As a kid growing up with golf, I had one hero: David Robert Duval. I wanted to be him. I even wore Oakley wrap-around glasses just like he did. It was my dream to one day be a professional golfer and have the honor of playing with him. Fast forward 15 years, and we come to Saturday afternoon.
As other golfers were finishing up their round, the group of David Duval, Jamie Lovemark & Dean Wilson completed the 18th hole. As we did for every group that was finishing, we asked them if they would like to walk back or be taken by a cart back to the clubhouse. I was busy helping control the crowds, as people clamored for Hawai’i-born Dean Wilson’s autograph when my brother signaled to me that a golfer wanted a ride. I didn’t know who it was at first, but as I looked up, I was face-to-face with David Duval himself.
“Mr. Duval, would you like a ride?” I squeaked out. “Yes, please. I have to pick up my kid from daycare before it closes” he replied. Usually I could shoot out a quick one-liner to break the ice, but this time I was star struck. Here I was, driving my childhood hero back to the clubhouse! I remained as calm as I could, and drove as normally as I could. I didn’t want to be the guy that killed David Duval in a golf cart accident or something.
As we drove up to the clubhouse, I worked up the courage to ask him one favor. “Mr. Duval, I am a big fan of yours, could you sign my badge?” A big no-no by PGA standards, but I did NOT care. If I got yelled at, got fired, or even shot, I would have died a happy man. “Sure, no problem” he responded and quickly signed my badge. He probably hears that a lot, but to me, it was the chance of a lifetime. I know he won’t ever read this, but thank you Mr. Duval, you made a 28 year-old man a 13 year-old boy again.
Anyway, after that, nothing could really compare to that experience. The tournament finished the weekend with a 36-hole marathon on Sunday, and Alex and I drove and escorted many more players including Shigeki Maruyama, Ryoji Imada, Davis Love III, and more. All nice, cordial people, and a pleasure to work for. Hopefully they have a great year and are able to come back again next year. Alex and I will be there, if they need a ride.
Aloha for now,