They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting a different result. By that definition, Ken Duke is quite insane. For the better part of 19 plus years he plied his trade on various professional golf tours without success—without winning–until Sunday when, at age 44, he won his first PGA tournament at the Travelers Championship. I’m fairly certain Ken Duke is not insane, but he has been remarkably persistent—doggedly so– in his pursuit of a PGA Tour victory at an age beyond which most would have long ago given up and gone to selling sweaters or insurance. Winning golf tournaments among the 40 year old set is commonplace these days, but winning your first tournament at age 44? Nope. By that age most guys have either given up the dream or they are already established winners on Tour.
In the Tiger Woods era, winning has become harder, but with purses and endorsement money having skyrocketed, making a very good living without doing so has become commonplace. Ninety-nine PGA Tour players made over $1 million in 2012. So it’s not as if Duke has been scraping by and living out of his car (although that would make for an even cooler story). In fact, Duke has done rather well for himself since undergoing a swing change in 2006, having snared two Web.com wins before finally making it to the PGA Tour where he collected $1.5 million in official money last year. Life has been ok for Ken Duke of late. But still, those who play golf for a living dream of PGA, not Web.com, wins and that remains an elusive dream for all but a small percentage of players. It was, for Ken Duke, just a dream as well…until Sunday.