the PGA Tour since 2013, but he has stayed close to the game as a broadcaster on Golf Channel. He says he feels good about his golf game, but admits the challenge of competing is still a question mark.
“My golf has been good. I’ve been working hard. I’m swinging the golf club well,” Duval said. “As I’ve talked about in the past on TV, it’s different when you’re at home doing things as opposed to when you get into a competitive environment. I just have to get used to kind of that competitive environment. Just the opportunity to build a full schedule, to know when I’m going to play, get into that routine of packing and traveling and all those things is going to be good.”
Duval expects to play in around 20 tournaments. “A full schedule,” as he calls it.
“Figuring out with family, with the kids, all those things, where to build breaks, where they can come, things like that,” Duval said.
He’s still figuring out how he will juggle golf with his television duties, but he has one clear goal for the year.
“Have a lot of fun,” he said. “Have a lot of fun.”