'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, earlier this year did not play at the Masters. It was thought that he would play at least one PGA Tour event as a tuneup before taking his game to a brutal test like 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.'
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