Young star Zhang set to create US Open history
The 14-year-old set to become the youngest player in US Open history this week practised with Masters champion Bubba Watson yesterday. Beijing-born Andy Zhang, now based in Florida, was informed late on Monday that Paul Casey’s withdrawal with a shoulder injury had opened up a place for him.
Tiger Woods practised with Casey Martin, the 40-year-old who qualified for the event 14 years after making history at Olympic as the first player ever to use a golf cart in a major.
Now a coach at the University of Oregon, Martin suffers from a birth defect in his right leg known as Klippel Trenaunay Weber Syndrome and he successfully sued the PGA Tour in 2001 for the right to use a cart during competition.
He finished 23rd in 1998, only a stroke behind Woods.
The youngest competitor prior to Fujikawa was Tyrell Garth, a month short of 16 when he played in 1941. Zhang is not the youngest player in major history, however. He will be 14 years and six months on Thursday, while Young Tom Morris first played in the Open Championship at 14 years and four months in 1865.
© This appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Wednesday, June 13, 2012