Star-struck: 'Wow, I just shook Tiger’s hand'


SAN FRANCISCO – Andy Zhang charmed the media at the U.S. Open Wednesday in his appearance in the media center.

“I’m shaking a little right now sitting here,” said Zhang, who at 14 will be the youngest player ever to compete in the U.S. Open. “I heard Jack Nicklaus was sitting in this chair this morning. Was he? Yeah?”

Yes, he was.

Zhang, who grew up in Beijing, China, and now resides in Orlando, got into the U.S. Open as an alternate when Paul Casey withdrew.

Zhang was excited about meeting Tiger Woods on the driving range early Tuesday morning. Zhang’s friend alerted him that somebody was swiftly approaching.

“My Buddy, Chris, he was like, `Hey, Andy, look behind you, it's Tiger.’ I looked back, it was Tiger walking up,” Zhang said. “I got really excited, and he actually came up to me and shook my hand.  I was like, `Wow, I just shook Tiger’s hand.’”

Zhang’s breakthrough comes just days after Shanshan Feng became the first Chinese player to win an LPGA event and major championship. With golf now an Olympic sport, the game's popularity is on the rise in China.

“In China, golf hasn't developed as much as here, yet,” Zhang said. “People are starting to like the sport, and it's becoming really popular, but just the facility, the coaches, are much better here. In China, all the driving ranges, you've got to hit off mats. Here, you get to hit off real grass.”