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Is Duval Up For Challenge

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David Duval has had a lot of time to think about what might have been in 2000.
 
What if he could have made just a few more putts earlier in the season? What if he had hit a 5-iron at the 13th, instead of the 6-iron that found Rae's Creek, Sunday at Augusta? What if his back nine could have mirrored his magnificent front nine in the final round at the British Open?
 
But while he rested his ailing back, those weren't the things that ate at him the most. Duval often wondered: 'When am I going to play again? Am I going to play again?'
 
Those questions should reveal some much desired answers this week at the Buick Challenge in Pine Mountain, Ga.
 
Duval is making his first start on the PGA Tour since back problems forced him to walk off the course during the first round of The International on Aug. 3rd.
 
Duval first began to experience back pain at the British Open. In the final round, paired with eventual champion Tiger Woods, Duval could barely bend over to stick his peg into the ground.
 
Despite cutting his overnight deficit in half by the turn, Duval's lasting image that day came with him hopelessly flailing away in the Road Hole bunker en route to a tie for 11th.
 
This week will mark the first time Duval has played 18 holes since that Sunday in St. Andrews, Scotland. After ten weeks on the couch, the world's No.3-ranked player is finally ready for competition.
 
'I'm very excited,' Duval said. 'But I'm also very nervous.'
 
Aside from trying to regain his form, Duval will also face a stellar field; which includes fellow Georgia Tech grad Stewart Cink, last week's winner Justin Leonard, 1997 Buick Challenge champion Davis Love III, '98 champ Steve Elkington and defending champion David Toms.
 
Also making the trip down South are Nick Price, Shigeki Maruyama, Notah Begay III and Casey Martin.
 
Once again, Martin will have more on his mind than golf. Earlier in the week, the 28-year-old learned that the Supreme Court would hear the PGA Tour's appeal of the ruling that allows the disabled Martin to use a golf cart.
 
As if battling for your Tour card wasn't enough to worry about. Martin currently stands 177th in season earnings.