By Bob Harig
Special to
Sunday, April 8

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- In another era, David Duval and Phil Mickelson might be heralded as amazing champions, golfers who have the goods to win major championships.

But how do you get your own green jacket, or any major championship memento for that matter, with Tiger Woods hording them?

 David Duval
David Duval failed to convert birdie chances on both the 17th and 18th holes.
Duval played spectacular golf on Sunday during the final round of The Masters, a major championship where he has contended for four straight years with no glory to show for it.

For all the talk of Duval's rustiness, his lack of good play this year due to injury, there he was on the back nine, right on Woods' tail, shooting a final-round 67 that wasn't good enough.

Then there's Mickelson, who now has competed in 30 major championships as a pro and has walked away without a single trophy. He shot 70 playing in the final twosome with Woods, having shot three straight rounds in the 60s before that, and slumped away third.

"It's very difficult to win these events, any of these major golf tournaments," said Duval, who now has eight top-10 finishes in majors. "To have your game peak at the right place, at the right time. There's an art to that. It's an accomplishment for him that I don't know what you would compare it to, because I don't know if there is anything you can compare it with."

Much like three years ago, when Duval played well in the final round, only to have Mark O'Meara steal The Masters with birdies on the last two holes, he played well enough to win. His 67 matched the low round of the day, and he stayed right with Woods, making eight birdies.

Ultimately, his bogey at the par-3 16th cost him dearly, but it wasn't because he hit a poor shot.

"To be perfectly honest with you, I thought I might have made a 1," Duval said. "You just don't fly the ball 190 yards with a 7-iron. That hurt, obviously, to make a 4 there. ... I can't stand out there and hit an 8-iron.

"Everybody would call me an idiot if I did. You have to cover that bunker. I don't want to say it's untimely to hit such a good shot. (But) it's one of those ones where if I missed it just a little bit, it would have turned out better."

Mickelson, too, had trouble at the 16th.

"(No.) 16 was a real killer, because I finally got within a shot, and I needed to step up and make a really good swing there and attack that pin and make a birdie," said Mickelson, who finished three shots back. "I pulled a 7-iron up on that slope and it was a very disappointing shot. I needed to put some pressure on and have at least a good birdie opportunity.

"And when I was looking at that putt, not only was I not really looking at making it, but I was going to have a tough time two-putting."

Mickelson three-putted, and needed help from Woods, who was unwilling to give it.

That's the problem with chasing Woods. It's full-court pressure for 72 holes, never allowing you to make a mistake while making few himself.

"I feel my game is to the point where I feel like I can finally win these tournaments and contend in them regularly," Mickelson said. "I really do have that confidence.

"But if I'm going to win with Tiger in the field, I cannot make the mistakes that I have been making. I've got to eliminate those somehow. I may be able to make one or two, but I can't make as many as I've made all week. I just can't afford to keep throwing shot after shot away."

If Mickelson, the No. 2-ranked player in the world feels that way, imagine the task ahead for everyone else.

Bob Harig, who covers golf for the St. Petersburg Times, writes a column every Tuesday for HELP | ADVERTISER INFO | CONTACT US | TOOLS | SITE MAP
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Woods wins second Masters, place in history

ESPN's Scott Van Pelt talks with David Duval after his second-place finish at The Masters.
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