Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, January 11, 1999

P G A _ G O L F

By Ken Sakamoto, Star-Bulletin
David Duval sits in his new Mercedes with his
girlfriend Julie McArthur after winning the
Mercedes Championships.

New year,
same Duval

The PGA's leading money
winner last year starts the new
season with a runaway victory

By Bill Kwon


KAPALUA, Maui -- David Duval didn't know how prophetic he was at the start of the Mercedes Championships that began the PGA Tour season in Hawaii.

"It's like a continuation of last year," Duval said about the short offseason break.

Sure enough, 1999 seems like 1998 never ended. Talk about a rollover.

There was Duval winning again as he did four times last year, and getting a jump-start on the single-season record of $2.59 million he set. He pocketed the $468,000 top prize with his victory and is driving off with a new Mercedes-Benz SL 500.

Duval shot a final-round 68 to post a 26-under score of 266 for 72 holes to win by a whopping nine strokes as the tradewinds finally returned at the Plantation Course.

Finished tied for second with Billy Mayfair at 275? Mark O'Meara, who beat out Duval for the title of golf's player of the year last season. Again, new year, same story.

"It's neat to do this," Duval said about his victory. "And to do it in a tournament in which everybody knows how to win."

Knowing how to win has become a trademark of Duval, who lately is out-Tigering Tiger Woods as golf's most dominant player.

Associated Press
David Duval raises his putter to acknowledge
the cheers as he walks up the 18th green at Kapalua.

"Those guys are the Michael Jordans of our tour," said Fred Funk, who played in the final twosome with Duval. "David right now is our dominant guy. He's got it all. You can say all the superlatives."

Superlatives? Check out Duval's accomplishments, counting his Mercedes runaway:

Bullet Eighth PGA victory in 15 months, the best since Nick Price's nine titles in 15 months during the 1993-94 seasons.

Bullet Victories in three of his last six starts, eight in his last 27 tour events.

Bullet Earnings of $4.32 million in those 27 tournaments and $6.81 million since 1995

For someone who had a difficult time getting into the winner's circle at the beginning of his pro career, it's amazing that nobody can keep him out of it now. Before, he had a hard time winning. Now he has a hard time losing.

"He's a great player right now, no question about it," O'Meara said. "He's got all the tools. If you look at David's performance the last two years, it's been pretty phenomenal."

"He just hasn't stopped since he started winning," added an interested observer, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.

Can Duval keep it up? Well, he won't this week, as he's skipping the Sony Open in Hawaii -- the tour's first full-field event -- at the Waialae Country Club. That should make the 20 players staying over for another week glad.

O'Meara thinks Duval can sustain his hot streak.

"It wouldn't faze me if he got out there and won another, four, five, six tournaments. He's got the ability to do that."

"I'll sit here and tell you, I certainly hope I can do it for another 10 or 15 years," Duval said, prompting laughs in the press room.

"To think of doing that, at any point, especially in today's game, is unrealistic."

Nothing seemed to faze Duval in his four-day scenic stroll over the Plantation Course, regarded by all of the players as one of the two most difficult to walk on the PGA Tour. The other is Castle Pines in Colorado, site of the Sprint International.

Funk, his playing partner yesterday, tried to. He took Duval's courtesy car the night before, moved the seats up, skewed the mirrors and turned the wipers and heater on.

On the 17th hole, Funk asked Duval, "By the way, how was your car? Didn't faze him."

Duval wasn't in a zone as he was on Friday when he shot a curse-record, 10-under 63 to take a stranglehold of the lead after which he never looked back.

Having the big lead going into the final round, playing a course that finally was playing like it should -- that is, with winds of 10-20 mph -- felt a little weird, unsettling, according to Duval.

"I really didn't know what was going to happen," said Duval, who bogeyed the fourth hole and nearly did the same at five. But he settled down after making a five-foot putt for par at the par-5 hole.

"That kind of woke me up," said Duval, who birdied six and nine and shot four-under after the turn. The two-putt birdie at 18 made him 26 under, just two above the PGA Tour record 28-under that John Huston shot in the final Hawaiian Open at Waialae last February.

Runner-up Mark O’Meara
is looking forward to the first
Sony Open at Waialae this week

By Paul Arnett


KAPALUA, Maui -- Mark O'Meara is a little long in the tooth to be running with the likes of Tiger Woods and David Duval.

He was named the 1998 PGA Tour Player of the Year after winning The Masters and the British Open Championship. Not since Nick Price turned the trick in 1994 has one golfer won two majors in one year.

O'Meara's resurgence was worthy of such an award that is given by his peers. But he'll be the first to tell you that all runs in golf are fleeting, especially at his age. He celebrates his 42nd birthday on Wednesday, which puts him 14 years in front of Duval and 19 years removed from Woods.

