You don't mess with the Yohann
Every no-name has a story. Here are five guys to root for even though they probably don't have half a prayer when the 108th U.S. Open begins Thursday:
• Brian Kortan, 37, a former University of New Mexico golfer who still lives in Albuquerque, suffered a heart attack while playing a tournament in South Dakota in 2006. The 5'3'' Kortan was air-lifted to a hospital in Sioux Falls, where he spent eight days and had three stents put in.
"Since then I've had a defibrillator planted in my chest, I've lost about 40-50% of my heart function and had some changes in my life, I guess," he said.
He went through local and sectional qualifying to get to his first U.S. Open this week. Of his defibrillator, which he hasn't had to use, he said, "If I went into some sort of cardiac arrhythmia, it would actually shock me. And when it does shock you it puts you to the floor."
Try that for your next swing thought.
• Yohann Benson, 26, is a French-Canadian who carded an ace during the second 18 of his sectional qualifier at Old Oaks C.C. in Purchase, N.Y. He opened with a 75 but came back on the strength of his hole-in-one to shoot 67, the low round of the day.
Benson didn't take up golf until 17, played no junior or college events, and is currently in his second year on the Canadian Tour. His caddie this week is Mark Long, who usually works for Fred Funk.
• Jordan Cox, at left between Tiger Woods and Bubba Watson, is the 20-year-old Stanford golfer who has been playing practice rounds all week with the former Cardinal hacker Woods.
Cox was scheduled to go online to take a communications exam from 7-10 p.m. Tuesday night.
"It was definitely a special experience for me," he said of his practice rounds, not his college exam. "Just getting to play with Tiger, and on top of that getting to play with Bubba Watson in the U.S. Open before play actually starts is an experience I'll always remember. Tiger's hitting it great. Bubba's hitting it -- not as good as Tiger, but close."
• Chris Devlin, a 33-year-old Hooters Tour pro from Northern Ireland, is a former University of Alabama golfer who according to his player bio "has failed in multiple attempts to qualify for the European and PGA Tour."
He says the soupy weather at Torrey on Monday and Tuesday has reminded him of home.
"I'm from Ireland; it's the same conditions," he said. "It's great. I hope the wind blows like hell. I want it to play as hard as it can possibly play. It's the only chance I've got."
• Jimmy Henderson, 31, is a salesman for GeneralSports Venue, the company that makes AstroTurf. He was a member of the Wright State golf team, turned pro in 2000, and struggled so mightily he got a real job, trading real grass for the fake stuff.
Henderson had not played competitively since 2005 but surprised himself at a local qualifier with a nervous 68, then at sectionals, in Columbus, shot 71-65 and won a playoff with a bogey after hitting his ball into and out of a creek. He recently regained his amateur status.
(Photo: Travis Lindquist/Getty Images)