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David Duval to return at US Open

David Duval is going back to the U.S. Open as a new father with an old swing.

Duval has not been heard from since missing the cut at the Masters, taking the last two months off after his wife delivered a healthy boy, Brayden Brent, on April 21.

He considered playing at the Memorial as a tuneup for the U.S. Open, but decided to spend time with his college golf coach, Puggy Blackmon, with hopes of finding the swing that made him No. 1 in the world the last time the U.S. Open was played at Pinehurst No. 2 in 1999.

``Puggy is not trying to teach me,'' Duval said Tuesday from his home in Denver. ``He's had video of me for 17 years. He showed me, 'This is what you used to do, and this is what you're doing -- you make the decision.' It's easier to change when you're convinced you're doing the right stuff. I feel pretty psyched.''

Duval has been in a mystifying slump that began not long after he won the 2001 Open at Royal Lytham, some of that brought on by injuries that unknowingly caused him to alter his swing.

He spent seven months away from golf last year and made the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills his first tournament of the year, missing the cut with rounds of 83-82. Duval later hooked up with swing coach Hank Haney, changed to a more neutral grip and showed progress by the end of the year.

But he went nearly three months without playing in the offseason as his wife had difficulties with her pregnancy, and he has yet to cash a cheque in eight tournaments.

Blackmon, his coach when Duval was an All-American all four years at Georgia Tech, first started working with him at the Masters.

``It takes a little getting used to,'' Duval said of returning to his old swing. ``My left shoulder was anywhere from 2 to 5 inches ahead of the ball, and that's a recipe for hitting it 100 yards to the right, which I've done. But my body is starting to remember. There's no reason I can't have some success.''

Duval said he likely would play the Barclays Classic the following week at Westchester, saying he needed to play consecutive weeks on tour.

Meanwhile, he said his newborn son is doing well. Asked if the 6-week-old boy was wearing wraparound shades, Duval joked, ``He was born with them on.''


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