Kenneth Wootson Duke (born January 29, 1969) is an American professional golfer who plays on the PGA Tour Champions.

Ken Duke
Personal information
Full nameKenneth Wootson Duke
Born (1969-01-29) January 29, 1969 (age 50)
Hope, Arkansas
Height6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight205 lb (93 kg; 14.6 st)
Nationality United States
ResidencePalm City, Florida
SpouseMichelle
ChildrenAshleigh, Lauren
Career
CollegeHenderson State University
Turned professional1994
Current tour(s)PGA Tour Champions
Former tour(s)PGA Tour
Nationwide Tour
Canadian Tour
Professional wins5
Highest ranking70 (June 23, 2013)[1]
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour1
Korn Ferry Tour2
Other2
Best results in major championships
Masters TournamentT35: 2009
PGA ChampionshipT13: 2008
U.S. OpenT23: 2007
The Open ChampionshipT64: 2013
Achievements and awards
Canadian Tour
Order of Merit winner
1999
Nationwide Tour
leading money winner
2006
Nationwide Tour
Player of the Year
2006

Early lifeEdit

Duke was born in Hope, Arkansas, the son of Ray and Bettie Duke. As a seventh grader in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, he was diagnosed with scoliosis; it was determined that his spine had a curvature of over 26 percent, and he wore a back brace 23 hours a day. Duke had surgery two years later after it was determined that his spine had a 51 percent curvature. At Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, on February 25, 1985, the day of the surgery, Duke's spine was at 72 degrees and worsening. Once a 16-inch metal rod was attached to his spine, the curve of Duke’s back was set at 38 degrees, within the range of normal, and that’s where it has stayed ever since.[2] Months later, back playing for Arkadelphia High School, he won medalist honors in a high school district golf tournament while wearing a back brace.[3] In 1987, he was the Arkansas High School Medalist at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock.[4]

Duke played his college golf at Division II Henderson State University. Duke led the Reddies to four straight Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference titles and was a four-time AIC Golfer of the Year. In 1992, he earned NAIA All-American honors[4]

Professional careerEdit

After turning professional in 1994, Duke bounced around the world playing mini-tours and on the Asian Tour, South American Tour, and the Canadian Tour. In 1999, he won twice on the Canadian Tour and led their Order of Merit. Duke first played on what was then the Nike Tour in 1995 and qualified for the PGA Tour in 2004, but failed to keep his card and returned to the Nationwide Tour. In 2006 he finished at the top of the Nationwide Tour money list and won the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs, which regained his playing rights on the PGA Tour for 2007.

After a slow start to the 2007 season, Duke hit a run of good form in the spring, with four consecutive top 10 finishes, elevating Duke into the top 100 of the Official World Golf Rankings.

At the 2011 Nationwide Tour Championship, Duke secured his PGA Tour card with a win. He jumped from 36th on the Tour's money list to seventh.

On June 23, 2013, in his 187th start and after three runner-up finishes in his career, Duke broke through to win his first event on the PGA Tour at the Travelers Championship. He beat Chris Stroud with a birdie on the second extra hole of a sudden-death playoff. He entered the final round two shots back of the leaders, but shot a final round 66 to take the lead in the clubhouse before Stroud chipped in on the final green to force a playoff. In the playoff, after both players made par on the first extra hole, Duke played his approach to within three feet. Stroud, who was about 30 feet away, could not make a birdie, leaving Duke to convert from three feet for his first PGA Tour victory.[5] He also reached a career-best world ranking of 70th after his win.

In the 2016 Players Championship, Duke shot a 65 during the third round on Saturday May 14, 2016. Conditions were very difficult that day and this round was subsequently viewed as one of the best rounds ever played at TPC Sawgrass. “What course was Ken Duke playing today? Can anyone tell me? Was he playing across the road?” said Jason Day after his third-round 73. “I think that should be the course record.” "The greens were the fastest I've ever putted," said Russell Knox. "I looked up on the board and saw Ken Duke shot 65 and was like, what? That's the best round of golf ever, probably."[6] He finished tied for third in the tournament, winning $504,000.

Duke was one of the last players to retain his Tour card via earnings, an exemption the PGA Tour ended prior to the 2017–18 season. Duke was unable to retain full Tour status after the season and became eligible for PGA Tour Champions in January 2019.

Professional wins (5)Edit

PGA Tour wins (1)Edit

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
victory
Runner-up
1 Jun 23, 2013 Travelers Championship −12 (69-68-65-66=268) Playoff   Chris Stroud

PGA Tour playoff record (1–0)

No. Year Tournament Opponent Result
1 2013 Travelers Championship   Chris Stroud Won with birdie on second extra hole

Nationwide Tour wins (2)Edit

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
victory
Runner-up
1 Apr 30, 2006 BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs −13 (69-68-68-68=273) 1 stroke   Jess Daley
2 Oct 30, 2011 Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island −10 (72-68-70-68=278) 2 strokes   Scott Brown

Canadian Tour wins (2)Edit

Results in major championshipsEdit

Tournament 1997 1998 1999
Masters Tournament
U.S. Open
The Open Championship CUT
PGA Championship
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Masters Tournament T35
U.S. Open CUT T23 CUT
The Open Championship CUT
PGA Championship T18 T13 CUT
Tournament 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Masters Tournament CUT
U.S. Open CUT
The Open Championship T64
PGA Championship T62 T57
  Did not play

CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" = tied

SummaryEdit

Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1
U.S. Open 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 1
The Open Championship 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1
PGA Championship 0 0 0 0 0 2 5 4
Totals 0 0 0 0 0 3 14 7
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 4 (2007 U.S. Open – 2009 Masters)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 0

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Week 25 2013 Ending 23 Jun 2013" (pdf). OWGR. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  2. ^ Miceli, Alex (February 12, 2012). "Ken Duke's unlikely journey to Tour". Golfweek.
  3. ^ "Ken's Story". Ken Duke website. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Mitchell, Troy (October 17, 2013). "Ken Duke: A Story of Patience and Perseverance". Henderson State University.
  5. ^ "Ken Duke wins PGA Tour's Travelers Championship in playoff over Chris Stroud". ESPN. Associated Press. June 23, 2013. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  6. ^ Myers, Alex (May 15, 2016). "Why Ken Duke's Saturday 65 may be the greatest round in Players history". Golf Digest. Retrieved September 20, 2019.

External linksEdit