The 2012 U.S. Open starts on Thursday. Like any major golf tournament, fans are keenly interested in the usual suspects like Tiger Woods and Bubba Watson and the other super stars of golf. This year there is another player who has drawn the attention of the entire country as well as China. At just 14, Andy Zhang will be the youngest player in the history of the U.S. Open.
Born in China, Zhang moved to the United States in 2008 to play golf. He made the cut for the U.S. Open as an alternate, tabbed to replace Paul Casey who pulled out with a shoulder injury.
The experience of playing at the Olympic Club with some of his idols has sometimes overshadowed the fact that he was actually there to compete against them. SB Nation's Brian Floyd is on the scene in San Francisco, and reported this from Zhang's media availability on Wednesday:
"It was yesterday morning about 6:05, I was on the range, hitting balls. My buddy, Chris, he was like, 'Hey, Andy look behind you, it's Tiger.' I looked back, it was Tiger walking up. And I got really excited. And he actually came up to me and shook my hand. And I was like, 'Wow, I just shook Tiger's hand.'"
Needless to say, his nerves have been a little rattled.
"I am shaking a little right now sitting here. I heard Jack Nicklaus was sitting in this chair this morning. Was he? Yeah? So I'm trying to get used to this. I'm not doing quite well right now."
Zhang tees off at 8:21 a.m. on Thursday, paired with Hiroyuki Fujita and Mark Wilson.
For all your news and updates in the run up to the 2012 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club, stay tuned to this StoryStream or visit SB Nation's dedicated golf hub. Be sure to head over to USOpen.com for even more coverage from the event.