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2012 US Open golf championship: Who and what to watch for

2012 US Open: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Bubba Watson will play together on Thursday. How will they play the historic 16th hole at the Olympic Club in San Francisco?

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Bubba Watson, winner of the 2012 Masters, hits from a bunker to the second green during a practice round for the 2012 US Open golf tournament on the Lake Course at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif., June 13.

Matt Sullivan/REUTERS

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Thursday morning, the US Open golf championship returns to California for the first time since the thrilling 2008 tournament featuring an injured Tiger Woods and an inspired Rocco Mediate at Torrey Pines in San Diego.

The 2012 US Open is one of the four "majors" or biggest events on the PGA tour each year. This year, it will be played at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, which has hosted the Open several times in the past. Jack Fleck won there in 1955. 11 years later, Billy Casper captured the national championship at Olympic. Scott Simpson was victorious at the San Francisco course in 1987. Then, in 1998 at Olympic, Lee Janzen won the second of his two US Opens.

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