The former Georgia Tech golfer was talking about the “gigantic financial hit” he has taken from the real estate collapse, the solution he worked out with the bank over money owed on his home in the Denver suburb of Cherry Hills Village, and the strain it has caused during another tough year on the golf course.
He wanted to make clear that his house, which he has been trying to sell for several years, is not in foreclosure. He did not want to explain negotiations with the bank in detail because those talks are private. He also wanted to point out that he was among thousands, if not millions, who made real estate investments that turned sour during the crash.
His outlook was not unusual. Duval never considered himself different from anyone else, in good times or bad.
The high was when he reached No. 1 in the world and was the toughest rival Tiger Woods ever had. Everyone has a success story. The low point came at age 9, when he went through a painful bone marrow donation in a futile attempt to keep his brother, Brent, from dying of aplastic anemia. Harsh times, no doubt, but as he looked back on such a dark period in his life, he reasoned that his was not the only family coping with tragedy.
He has not been getting much attention for his golf. His last win was the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan at the end of 2001. The last time he contended was two years ago in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He has made only two cuts in 15 tournaments this year, and his best round is 69. He has done that twice.
Some of that is related to injuries, which have plagued him over the last decade. He revealed at the British Open that he had bone bruises in his knee, so painful that he planned to take a walking seat to the Reno-Tahoe Open so he could sit down between shots if necessary.
These would not seem to be the best of times.
After Reno, Duval is playing in two weeks in Greensboro, N.C., and then will have a month off before getting into whatever Fall Series events he can with hopes of finding something in his game, or at least making a few putts to get him pointed in the right direction.
He and his family have moved out of his home and found another place they are renting. The kids are still in the same school district. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though Duval would not say how bright it was.
As he spoke on the phone, he said his son was watching the Olympics. His daughter had fallen asleep in her mother’s lap. They were healthy and happy in a city devastated by the deaths from a gunman at a movie theater about 15 minutes from where they live.
“My niece went to a memorial today for one of the victims,” he said.
“My little girl is asleep. I’m going to wake up tomorrow and go to Reno and play some great golf. I couldn’t be happier.”