We finally have two rounds in the books (it feels like it's taken 10 days) and we aren't short on storylines at 2013 US Open.
First of all, how great is this leaderboard? We've seen US Opens in the past that include names nobody's ever heard of and amateurs that don't really have a shot.
This thing is loaded.
There should be fireworks (both good and bad) on Saturday and Sunday and these are the five stories I'm going to be most fascinated by.
1. Can Mickelson close? -- It's the big one for Phil Mickelson, right? I said early this week that Mickelson winning would be the golf story of the year and that I thought he only had two or three more good shots at winning his country's Open Championship. I'd like to amend that -- I think this is his last shot. I also think he knows that somewhere deep inside himself. He hasn't led an Open since 2006 at Winged Foot and he might never get another shot. Should make for some great theater.
2. Will Tiger do what Tiger has never done? -- There are actually two big things working against Woods this weekend. He's never won a tournament when over par after two rounds and he's (obviously) never won a major when coming from behind on a Sunday. Saturday is monstrous for him, can he sneak into one of the last two groups on Sunday?
3. A nicer Merion -- We've seen Merion be the monster she is but a lot of that had to do with some wicked pin placements from the USGA. Will they ease up on Saturday or Sunday and let the birdies flow? I kind of doubt it. For posterity: of the 311 rounds over the first two days, 11 were under par, 300 were not under par.
4. Your first time -- Know how many US Open winners there are in the top 12 on the leaderboard? Exactly zero. 12 guys who don't know what kind of mental grind it takes to play 72 of the toughest holes of their lives. If one of them emerges (no matter who it is), it will be a fantastic narrative.
5. Rory lurks -- Rory McIlroy's last three US Opens look like this: cut, win, cut. And the win was definitive. We haven't seen him have to try and emerge from the pack at an Open since 2009 when he finished T10. With all the drama so far this year, it will be interesting to see what he's made of on the weekend at Merion.