He was The Players champion, held the Claret Jug and was ranked No. 1 in the world. Now, David Duval is about to become something different: a rookie.

Duval, an Episcopal graduate and Jacksonville native, will make his PGA Tour Champions debut this weekend at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hualailai, Hawaii.

Duval was a month away from his 50th birthday when the first Furyk and Friends tournament was held at Timuquana Country Club, so he was ineligible to enter the tournament. But now that he’s hit the big 5-0, Duval is planning a pretty solid schedule on the Tour that includes the best 50-plus golfers on the planet.

“Surreal, I guess, is the best way to put it,” Duval said. “Enormous excitement, enormous satisfaction, enormous pleasure. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the PGA Tour Champions presents, the opportunity it gives us as players. There is nervousness, excitement and anxiety, because I haven’t competed regularly in a very long time, but the opportunity to do so only makes me smile.

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Duval hasn’t been a regular on the PGA Tour since 2013, but he’s remained close to the game as a broadcaster on the Golf Channel. He says he feels good about his golf game, but admits the challenge of competition is still a question mark.

“My golf has been good. I worked hard. I swing the golf club well,” Duval said. “As I’ve talked about in the past on TV, it’s different when you’re at home doing things as opposed to when you walk into a competitive environment. I just have to get used to that kind of thing. competitive environment. Just the opportunity to build a full schedule, know when I’m going to play, get into that packing and travel routine and all of those things are going to be good.

Duval expects to play in about 20 tournaments. “A complete program”, as he calls it.

“Understanding with the family, with the kids, all those things, where to build breaks, where they can come, things like that,” Duval said.

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He’s still figuring out how he’ll juggle golf and his television duties, but he has a clear goal for the year.

“Have fun,” he said. “Have a lot of fun.”

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