COMMENTARY | The 2012 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco is already shaping up to be one of the most historic major championships in recent memory. The event, which returns to Northern California for the second time in three years, will feature the best players in the world on what is regarded as "Golf's Toughest Test". Taking that into consideration, here are four reasons all sports fans won't want to miss the 2012 U.S. Open.
Tiger Woods Could Complete His Resurgence
It's well-documented that Tiger Woods moves the needle when it comes to golf. To casual sports fans everywhere, he is the only thing that matters about the sport. This year's U.S. Open could be another "Hello World" moment for the former world No. 1. That possibility alone will garner everyone's attention. He's a polarizing figure because of his epic fall from grace that began in November 2009, but no athlete in the world is more recognizable. The game itself would reap significant dividends if he were to win another major in his home state at The Olympic Club, especially given the circumstances surrounding his game and personal life over the last three years.
Dustin Johnson is Still Really Good at Golf
It was easy to forget about Dustin Johnson in 2012, who all but fell off the map when it came to his presence on the PGA TOUR after dealing with a back injury suffered in mid-March. In just his second event back from the injury, he won the FedEx St. Jude Classic and showed his resilience and raw talent. When it comes to active players poised to win their first major, Johnson is on the short list. For him, it's not a matter of if, but when. Given his momentum coming off a win and incredible ability, San Francisco could be the place where he etches his name into golf history.
The Golf Course
The Olympic Club in San Francisco is a classic venue that's been absent from the PGA TOUR for over a decade, last hosting the 1998 U.S. Open. Many of the TOUR's young stars have not seen the course as professionals, so there is potential to witness some growing pains among them. The Lake Course, which will be the tournament course, has undergone minimal renovations since its initial 1927 design -- it's a traditional, parkland course surrounded by trees that will certainly showcase golf at its best.
The Power Groups
The USGA knows exactly what it's doing when it puts the initial tournament groups together. Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, and Woods headline the groupings as the most noteworthy. With a tee time of 7:33 PT on Thursday, the potential for low scores amidst favorable morning conditions during a critical Round 1 could get one or all of these players off to a good start. In the afternoon on the same day, Great Britain's powerful trio of Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, and Lee Westwood will know exactly what kind of scores they will need to contend.Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and covers the PGA TOUR. He has written for Southern California's Press-Enterprise and Examiner.com. Follow Michael on Twitter @MikeJonesTweets