US Open Golf 2012: Latest Buzz Surrounding Golf's Biggest Tournament
The 2012 U.S. Open features a suddenly-resurgent Tiger Woods, one of many noteworthy stories as we head into golf's biggest tournament of the year.
The top golfers in the world are getting ready to face one of the biggest tests they'll face all year at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California. As we wait for the action to start on Thursday morning, there are a number of intriguing storylines that will frame what is sure to be an epic event.
Here are the stories that are creating the biggest buzz.
Tiger Woods Is Back
Woods is the favorite to win the U.S. Open, according to USA Today's Reid Cherner. He should be. The past is the past, and Woods is ready to move on to bigger and better things in the future.
Woods has won two tournaments this year so far, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Champtionship—two of the most prestigious non-major tournaments. The only other golfers on the PGA Tour who have won twice this year are Jason Dufner and Hunter Mahan.
For any other player, Woods' season would be considered to be a rousing success. But this is Tiger we're talking about. Most people won't be convinced he's back until he rips off a five-win season with at least one major championship.
I'm here to tell you that Woods is back, and he isn't going away anytime soon. The season is still young, and I predict Woods will win at least one major and at least two more additional tournaments on his way to winning the PGA Player of the Year Award for 2012.
No. 16 at Olympic Club Is Longest Hole in U.S. Open History
Par is going to be an excellent score at hole No. 16—a par-five. The hole will play 670 yards, and Louis Oosthuizen told USA Today, "If anybody is on the green in two this week, that's something special."
USGA executive director Mike Davis talked about the reason for making this hole so incredibly long, via the same report:
The reason we did that is we really felt that would make it a true three-shotter...The wonderful thing about that hole is that from the back, if you miss any one of your shots, it's awful hard to catch up.
You don't say.
Players will be looking at potential third shots into the green of over 200 yards, making the 16th hole one of the most difficult on the golf course. From my perspective, it's going to be a fun for us amateurs to watch professional golfers struggle to hit the green in three shots.
Casey Martin Makes His Return to the Olympic Club
For those of you who may not be familiar with Martin, he's the player that caused an uproar back in 1998 when he was allowed to ride in a golf cart at the U.S. Open—something that had never previously been allowed.
Martin suffers from a circulatory defect in his right leg, making the task of walking an 18-hole golf course impossible. He's been out of the game for a while now, coaching the University of Oregon's golf team for the last six years.
Should Casey Martin be allowed to ride in a golf cart when all other players must walk?
Martin decided to attempt to qualify for this year's U.S. Open and earned his way into the tournament through a strong qualifying effort. He will once again be riding around the Olympic Club in a golf cart, though he won't likely face the same criticism this time around that followed him in 1998.
Paul Azinger, one of the players who once opposed Martin's golf cart privileges, has since changed his tune, according to the Boston Globe.
I’m going to say this about Casey Martin. I don’t know where I heard the quote, but I love the quote. ‘It’s not always what you accomplish in life that matters. Sometimes it’s what you overcome.’ Casey Martin is the great overcomer, a terrific person, unbelievable achiever, and winner in life. I think it’s incredible that Casey Martin’s qualified.
I couldn't agree more.
This weekend's competition at the Olympic Club is sure to give us golf fans a treat to remember. Stay tuned to Bleacher Report for all the latest breaking news, opinions and analysis as the U.S. Open gets underway.
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