US Open Golf 2012: Definitive Manual for Entire Tournament

Carlos TorresContributor IJune 11, 2012

US Open Golf 2012: Definitive Manual for Entire Tournament

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    It's that time of the year again where we get to see a major tournament in golf.

    The U.S. Open is the second major of the golf season and will be starting this Thursday, June 14 from the Lake Course at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California.

    Rory McIlroy is the defending champ. He won it last year in record-setting fashion, establishing 11 new tournament records along the way as he won by eight strokes over Australian Jason Day.

    McIlroy and Robert Garrigus became the fifth and sixth men in history to shoot all four rounds of golf under par in a U.S. Open.

    What can McIlroy do for an encore this year? That is what everyone is looking forward to see.

    And what everyone would like to see is him dueling down the stretch with Tiger Woods, who has won twice this year and is looking much more like his old self as he keeps playing tournaments.

    The world's No. 1 Luke Donald and No. 3 Lee Westwood are carrying momentum heading into the U.S. Open, where they will be looking to win that elusive first major title.

    Let's take a look at that and much more in the definitive guide for the 112th edition of the U.S. Open.

Schedule of Play

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    The tournament starts on Thursday, June 14 and will end on Sunday, June 17.

    The complete detailed information on the schedule of play, according to the U.S. Open official webpage, is as follows:

    Practice Rounds

    From Monday through Wednesday all players have the chance to play practice rounds at the Lake Course. Players electing to play a full round generally begin between 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. PT.

    Championship Rounds 1 and 2

    Play is scheduled to begin for the first two rounds, Thursday and Friday at 7:00 a.m. PT from both the first and ninth tees. The last groupings each day will begin play at approximately 3:00 p.m. PT.

    Championship Rounds 3 and 4

    The final two rounds will be played on Saturday and Sunday with the first starting time determined by the number of players who make the cut at the conclusion of the second round (60 players with the lowest scores, including ties).

    The first grouping begins play from the first tee between 8:00-9:00 a.m. PT and the last grouping for both days will start from the first tee at approximately 3:00 p.m. PT.


    If there is a tie for the lead at the end of 72 holes, an 18-hole playoff will be held on Monday, June 18. The playoff would begin at approximately 9:00 a.m. PT and finish at approximately 1:00 p.m. PT.

The Lake Course at Olympic Club

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    The course is sure to challenge players with its narrow, tree-lined fairways and small, well-bunkered greens.

    The U.S. Open is trademarked as "Golf's Toughest Test," and that seems to be be true. To win means the winner must survive a tough test from the start as the 7,170-yard, par-70 Olympic Club can break a lot of hopes on the first six holes.

    The 520-yard opening hole, with its narrow landing area, will be played as a par-four instead of a par-five, as was the case in previous Opens.

    Also, the par-three third hole is 247 yards, with bunkers protecting a green that slopes front to back.

    The fourth and fifth holes of this tree-lined course are said to slope in favour of an uncomfortable lie or difficult follow-up shot, which is pretty much the norm for the rest of the course.

    Down the stretch, the tournament will be won or lost on the back-to-back par-fives at the 16th and 17th holes. Especially with the 522-yard 17th converted from a long par-four into a short par-five that is tempting for all players.

    Players must decide their fate on this risk/reward challenge. Logic dictates the key is to keep it in the fairway, but the ever-present luring temptation makes players go long, causing trouble on these closing holes more often than not.

The Weather

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    “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

    This quote from an unknown source describes why the seasons in the city by the bay are a bit different. The summers tend to be very foggy (and therefore frequently cool). 

    Generally, San Francisco weather is unpredictable and can change a lot and instantly from day to day, even as well as from neighborhood to neighborhood.

    All of that said, it's supposed to be sunny and in the 70s all week.

    Of course, for a complete attempt at a 10-day weather forecast at the Olympic Club, you can visit this link, which will take you directly to The Weather Channel's web page.

U.S. Open History at the Olympic Club

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    The U.S. Open will be played at the Lake Course on the Olympic club for the fifth time in the history of the tournament.

    It seems like nothing ever turns out the way anyone expects when the U.S. Open goes to The Olympic Club, but it has given us its share of memorable moments.

    It was held for the first time at the Olympic Club in 1955.

    Ben Hogan was going for a record fifth U.S. Open title. Instead, Jack Fleck delivered one of golf's biggest upsets when he defeated Hogan by three strokes in an 18-hole playoff.

    In 1966, one of golf's royalty, Arnold Palmer, was well on his way to a record score.

    Instead, he suffered a royal collapse on the back nine that allowed Billy Casper to engineer one of the greatest comebacks in history, erasing a seven-stroke deficit to tie Palmer and then prevail in an 18-hole playoff for his second U.S. Open title.

    In 1987, Tom Watson entered the back nine on the final round with a one-stroke lead over Scott Simpson. But by the 18th hole, it was Simpson with a one-stroke lead with Watson narrowly missing a 35-foot tying birdie-putt and handing Simpson his first U.S. Open title.

