EUGENE, Ore. -- Casey Martin's return to one of pro golf's biggest stages kicked off Thursday with round one of the U.S. Open.
Martin captured the hearts of America with his comeback kid story nowhere more so then the Eugene Country Club, his home course.
Martin's 12:45 tee time didn't make the live broadcast. His friends waited anxiously for him to make his 2012 U.S. Open debut, his first in 14 years.
"If he can just compete and play well and feel good about what he did, I think that's all we're asking for," said fellow club member Scott Aldridge. "Just for him to be in it is a huge opportunity. We're proud to just see that he's in there."
18 minutes after Martin's scheduled tee time, the club erupted in cheers.
"There he is!" said Herb Yamanaka. "There he is!"
Yamanaka watched closely as his friend and UO colleague played on.
"Extremely proud," said Yamanaka. "He's gone through every adversity and prospered and he's doing very very well and we are very proud of him."
There's even a mini Casey Martin shrine at the club. Pictures of Casey as a kid line the hallway. Casey and then-Stanford teammate Tiger Woods posed for a photo at the golf course when Casey was a senior and Tiger, a freshman.
Kay Hoover has followed Casey's journey from day one.
"I've known his family for fifty years," said Hoover. "Casey's a great Christian gentleman."
Martin really is considered a celebrity at the Eugene Country Club, so he's sure to get a heroes welcome when he returns.