Video: Arkansas' Ken Duke Earns $1.1 Million With First PGA Tour Victory

Ken Duke

Pro golfer Ken Duke keeps getting better with age.

Duke, 44, won his first PGA Tour event on Sunday. With the 2013 Travelers Championship victory came a $1.1 million payout. Duke, who was born in Hope and played at Henderson State in Arkadelphia, enjoyed his best year on tour last year when he had six Top 10 finishes.

Below is a roundup of stories on his win, which gives him $1.6 million in earnings for the 2013 season. He finished with $1.5 million in 2012, putting him No. 21 on the Arkansas Business list of top-earning athletes with state ties.

From the Boston Globe:

When you’ve waited so long and gone through so much to position yourself for a PGA Tour win, what’s a few extra holes and a whole bunch of drama?

Ken Duke was diagnosed with scoliosis as a teenager, and was medalist in a high school district tournament while wearing a back brace. He’d been close to winning on tour before, finishing second three times, but was the epitome of a journeyman: Spending way more time off the tour than on, competing in unglamorous locales and obscure events, since becoming a professional golfer 19 years ago.

But on Sunday, at age 44 and in his 187th start, the man born in an Arkansas town called Hope became a winner on the PGA Tour. Finally.

From the Associated Press (via ESPN.com)

"I've knocked on the door a lot and here we are," said Duke, who turned pro in 1994.

He was ranked 144th in the world and was making his 187th start on the PGA Tour.

Duke is the sixth golfer in eight years to get his first PGA Tour win here, joining J.J. Henry (2006), Hunter Mahan (2007), Bubba Watson (2010), Fredrik Jacobsen (2011) and Marc Leishman last year.

From GolfWeek.com:

A look at what's in Duke's golf bag.

From the Hartford Courant:

Yeah, Ken Duke, all 44 years, four months and 25 days of him, knows plenty about backbone.

He knows what it's like to play on the Canadian Tour, the Asian Tour, the South American Tour, the Web.com Tour. He knows what it's like to play forever and feel as if you'll never break through for that first victory against the big boys. So when he dropped a 2-foot, 9-inch putt Sunday on the second playoff hole to capture the 2013 Travelers Championship and become the oldest first-time PGA Tour winner since Ed Dougherty in 1995, well, let's just agree it was pretty cool to watch him both begin to tear up on CBS and playfully throw a punch at the camera.

Bill Clinton's from Hope, Ark. So is Ken Duke. Hope is a powerful thing. So is faith.

"You've got to believe in yourself," Duke said. "You also have to be patient. You can't win by pushing everything. That's kind of the way I live my life."

Duke will be inducted into the Arkansas State Golf Association Hall of Fame in October.

Plus: ESPN's wrap up of Duke's play, including that lucky bounce of the tree on the 10th:

And here's the birdie on No. 2, with "Team Duke" fans right up front to cheer him on:

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