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Duval To Return to Phoenix Open

January 17, 2001

PHOENIX (AP) _ David Duval has decided to give the raucous Phoenix Open another chance.

Duval on Tuesday committed to play in the Jan. 25-28 event despite a confrontation with fans during last year’s tournament.

Duval had an exchange with hecklers at the 12th hole during the final round last year. He made a vulgar gesture at one of them and was still fuming when he left the course. That led to speculation that Duval might bypass Phoenix this year despite its lucrative $4 million purse. The winner’s share is $720,000.

The tournament also received a formal commitment from Justin Leonard. Davis Love III gave a verbal commitment.

Tiger Woods was still considering whether to skip Phoenix for the second straight year. In 1999, a fan was following Woods when police wrestled the man to the ground and found a loaded pistol in his backpack.

Tournament officials took steps during the winter to keep this year’s crowds under control. They moved the Bird’s Nest, a popular party tent traditionally set up between the ninth and 18th greens, to a site two miles away, off the golf course.

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