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Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Duval's in the Details

Photo of David DuvalDavid Duval made his 11th cut of the year Friday. That's less than half of the 25 tournaments he's entered.

For most players, that would be terrible news. For David's fans (like me) it's encouraging.

He missed the first 2 cuts in the Fall Finish, now he's made it in numbers 3 and 4. Last week at the Fry' Open he was T6 and made only his second six-figure check of the year. (The other was at the AT&T Pebble Beach back in February, where he finished T2 and cashed a check for over half a mil.) That second check put him at #99 on the money list, well inside the 125 who keep their Tour cards.

He's currently T20 (-8) at the Timberlake Shriners Open after a second round of -7, and he's projected to finish at #98. It looks like he's going to play two good tournaments in a row! Best of all, this is David's first time inside the 125 since 2002... and again, that's encouraging news.

Why has David struggled so much? At this point, it's just inconsistency... and given the small number of current swing videos available, I haven't been able to spot anything conclusive. My best guess is that his change of direction isn't always the same. David really slides his hips forward during his swing, as you can see in this video (all of these videos are from this year, btw):

I wouldn't recommend that "reverse C" David has, but he's had it a long time so it's just a given. (And, as you can tell, Rick Kent seems to like it... we have a difference of opinion there.) I think the problem is how this move interacts with another move of David's...

If you read any of my Route 67 posts, you know I started a series on what I call the "Secret Move" -- the different ways people get their wrist cock from the top of the swing down to the hitting area. I've done three so far, but one I haven't gotten to yet is David's method. Some teachers call it "laying off the club." Here's David doing it with his driver:

If you look at his hands from :22 to :26, you'll see that they drop almost straight down from above his head to shoulder level. Compare that to this video of the same swing with an iron:

Not quite as visible from this angle, but you can still tell that it's a smaller drop. That makes sense because the swing is a little shorter with the iron. Now compare that with another iron shot that didn't come off right (we know that because he lets go of the club at the finish):

Now compare these three videos at :33 (driver), :11 (iron), and :12 (flub). David has a very strong grip (as pointed out in the Kent video). I mentioned in a previous swing analysis (I think it was the post about Bernhard Langer's swing) that players with strong grips have to get their bodies turned quickly if they want to keep the ball going where they want it to go. In the flubbed shot, David's hips and shoulders clearly haven't gotten anywhere near the same position as the two good shots.

I think that's caused by a combination of the "drop move" with the hands and the "reverse C" with the lower body. David generates a lot of power, but when his timing is off just a little he gets out of position. That causes him to push or pull shots.

Maybe he's finally found some consistency the last couple of weeks. I certainly hope so -- David would be a great addition to the storylines for next season.

At least it looks like he'll be playing a full schedule again. Hooray! ;-)


  1. Get on it Double-D !! I'm with you. A huge Duval fan and I'd love to see him get his game back together for at least a solid top 20 on the money list each year.

    I haven't seen any of the Vegas tournament. Do you know if he still has the Scratch irons in the bag ?

    By the way - I HATE the word "projected" in golf. Golf is too fluid of a sport. His "projected" spot of 98 on the money list could disappear in a single hole, or a stretch of two or three holes...or he could go on a run and improve his standing.

    It's not a "projected" standing - it is a PRESENT standing - but leave it to xxx Golf Channel to play follow the leader with their terminology and not think about what they're saying. They're trying to sound intelligent and superior, but they effectively make themselves out to be real dummies.

  2. Haven't heard anything about what irons he's carrying... but last week I heard that he had changed almost every club in his bag and had finally found some that were working for him. Since the main talk has been about finding a good driver and Nike only recently dropped him, I'd be willing to bet the Scratch irons are still there.

    They can project standings all they want, all I know is this: He was #99 after the Frys and he made the cut this week. With only one tournament to go, he's probably going to get his card. HOORAY!!!

  3. Dopey me - I'll just ask the Scratch guys

  4. Just paid attention to the Golf Channel commercial for this tournament in Malaysia. Lots of Kerr, Gulbis, and Wie swings - but on one swing from Wie, they show a ball missing a green. Just struck me as funny. :-D

    Win McMurray sporting lots of bling today - YOWZA !! :-)

  5. Yep - still playing the Scratch AR-1 irons with the digger/driver sole grind. Ari's pretty happy about it.