It is a throwaway line from David Duval on what has occurred since he won his last professional tournament. It is a sentence that speaks to what the American would call the existential moments of his journey as a sportsman, a father, a son, a brother and a husband.
Duval was a champion, he could shoot a round of 59, he won the Open by three strokes at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2001. He has won nothing since. He has suffered a "laundry list" of ailments that include tendinitis in both shoulders and elbows, bone bruises on both knees, a chronic back problem and vertigo. "I've been lucky," he says. "I'm incredibly blessed." The tone is that of a deeply-felt humility.
A Duval interview should be prefaced by the pale American stating: "Hi, I'm David and I am a survivor." The zen of David, the tao of Duval has the most basic of messages. He is grateful for where he has been, but he is glad to be where he is now.
He was a rival of Tiger Woods, a friend to the stars. He is now married with five children and does not chat to Woods much but believes he is the luckier partner in a two-ball that once dominated golf.
"We were decent friends 10 years ago, 12 years ago. We talked a fair amount," said Duval of Woods. "Are we friends? I guess so. We don't talk. I'm not one to even imagine the microscope under which he has to live. As big as I may have become in golf, I just barely transcended the game and got outside of it as far as popularity or star power, if you will. But you're talking about a world star that most people in sports around the world know. And that's a tough life to have to live."
Duval has encountered problems, Woods has collided with scandal with his myriad sexual adventures chronicled in detail. "We all have problems. We all make choices, but when all your choices are, you know, scrutinised and written about, I don't know if it's a comfortable existence, really. It's not one I want," said Duval.
"He obviously has found some peace in his life, is happy, I think, with how he's playing golf again. So I wouldn't hesitate to have a beer with him, but it would probably have to be hidden in some house somewhere. It's not like he can go to the public and do it. And that sucks that he can't do that. And that's a tough thing. We stroll in town and have a beer and a pizza, and it's fun."
Duval acknowledged Woods could not stride unmolested through Lytham and added: "Would you like to live that way? It's tough. I wouldn't want it."
Duval, now 775th in the world and with about $27,000 in winnings this year, still has the internal drive despite the engine suffering from the knocks inflicted by injury and by life. His older brother, Brent, died after suffering from aplastic anaemia when Duval was nine, despite the aspiring golfer donating bone marrow. "I've had two lives," he said yesterday, explaining that it was difficult to recall his days with his departed brother.
His existence as a golfer was "narrow-minded" if almost impossibly lucrative. The shots and the endorsements brought in tens of millions of dollars. "I will be certain to never live that way again," said Duval.
His rebirth to a fulfilling life took place away from the golf course. A relationship ended in 2002 and two years later he met Susie Persichitte in a restaurant in Denver and they married. He now has three grown-up stepchildren and a seven-year-old son and four-year-old daughter from his marriage.
He has come back to Lytham for the first time since he won the Claret Jug and loves to hear spectators tell his oldest boy that dad is an Open champion. "My life has blown up exponentially in a wonderful way with meeting my wife," he said. "I'm an incredibly, incredibly wealthy man. I've got a wife that loves me. I love her."
Like all champions, however, he still believes he can win. He spent two hours battering balls into a rain-flecked gale on Tuesday, despite two painful knees and two nagging shoulders. "I've worked my tail off," he said about his attitude to the sport that gave him much but somehow not enough.
But his realisation that there is life away from a golf course has, perhaps, fatally compromised his ability to climb that summit again. He has come close, finishing second in the US Open at Bethpage in 2009. "I love playing the game; I'm really good at it," he said, almost unnecessarily, yesterday.
However, Duval's focus has widened to include wife, sons and daughters. "I'm not hitting balls in the rain just for myself. I'm doing this for my family because I believe in what I am doing."
The player who once prowled the fairways hidden behind sunglasses and sheltering behind a withdrawn personality was brutally honest yesterday. "We all grow and change as people, at least we hope to," he said when a gentle reference was made to his ability to close himself off to the outside world.
Of the past, he said: "Do I wish I could have done it a little different? Yeah, I do. But that's how I knew to do it then."
So how does the 40-year-old husband and father look back on the champion who had the world at his feet on a summer's day in 2001? "I'm an entirely different person," he said. "Back then it was all about me and all about golf, just like the majority of people that have marched through here this week. I mean, it revolves around them, everything. And I've been fortunate in my life to be able to kind of branch out and understand there's some things that are a little more important than this. It does not mean I don't love it, don't think I'm really good at it, and don't think I'm going to be really great at it again and don't desire to be.
"Life has opened up to me and I've seen life, and I love it and enjoy it and embrace it. I'm pretty lucky not to be the same person I was 10 years ago, 11 years ago. Everybody changes. We're no different; we just have to talk about it."
He is speaking more and winning less. That's life for Duval and he knows he has the better of that deal.
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