Ladies and Gentlemen, Your 2008 Open Champion, David Duval?

john b Correspondent IJuly 21, 2008

When David Duval walked off the 18th green on that windy Saturday following his third-round 83, golf fans across the world were not surprised.

In fact, they were waiting for it. 

To most, David Duval is a has-been, once-was, never to be heard from again. To the field at Royal Birkdale, Duval was a legitimate threat.

The past seven seasons have seen Duval reach depths of golf despair never before seen. Duval has fallen so low, Ian-Baker Finch makes jokes at Duval's expense.

Just one year removed from an Open Championship, Duval dropped to 80th in the World Golf Rankings. The following year, he fell to 211th in the WGR and in 2003 he was off the map completely. 

From 2004 until now, Duval has made several attempts to regain his fluid swing and precise ball striking. However, nagging injuries, a total body transformation (via the weight room) a shortness of desire, and a severe lack of confidence would only see Duval miss more cuts than he would make. 

So how can I declare David Duval the Open Champion? His confidence is back! The question now is when will David Duval's resurgence take form?

If you actually watched the tournament, you saw Duval strike the ball better than the world's No. 2 player, Phil Mickelson. He kept pace with Jim Furyk, Ernie Els, and Adam Scott. His persistence following that third-round 83 led him to a final-round 71, finishing in front of the pre-tournament favorite Sergio Garcia.

David Duval is closer now to winning a tournament than he was the day after his 2001 Open Championship.