Josh Teater already has had a big year — he got married in March, and he's earned more than $1.2 million on the PGA Tour — and he'll mark another major milestone when he tees it up in the U.S. Open on Thursday.
Teater has played in 108 tour events over the past four years, but this will be his first major championship.
"I'm excited about it," Teater said last week before heading to Merion Golf Club outside Philadelphia for the 113th U.S. Open. "I've wanted to play in all the majors, so I'm really looking forward to it. I've been playing well all year, and I hope to keep it going at Merion."
The Henry Clay and Morehead State graduate has been a model of consistency, starting in January with a top-15 finish at the Sony Open in Hawaii, and a tie for second (behind Tiger Woods) in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in California.
He added top-10 finishes at the Northern Trust Open in February, and at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in May. He's made 13 of 16 cuts, and has already eclipsed his 2012 earnings ($1 million) that came in 30 events.
Teater also distinguished himself in 36-hole qualifiers for the British Open and U.S. Open, shooting 17-under par in that golf pressure-cooker.
Teater expects a stern test at Merion, especially from the typical U.S. Open rough.
"If you're in it, you're pretty much in jail and have to chip out," he said. "There are narrow fairways, too, with firm greens with a lot undulation. So it's gonna take a lot of precise shots, for sure."
Teater said the strength of his game is his driving, so if he's accurate off the tee and can make some putts, "I might have a chance."
Teater's putting has improved considerably over the past year, and he credits Steve Stricker for that.
"It's been pretty well documented how Steve helped Tiger. He's also helped me, going back to the John Deere (Classic) last year. He's helped me three or four times since. We've spent 35 to 40 minutes on the practice green at times, and we've played some practice rounds together. He's helped me tremendously."
Teater, 34, also credits his wife, Ashley, for making life on the tour more enjoyable.
"She's traveling full time with me," he said. "That's been great, having a companion out there, somebody I can lean on, somebody I can share life with."
Next month they'll travel to Scotland for another major championship — the Britiish Open at Muirfield.
"I've never been over there, so it's going to be exciting to see what it's all about," Teater said. "I don't know a lot about Muirfield, but people say it's one of the best, if not the best, in the rotation. So it's a good one to qualify for."
Josh Teater's big year just keeps getting better.
When: Thursday through Sunday
Where: Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
Thursday's TV: ESPN (9 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-7 p.m.); NBC-18 (3-5 p.m.)
Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com.