The U.S. Open golf championship tees off Thursday at Torrey Pines in San Diego, California. That is where all of the world's best golfers will try to take the title away from defending champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina. VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer has a preview in a report written by Chris Cox.

The top ranked golfer in the world, American Tiger Woods, has not played in a competitive tournament since his second place finish at the Masters in early April because of knee surgery. But he says his knee is fine and he is ready to get out on a course that he has dominated in the past.

"You know, I've played here since junior golf, and I've always felt comfortable here," he said.

American Phil Mickelson, the world's number two player, is also excited about this major tournament being played on San Diego's Torrey Pines course.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to compete in the U.S. Open, on the course I grew up on, in the prime of my career," he said. "I've come close to winning this championship four times. I've had four second places, and this is a tournament I know and believe I can win. And I think that this golf course gives me the best opportunity available to do that."

Although both Mickelson and Woods are poised to have great tournaments, the big talk seems to be the way the United States Golf Association has decided to do the pairings for the first two rounds. The world's top 12 players will be in four threesomes, teeing off at different times of day. The players, even Tiger Woods, seem to have no problem with the first-time experiment.

"I think its great," he said. "It's increased a lot of excitement. I haven't heard one negative thing about the pairings."

Not known for being good friends, Woods and Mickelson will play alongside one another in the first two rounds with world number three Adam Scott of Australia.

Angel Cabrera, who last year became the first Argentine to win the U.S. Open, will play the first two rounds with Ireland's Padraig Harrington and American Davis Love III.