A quick look at David Duval's last 15 years

David Duval, still grinding. (Getty Images)
David Duval, still grinding. (Getty Images)

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It really was Throwback Thursday this week at the Zurich Classic with David Duval near the top of the Zurich Classic leaderboard after shooting a first-round 68.

We all did a collective double take and wondered where the former No. 1 had been since he was last ranked atop the heap on August 7, 1999.

Duval has made four combined cuts in the last two years and has one top 10 in the last three. He hasn't won a tournament since 2001.

He's only finished in the top 10 four times since 2002. Four times! Strangely one of those was at the 2009 US Open where he finished tied for second with Phil Mickelson and Ricky Barnes (man, that was a weird Open).

Here's a look at his world ranking graph:

Not pretty.

He's currently No. 1,099 in the world rankings and living off sponsor exemptions into tournaments he hasn't qualified for in the traditional sense.

Duval noted recently that if he doesn't regain his PGA Tour card this season he's going to stop living off those sponsor exemptions.

So, what happened to him?

There's a great profile of Duval from Men's Journal in 2010 where Chip Brown delves into the man that was and the man that wants to be. His issues were many but here's a condensed version from that article:

"It's hard to think of an elite athlete in any sport who has tumbled as far as David Duval. For most of the past decade, he has been wandering in the wilderness, beating the bushes of the PGA Tour for the form he once had, or not playing at all. He has been plagued by a series of injuries to his back, his neck, his wrist. The early phase of his golf-course troubles coincided with romantic straits when a longtime engagement fell apart. For several months he took an antidepressant. At the Ford Championship in 2003, he was diagnosed with positional vertigo."

As Ryan Lavner pointed out in his terrific column from Thursday, Duval's attitude towards the game has been getting better of late. He wants to be good again. He wants to be competitive. He's grinding. He's not who he once was.

"Looking back, I wasn’t physically equipped. My game wasn’t good enough," he said. "I was a little delusional about how I was playing. Now I’m not delusional about it."

Anbody not rooting for the Duval story?

I don't think so.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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