When the first tee shot is struck today, the 111th United States Open will commence with several Roy McAvoy types seeking golf immortality.
McAvoy, the famous main character from the film “Tin Cup,” came from obscurity for a chance at winning the Open.
That’s the beauty of the Open.
Anyone who qualifies can play.
Graeme McDowell won the 2010 tournament at the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links without ever winning a major championship before.
The same can be said for Lucas Glover (2009), Angel Cabrera (2007), Geoff Ogilvy (2006) and Michael Campbell (2005) in recent history.
Among the past six Opens, only Tiger Woods’ 2008 triumph was done by a player with previous success at a major.
The U.S. Open has given us champions with less-than-sparkling resumes.
And while there are several long shots in the field this week, our area boasts multiple players seeking a place among golf’s elite.
The locals who made the field at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., had to navigate the treacherous qualifying stages.
Except one: Peter Uihlein is exempted based on capturing last summer’s U.S. Amateur crown.
The Oklahoma State University rising senior will have a familiar face on the bag this week in Alan Bratton.
Bratton toted Uihlein’s bag earlier this year at the Masters and during last summer’s victory in the national amateur.
Uihlein, though, would have to erase more than 75 years of history to win the Open. No amateur has won the tournament since Johnny Goodman’s triumph in 1933.
Two other amateurs with local ties, Michael Barbosa and Cheng-Tsung Pan, made it through the sectional qualifier June 6.
Barbosa, a St. Petersburg native and former Saint Stephen’s standout, advanced from the lone Florida sectional. Previously, he garnered medalist honors in the local qualifier at the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club.
Joining Barbosa from both stages is Sarasota’s Joey Lamielle. Lamielle plays the West Florida Golf Tour regularly, winning the Tour’s inaugural Order of Merit in 2010.
The former Sarasota Booker and Florida Gulf Coast University star isn’t making his first Open appearance. Lamielle played the tournament in 2008 at Torrey Pines, where Woods won his last major.
Like Lamielle, Christo Greyling has competed on the WFGT. The Orlando resident, a former IMG Academies student, is playing alongside Lamielle for the first two rounds.
Ty Tryon, the former phenom and IMG Academies alum, also is in the field.
It’s not likely any of these six players will hoist the U.S. Open trophy.
Yet, they all have a chance because that’s what the Open is all about.
Heck, it’s not impossible to see a Roy McAvoy-esque performance.
We’ve already seen it once this year, when Rory McIlory pulled a “Tin Cup” blow-up after going where no golfer had ever gone before on No. 10 at the Masters.
The area hopefuls, though, would probably prefer a different ending.