The US Open returns to the Olympic Club in San Francisco and Sky Sports will have exclusive coverage of all four days of the 2012 tournament, starting on June 14.
The famous Californian course is expected to provide a challenging test for the second major championship of the season as Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy looks to defend the US Open crown that he won in emphatic style last year.
McIlroy completed a remarkable tournament 12 months ago to clinch his first major title with an eight-shot victory at Congressional, which came just two months on from his Augusta meltdown during the final round of the Masters.
The 22-year-old became the youngest US Open champion since Bobby Jones in 1923 and the youngest major winner since Tiger Woods triumphed at the Masters in 1997, breaking a host of scoring records to end the tournament eight shots clear of his nearest rivals.
But following a recent slump in form on the tour, he will face a stiff challenge for the defence of his US Open title in 2012.
The Lake Course, which sits close to the Pacific Ocean, is a traditional US Open venue with narrow, tree-lined fairways and small well-bunkered greens.
It first staged the USGA’s flagship event in 1955 when little-known Jack Fleck defeated Ben Hogan in a play-off, and little has altered since the course was laid out in the late 1920s.
Further US Opens were staged there in 1966, 1987 and most recently in 1998, when American Lee Janzen lifted the famous old trophy for a second time.
The sport’s biggest names will out in force for major glory, including Tiger Woods who has twice on the PGA Tour this season and will be confident of claiming his first major title since the US Open in 2008.
Woods will tee-off in an all-star grouping for the opening two rounds, with the triple US Open champion partnering four-time major winner Phil Mickelson and the 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson.
Defending US Open champion Rory McIlroy has been grouped with Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, in another hugely eye-catching group for the fans and viewers during the first two rounds.
The English duo will be searching to claim his first major championship, with Westwood hoping that his victory in the Nordea Masters in Stockholm will be the springboard for success on America’s West Coast.
In other notable groupings containing some of the main contenders for the tournament, Rickie Fowler tees off with fellow American Dustin Johnson and Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa, while 2010 champion Graeme McDowell, Sergio Garcia and 2003 champion Jim Furyk are in the group behind McIlroy, Donald and Westwood.
Following the withdrawal of England’s Paul Casey, American teenage prodigy Andy Zhang will become the youngest player at the US Open since the Second World War.
China-born, Florida-based 14-year-old Zhang narrowly missed out on qualifying for the major in a play-off, however he gets his chance as Casey misses out through injury, with the Englishman still suffering the effects of a shoulder dislocation he suffered snowboarding last Christmas.
Sky Sports is the only place to follow the 2012 US Open Championship. Full details below:
Sky Sports will have comprehensive coverage of all four days of the 2012 US Open from the Olympic Club in San Francisco, with more than 30 hours of live coverage in crystal-clear high definition.
The action gets under way at 5pm on Thursday June 14 on Sky Sports 1 HD as they bring golf fans 10 hours of live coverage on each of the first two days, then on Saturday and Sunday viewers will see the tournament won with seven hours of live action.
With play stretching into the early hours of the morning in the UK, ending each day at approximately 3am, viewers can catch up on the all the overnight action with highlights shows throughout the day on Sky Sports.
David Livingstone presents Sky Sports’ live on-site coverage from the Olympic Club, with the commentary team led by Ewen Murray, Bruce Critchley and Rob Lee, with further expert analysis from Butch Harmon and Colin Montgomerie.
Four-time US Open champion and 16-time major winner Jack Nicklaus, who won his first major 50 years ago in the US Open at Oakmont in 1962, will be in the Sky Sports studio on the opening day of the tournament.
On-course reports and interviews throughout the tournament will come from Howard Clark and Tim Barter.
Sky Sports News have regular updates from the Olympic Club, with reporter James Haddock providing reports and interviews from around the course.
Viewers can also get all the breaking news, live scores, course guide and additional information about the tournament via Sky’s dedicated US Open website – CLICK HERE
Follow @SkySportsGolf on Twitter for all the latest news and updates from the course.
Thursday 5th April Day 1 LIVE – 5pm-3am – Sky Sports 1 Friday 6th April Day 1 Highlights – 9am-12.30pm – Sky Sports 1 Day 2 LIVE – 5pm-3am – Sky Sports 1 Saturday 7th April Day 2 Highlights – 9am-12.30pm – Sky Sports 3 Day 3 LIVE – 8pm-3am – Sky Sports 1 Sunday 8th April Day 4 Highlights – 10.30am-2.30pm – Sky Sports 1 Day 4 LIVE – 8pm-3am – Sky Sports 1 Monday 9th April Day 4 Highlights – 9am-12pm – Sky Sports 1