Duvals Return to Action Still a Mystery

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DUBLIN, Ohio -- David Duval had a hotel room reserved near Muirfield Village, but the 5 p.m. deadline passed last Friday without him signing up to play in the Memorial.
 
So, the wait continues.
 
The former British Open champion and last player other than Tiger Woods to be No. 1 in the world ranking, Duval has not played on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut in the Las Vegas Invitational in October. He tried to play the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan in late November, but withdrew with a back injury.
 
The date of Duval's return has been a mystery.
 
He is said to be playing a lot of golf at his new home in Denver and working on his game.
 
Duval entered the U.S. Open (he is exempt through 2006 because of his British Open victory), although his absence from the Memorial raises questions about whether he will play in two weeks at Shinnecock Hills. Duval also beat the May 27 deadline to enter the British Open to ensure a spot in the field if he decides to return at Royal Troon.
 
Still, the best guess is that Duval won't return to the PGA Tour until the International the first week in August.
 
U.S. OPEN UPDATE
John Huston did not play the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, and it wound up costing him a free spot in the U.S. Open.
 
Joakim Haeggman closed with a 67 to finish third in the Volvo PGA Championship on the European tour, earning enough points to finish at No. 50 in the world ranking -- .03 points ahead of Huston. The top 50 after last week are exempt for the U.S. Open.
 
John Daly failed to crack the top 50 and has said he won't qualify for the U.S. Open, but the two-time major winner has one shot left. Daly, Tommy Armour III, Heath Slocum and Rory Sabbatini can become eligible by winning the Memorial, which would give them two PGA Tour victories in the last 12 months.
 
GIRL AMONGST MEN
The exemption into the U.S. Women's Open allows Michelle Wie to attempt qualifying for the men's U.S. Amateur Public Links in two weeks, part of a master plan to try to get into the Masters.
 
It also could be the first of several chances to compete against the boys.
 
B.J. Wie, her father, said the 14-year-old would try to qualify for the U.S. Amateur next year. He also said she likely would try to play other prominent men's amateur events, such as the Western Amateur and the North & South Amateur at Pinehurst.
 
WITH FRIENDS LIKE THIS ...
Charles Barkley said he turned down a chance to play golf with Tiger Woods in Las Vegas so he could appear on The Tonight Show'' with Jay Leno last week.
 
He was going to work on my game, but I didn't know how to break it to him,'' Barkley said. I said, ... 'You shouldn't be trying to help anybody.' He needs to be working on his own game.''
 
Woods has won only once this year, the Match Play Championship, although he finished one shot out of a playoff his last two tournaments. Some have suggested that Woods has lost his focus since getting engaged to Elin Nordegren.
 
No, I don't think it's her,'' Barkley said. Every man needs to be out of focus like that. ... I just think there's no sport you can really control all the time. His expectations are so high. That's probably what the problem is.''
 
After all the kind words, Barkley went on to predict that Woods will win the U.S. Open.
 
Then again, he also predicted the Los Angeles Lakers would sweep Minnesota.
 
WEE ICE FIJIAN
Vijay Singh has been compared with Ben Hogan in terms of work ethic, and finding the secret to the swing by digging it out of the dirt.
 
Nick Price went one step further in the comparisons.
 
I'll go out on a limb because I never played golf with Ben Hogan,'' Price said. I've played a lot of golf with Vijay the last year and a half. If Ben Hogan ever hit the ball as well as Vijay does week in and week out, I'd be amazed. I really would.''
Price is impressed with the shotmaking, but more with the way Singh drives the ball.
 
Vijay does hit every now and then a couple of pulls and pushes,'' Price said. But watching him pound ball after ball after ball ... he's such a great driver of the ball, it's ridiculous.''
 
OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES
Michelle Wie says playing in the Masters is her No. 1 goal in golf, higher than playing on the PGA Tour or winning an LPGA major.
 
After she raved about how beautiful the golf course looks on television, Wie was asked if she could settle for playing at Augusta National even if it wasn't the Masters.
 
Well, it's like you can eat a chocolate brownie or ice cream,'' she said. I love them both, but if you put them together, it's the best thing that ever happens to you. I would love to play Augusta National. Even if it's not the Masters, it still tastes good. But you're missing the ice cream.''
 
DIVOTS
A 13-year-old Portuguese girl has become the youngest to pass the Royal & Ancient's rules test. Maria Joao Montenegro Moreira da Silva decided to study the Rules of Golf after being given an incorrect decision during a competition. She was among 56 delegates taking part in a rules seminar near Lisbon. ... Jack Nicklaus' annual golf calendar has the wrong dates for his Memorial Tournament. The calendar has it being played last week. ... Nick Price prefers to play at least once between the U.S. Open and the British Open, usually at the Western Open. But he's going river rafting with his kids and three other families, a trip that has been planned for more than a year. It ends on Wednesday of the Western Open. Instead, he will play in the John Deere Classic. ... Along with getting the 2007 Senior PGA Championship, Kiawah Island might get the UBS Cup this fall. The Ryder Cup-styled exhibition during the silly season made its debut at Kiawah Island in 2001, but switched to Sea Island the last two years.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
Scott Drummond of Scotland became only the second player in the 50-year history of the Volvo PGA Championship to win on his first try. The other was Arnold Palmer in 1975.
 
FINAL WORD
I get up in the morning and turn on CNN. They turn on MTV.'' -- Elizabeth Janangelo, on what it's like playing on a Curtis Cup team with three girls still in high school.
 
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