Andy Zhang— the 14-year old golfer from China who who got into the U.S. Open field Monday as an alternate— said he "was shaking on the first tee" as he began his practice round with his idol, Masters champ Bubba Watson on Tuesday.
Once Zhang— the youngest U.S. Open competitor ever— gets over his butterflies, both Watson and Tiger Woods think the young man has got game.
"He was nervous, didn't talk much. Maybe I just talk too much," joked Watson— who gave Zhang a Mulligan after the kid's opening tee shot went wild. "He's a big boy for 14, and he can hit it good."
Woods echoed Watson's feelings about Zhang's game.
"He's earned his spot," said Woods. Asked if a 14-year old could win the U.S. Open, Woods said Zhang was "not too young if he can do it."
For the young man who will turn 14 years and six months old tomorrow, these first couple of days at the Olympic Club have to be mind-boggling. He is trading putts with the greatest professional golfers in the world and said he was excited to meet Woods.
After Woods said hello, Zhang sounded like the teenager he is. "I shook his hand," said the overwhelmed young man. "Oh wow. I just shook Tiger's hand."
"He's in the U.S. Open," said Watson. "It's not like it just luckily happened. He can play to get here."