He was certainly feeling his 19 years on Tour after walking 72 hilly holes at The Plantation Course. But before you put him on ice for eight years and take him out in time for the Senior Tour, O'Meara may be the one old dog who can still hunt with the young pups.

The only person to equal his final-round 68 at yesterday's Mercedes Championships was Duval, who shot a blistering 26-under 266 to capture the $2.6 million PGA Tour opener.

His 5-under effort lifted O'Meara into a second-place tie with Billy Mayfair, a distant nine strokes off Duval's pace. It was the largest margin of victory on Tour since Woods captured the 1997 Masters by 12 shots.

''Well, I didn't feel like I hit it as well as I would have liked to this week, to be honest with you,'' said O'Meara, who will be the headline act at this week's inaugural Sony Open in Hawaii. ''I know I shot 17-under. It wasn't like I was holing them from everywhere.

''I just fought out there as hard as I could for four days. I'm pleased that I shot the score I shot, considering the way I felt standing over the ball. This is a golf course which requires somebody to be a powerful player, and David's a powerful player.

''He's a great player right now. There's no question about it. He's got all the tools. He's very composed when he's on the golf course. I've played with him when he's at his best. He's just coming into his own.''

Such is not the case for O'Meara. His is more of a second coming.

After winning eight events from 1981-92, O'Meara had a three-year drought that left many wondering if he would just fade from view.

Fortunately for him, that didn't happen. The Windemere, Fla., resident has won another eight events since capturing the Honda Classic in March of 1995. O'Meara pocketed $228,800 yesterday for finishing second for the 20th time in his career. It raised his PGA earnings to $10.5 million, half of which he won over the last four years.

''You look at a player of today's era,'' O'Meara said. ''Tiger Woods, David Duval, some of these other young, powerful players. They've got the driving, they've got the power, they've got the control, they've got the good short game and the putting to go along with that.

''I don't think I've ever gone like these guys are going. I don't think I have the talent that David Duval has. I don't have the talent that Tiger Woods has, I know that. I do think I have some pretty good ability. I just play my own game out there.''

Which should be better-suited for this week's event at Waialae Country Club. Granted, the course is now a par-70. But being long doesn't necessarily mean instant results. To conquer Waialae, you must have patience and a good iron game.

It also helps that Duval and Woods are skipping the event.

''I'm looking forward to going back over there,'' O'Meara said. ''I know the course has changed. I'll work on a couple of things on the practice tee, hopefully get them ironed out a little bit, and try to get the ball up in the air a little better.

''(This course is) easier to walk. I won't have shinsplints and I won't have to stretch. We're going from the hardest course to walk to the easiest.''

Which may be all the edge this old-timer needs to keep pace with the young lions.


Mercedes Championship

At Kapalua, Maui
Bullet Final-round results, par-73
David Duval, $468,000 -- 67-63-68-68--266
Mark O'Meara, $228,800 -- 70-68-69-68--275
Billy Mayfair, $228,800 -- 66-69-69-71--275
Vijay Singh, $124,800 -- 70-65-70-71--276
Justin Leonard, $94,900 -- 68-72-68-69--277
Tiger Woods, $94,900 -- 69-69-67-72--277
Fred Funk, $94,900 -- 66-69-68-74--277
Davis Love III, $81,900 -- 69-68-71-70--278
Jim Furyk, $76,700 -- 68-69-68-75--280
Fred Couples, $72,800 -- 69-68-73-71--281
Billy Andrade, $69,550 -- 67-70-74-71--282
J.P. Hayes, $66,950 -- 70-71-70-72--283
Lee Janzen, $63,050 -- 69-72-74-69--284
Jeff Sluman, $63,050 -- 73-67-72-72--284
Steve Pate, $59,150 -- 66-70-73-76--285
Stuart Appleby, $55,250 -- 70-71-72-73--286
Brandel Chamblee, $55,250 -- 70-71-69-76--286
Joe Durant, $51,025 -- 66-70-77-74--287
John Huston, $51,025 -- 71-71-73-72--287
Chris Perry, $47,125 -- 69-73-74-72--288
Mark Calcavecchia, $47,125 -- 70-71-70-77--288
Steve Jones, $43,550 -- 75-69-73-73--290
John Cook, $43,550 -- 68-69-80-73--290
Phil Mickelson, $43,550 -- 72-70-70-78--290
Scott Simpson, $40,950 -- 71-71-74-76--292
Steve Elkington, $39,975 -- 74-73-73-73--293
Jesper Parnevik, $39,975 -- 69-74-73-77--293
Trevor Dodds, $39,130 -- 72-73-75-75--295
Tom Watson, $38,610 -- 74-71-75-76--296
Michael Bradley, $38,090 -- 71-78-76-76--301

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