    Then in 1998, the late Payne Stewart led after each of the first three rounds, and when Lee Janzen bogeyed two of the first three holes on Sunday, he was seven shots behind.

    But that was when Janzen got to work, and on the next 15 holes, the fortunes reversed and Janzen was ahead by one on the 18th and final hole.

    Stewart narrowly missed a 25-foot putt that would have forced an 18-hole playoff and Janzen defeated Stewart for his second U.S. Open title and became the second golfer in history to come back from seven strokes behind in the final round and win the tournament.

    Can you guess the other? Just rewind to 1966 or scroll up this page.

The Field

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    A total of 156 players will take on the tough Lake Course starting Thursday.

    The past two winners, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, are back and looking to extend the streak of Northern Ireland natives to win the U.S. Open.

    But the Americans are up to the task this year. Having won 12 of the last 13 tournaments on the PGA Tour, they are poised to keep the trophy in U.S. soil.

    Tiger Woods leads the odds, thanks to his most recent victory at The Memorial that has everyone buzzing again about him claiming another major. He has two victories already this year.

    Hunter Mahan and Jason Dufner are also two-time winners this year. Dufner has been playing lights-out recently and has a knack to play on the big stage.

    Two other big winners this year, Bubba Watson (Masters) and Matt Kuchar (The Players) are also playing.

    Rickie Fowler, one of the young guns who broke through with his first win earlier this year, is another American grabbing headlines as he heads to the U.S. Open.

    Besides McIlroy, the Euro contingent is lead by the world's No. 1 Luke Donald and No. 3 Lee Westwood. Both have two wins as well this year and come with great momentum into the U.S. Open.

    Both are looking to erase their names from the list of best players ever not to win a major.

    Another player who will come into the tournament with some momentum is Dustin Johnson. He comes from winning the FedEx St. Jude tournament in just his second start since his back injury.

    There will also be six amateurs competing, lead by UCLA sophomore Patrick Cantlay, the No. 1 golfer in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Stanford sophomore Cameron Wilson and Oregon State Junior Nick Sherwood.

Tee Times and Pairings

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    The USGA always seems to be able to come up with fun interesting groupings that catch fans' attention and intrigue during the first two days. This year is no exception.

    The marquee group will be Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson. Just pairing Woods and Mickelson is enough to overfill the galleries, then adding free-swinger Watson to the group and you've got yourself a party.

    Their tee times will be on Thursday from No. 9 at 7:33 a.m. PT and on Friday from tee No. 1 at 1:18 p.m. PT.

    The second marquee group will be one with the top three in the Official World Golf Rankings heading into the event, Luke Donald, defending champ Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood,

    McIlroy was last year's runaway Open winner.  The addition of Donald and Westwood rivals the marquee group in fire power and will draw a lot of audience as well, especially among the European viewing audience.

    Their tee times will be on Thursday from No. 1 at 1:29 p.m. PT and on Friday from tee No. 9 at 7:44 a.m. PT.

    Other notable groups and their tee times:

    Adam Scott, Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley. Thursday from No. 1 at 8:32 a.m. PT  and on Friday from tee No. 9 at 1:47 p.m. PT.

    Hunter Mahan, Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer. Thursday from No. 9 at 1:25 p.m. PT  and on Friday from tee No. 1 at 8:10  a.m. PT.

    Matt Kuchar, Steve Stricker and Ian Poulter. Thursday from No. 9 at 1:36 p.m. PT  and on Friday from tee No. 1 at 8:21 a.m. PT.

    Jason Dufner, Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen. Thursday from No. 9 at 1:47 p.m. PT  and on Friday from tee No. 1 at 8:32 a.m. PT.

    Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Ryo Ishikawa. Thursday from No. 9 at 1:58 p.m. PT  and on Friday from tee No. 9 at 8:43 a.m. PT.

    For a complete listing of the groupings and tee times, click here.

TV and Online Coverage

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    If you want to catch the tournament, there will be no shortage of coverage. You can watch it or listen to it live on TV, on the web or on your iPhone or Android smartphone/tablet.

    Whichever is your preferable way to see the tournament action, here is all the information you need.

    TV Coverage

    Thursday June 14

    9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. - ESPN
    12:00 - 2:00 p.m. - NBC
    2:00-7:00 p.m. - ESPN

    Friday June 15 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. - ESPN
    12:00 - 2:00 p.m. - NBC
    2:00 - 7:00 p.m. - ESPN
    Saturday June 16 1:00 - 7:00 p.m. NBC
    Sunday June 17 1:00 - 7:00 p.m. NBC

    Live Video (Web, iPhone and Android Click Here)

    Thursday June 14

    Marquee Group 1 - 7:33 a.m.
    Marquee Group 2 - 1:29 p.m.

    Friday June 15 Marquee Group 1 - 7:44 a.m.
    Marquee Group 2 - 1:18 p.m.
    Saturday June 16 TBD
    Sunday June 17 TBD

    Live Radio (Web, iPhone and Android Click Here)

    Thursday June 14

    10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

    Friday June 15 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    Saturday June 16 1:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
    Sunday June 17 1:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.