Former No. 1 hasn't competed since November

David Duval is ending his seven-month break at golf's toughest

Duval said Saturday night that he plans to play in the U.S. Open
next week at Shinnecock Hills, his first pro competition since he
withdrew from a tournament in Japan in November.

"I'm ready to go play," Duval told The Associated Press from
his home in Denver on Saturday night.

Duval has not played on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut in
Las Vegas last October. The last player besides Tiger Woods to be
No. 1 in the world, Duval slid into a slump that dropped him out of
the top 100 on the money list for the first time in his career.

Duval, who won his first major at the 2001 British Open, did not play at the Masters earlier this year. It was thought that he would
play at least one PGA Tour event as a tuneup before taking his game
to such a brutal test as Shinnecock Hills.

"I would have loved to have played some other tournaments,"
Duval said, "but it just didn't work out and I just didn't want to
miss the U.S. Open.

"I love Shinnecock Hills."

Duval got married March 6 to Susie Persichitte, whom he met last
year in Denver. He now is a husband and father of three children.

Duval tied for 28th in the 1995 Open at Shinnecock, his rookie
year on the PGA Tour. He finished 11th on the money list as a
rookie and began a steady climb to the top that culminated with his
victory in The Players Championship in 1999, which made him No. 1
in the world.

He and Woods traded the No. 1 ranking for most of that summer
until Woods regained it for good by winning the PGA Championship.

Duval will be playing with Scott Hoch and Phillip Price when he
tees off at 7:40 a.m. Thursday.

"It is going to be hard. It's going to be windy. I'm looking
forward to having fun," Duval said. "There is 156 players there,
and I guarantee I'll be having the most fun."