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U.S. Open: Meet Tiger Woods' Replacement

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Michael Whitehead, the golfer stepping in to replace Tiger Woods in this year's U.S. Open, speaks to the media Tuesday.
Matt Bush
Michael Whitehead, the golfer stepping in to replace Tiger Woods in this year's U.S. Open, speaks to the media Tuesday.

The past month has been a busy one for 23-year-old Michael Whitehead from Sugarland, Texas. First, he graduated from Rice University. Then last week he fell just shy of qualifying for the U.S. Open. But he played well enough to be the first alternate, allowing. him to play if someone else dropped out.

Whitehead got the call last week. "I probably said yes before she asked," he says.

But his appearance comes at the expense of his favorite player, who had to drop out because of injury.

"He's awesome to watch," Whitehead says of Woods. "He's so much fun. He hits shots that no one else can hit."

But despite that, Whitehead says he's enjoying the notoriety of how he received his first U.S. Open invite.

"Everybody keeps calling me Tiger's replacement. I walk around the golf course and I hear 'Oh that's Tiger's replacement,'" he says. "I'm not Tiger's replacement. I'm just the guy who got in when Tiger withdrew.

"But yeah, it's kinda fun," he continues. Woods and Whitehead in the same article."

Despite it being his first U.S. Open, Whitehead will be surrounded by familiar faces. Several of his Rice teammates will be in attendance and his college coach will be his caddy.

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