x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Duval excited at chance of some major action

David Duval's fall from grace is as spectacular as any in sport, but he is guaranteed another Open appearance next month on the strength of his Carnoustie win in 2001.

David Duval's fall from grace is as spectacular as any in sport. No 1 for 15 weeks in his heyday a decade ago, he had slipped outside the top 1,000 in the rankings when he arrived at Royal Birkdale for last year's British Open where he briefly threatened to win the Claret Jug for the second time. He is guaranteed another Open appearance at Turnberry next month on the strength of his Carnoustie win in 2001 - his last tournament victory of any kind.

Duval, 37, regards that showpiece event on a par with his own US Open as the two biggest events on the calendar and now he can look forward to playing in both of them for the first time in three years after qualifying for next week's major at Bethpage, New York. Duval said: "I am excited about how I'm playing ... so I'm looking forward to it." Also winding back the years was the 1996 British Open champion Tom Lehman who managed to qualify, but two other major winners - Jose Maria Olazabel and Davis Love III - failed to reach the qualifying standard.

American Phil Mickelson, the world No 2, is bracing himself for an emotional welcome on to the tee today for the St Jude Classic in Memphis as he returns to action after five weeks on the sidelines comforting his wife Amy, who has breast cancer. "It is hard to describe how much the outpouring of support has meant to us," said Mickelson after his fellow professionals and their wives wore pink during last month's Colonial Invitational tournament.

"We both had tears rolling down our faces. "That is such an incredibly thoughtful gesture, not only for Amy but for the 200,000 women who are diagnosed with breast cancer each year." wjohnson@thenational.ae