SAN FRANCISCO — Until last year, every U.S. Open golf tournament for more than four decades had at least one golfer with close ties to Utah, either a resident or former college player.
This week, for the second year in a row, there will be no golfers with Utah ties playing in the U.S. Open, which begins Thursday at the Olympic Club.
Former Masters champion Mike Weir, a BYU graduate and resident of Sandy, had played in 12 consecutive U.S. Opens from 1999 to 2009, but has failed to make the last two due in part to nagging injuries. In 2010, Farmington native and former BYU golfer Daniel Summerhays also qualified for the Open.
This year, Summerhays failed to qualify on the day after he finished in a tie for fourth at the Memorial, while Weir withdrew before the qualifying round in Ohio. Other Utahns who made it through the local qualifying were unsuccessful at the sectional qualifying earlier this month.
YOUNG PLAYERS: Perhaps Utah golf fans can root for some of the youngsters in the U.S. Open.
Eight amateurs are in this year's U.S. Open field, including the youngest contestant in U.S. Open history.
Andy Zhang, a native of China, who lives in Florida, was added to the field earlier this week as an alternate. Zhang is just 14 years old. The previous youngest player was Tadd Fujikawa, who was 15 years and 5 months when he competed in 2005.
Besides Zhang, three other teenager amateurs are in the field — 17-year-old Beau Hossler of Santa Margarita, Calif., who is playing in his second straight Open; Cameron Wilson, a 19-year-old sophomore from Stanford; and Alberto Sanchez, a 17-year-old freshman-to-be at Arizona State.
UNUSUAL LAYOUT: Because of the Olympic Club Lake Course's unusual layout, golfers will tee off from the first and ninth holes at this year's tournament.
That's right, the first and ninth holes.
Of course, it's usually the first and 10th holes, but at the Olympic Club, the eighth green is next to the clubhouse along with the ninth tee.
Tee times have been adjusted since some players will be playing 10 holes before making the "turn," while others will be playing eight.