With his runner-up finish at the World Accenture Match Play Championship, Frenchman Victor Dubuisson announced his arrival on the international golf scene.
Just 23 years old, till then he had only played in four events previously on the USPGA Tour and in three starts this season, had one top-25 finish earning $155,000.
But the young Frenchman made a big purse last week. The $905,000 second-place check will put him over $1 million for the year, to say nothing of the endorsement contracts he will likely receive.
Two phenomenal recoveries from the desert cacti and brush saw to this in the sudden death playoff that Victor Dubuisson forced after being three down.
England’s Sir Nick Faldo compared the 23-year-old to the legendary Seve Ballesteros and Ireland’s Rory McIlroy agreed “Haven’t seen short-game magic like that since the great Seve!” Tom Watson, Graeme McDowell and Luke Donald all followed suit in their praise of him, even Ballesteros’s son waxed lyrical: “It doesn’t matter who won, Victor Dubuisson is my new hero!”
Victor Dubuisson is in fact, a D’Artagnan revisited his with his trimmed mustache and neat little beard and, he wields the golf club much as might have the youngest of the Musketeers his sword.
He “hit two of the greatest recovery shots a golf mind can conceive”, lauded one scribe, while the legendary Gary Player tweeted: This is simply fantastic stuff!! He is Houdini, a magician with cajones!! Incroyable!! Allez!”
Dubuisson rise to golfing glory began in the morning semi-final when he came from being 3-down to beat the formidable Ernie Els, a player at 44 almost twice his age. The young man admitted he had been intimidated at the thought of facing Els. Citing Els together with Tiger Wood as his all-time favorite players, he went on to say in broken English: “On the first tee, I shake the hand of Ernie Els … I was not feeling too comfortable. I was very impressed to be standing next to him. I was thinking of all the majors he’s won…”
A “crash course” on Dubuisson followed his famous defeat at the hands of Australian Justin Day in the final: he stood a far off 30th in the world rankings; he had won the Turkish Airlines Open win over a star-studded field earlier overcoming strong competition; he had made three made cuts on the PGA Tour this year, including a tie for 13th at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach; he had won the 2009 European Amateur Championship, and, he had left school to concentrate to pursue a golf career – all of which amounted to a less than resplendent record.
But the last word on the strikingly handsome Frenchman’s performance said it all: “he won, even though he lost”.