But 16-year-old Ted Oh, a sophomore at Torrance (Calif.) High School, will be teeing it up tomorrow at Baltusrol Golf Club, making him the youngest competitor since 1941.
Suddenly, Torrance High is known for more than the place where the TV show ''Beverly Hills 90210" is shot.
Yesterday, Oh played a practice round with Mike Christie, Jose-Maria Olazabal and Seve Ballesteros, who as a teenager finished runner-up to Johnny Miller in the 1976 British Open.
Oh picked up a few pointers, studied the landscape and signed a slew of autographs. His beaming father took snapshots every step of the way.
"It was great, especially Seve," said the 5-9, 145-pound Oh. "He was giving me tips the whole time, what to do in the rough, how to handle the wind.
"It's beautiful, as tough as any course I've ever played, but I'll get used to it. I think my dad's more excited than I am. I'm just trying to have some fun."
Oh's father, a professional baseball player in Korea, moved the family to the Los Angeles suburbs nine years ago. Three years later, Oh picked up a club for the first time. Twelve months later, he broke 80.
By 14, he carded an 18-hole score under 70. That same year, he finally managed to beat his father.
As a freshman, Oh beat Tiger Woods, the first two-time U.S. Junior champ, in both the Southern California High School and Los Angeles City Open events. In February, Oh qualifed for the PGA's LA Open, where he missed the cut. And now, this.
Oh birdied his last three holes to advance through the local qualifying, then shot an even-par 144 over 36 holes at the difficult Valencia Country Club in last week's sectionals. He is paired with John Flannery and Jeff Maggert, in tomorrow morning's 10:30 group.
Oh had to take his final exams a week early so he could be here.
"My classmates thought it was cool," Oh said. "I even got a call from the principal. The LA Open was big. But my coach (Brad Sherfy) told me it wouldn't compare to this. Now, I realize that. The one thing I admire is the history. This is the (record) seventh time the Open's been here. Guys like Hogan, Snead and Trevino have stepped on the same grass.
"To my dad, I'm still an average 16-year-old. You hear things, like 'There goes that 16-year-old,' you start to think maybe that's really your name. But the attention doesn't bother me. I don't try to avoid it, and I don't go after it."
Oh is accompanied by a traveling party of a dozen or so family members, although his mother was unable to make the trip.
After his round, he patiently spent a half-hour talking with members of the print media, answering many of the same basic questions over and over. Later, there was a scheduled interview with ESPN and another with a regional cable outlet.
For somebody who hasn't attended his junior prom yet, that doesn't sound too average.
"I don't feel nervous," Oh said. "But when I got to my locker, I must have spent 20 minutes just staring at the names. I'm right next to Mark O'Meara, Greg Norman, Mr. Nicklaus. He was real nice. He came up to me and said, 'So you're the 16-year-old kid.' I guess that's the way a lot of people feel."
Oh said he's not concerned with posting a certain number.
"Obviously, the lower the better, but I just want to play good," Oh said. ''I'm not worried about my score. I'm sure it'll be tough. I've still got some years to go. The key, like they say, is keeping the ball in the fairway."
Or, simply keeping them, period.
"I gave a lot of balls away today (as souvenirs)," Oh said. "One time, a caddy threw me a ball and I know how it made me feel. But I gave away so many, my caddy told me, 'You only have a few left, so you'd better hold on to them.'
"I guess I just got a little carried away."
TAKE THAT, TOM
From the it-would-only-happen-in-the-metropolitan-New York department: On Monday, defending champ Tom Kite missed several 8-foot putts from the same spot on the 11th green, and was teased about it by a group of volunteer marshals. Upset, Kite called to one of them, 62-year-old Phil Trepunti, a 16- handicapper at Suburban Country Club in nearby Union, to give it a try. Of course, Trepunti knocked it in the cup on the first try - without even lining the ball up. He received a standing ovation, as a stunned Kite looked on in disbelief.