[to top of second column]
It's a weekend that will start with McDowell on top, fresh off a victory earlier this month in Wales. He may be best known on this side of the pond as being the replacement for Woods in Tiger's own tournament when details of his personal life started coming out and Woods took time off over the winter.
A win in a major would certainly add to that resume.
"I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought about picking up the trophy on Sunday afternoon," McDowell said. "I think that's only natural. But I'm trying to be very realistic about it, as well. I'm really trying to put no expectations on myself this weekend because, A, I know there's a lot of great players out here, and B, this golf course is extremely difficult."
Through two rounds, only eight players had cracked 70 -- a list that included McDowell and Els, who had both carded 68s on Friday before Mickelson took the course and showed what, exactly, was possible.
Like Mickelson, Els got some things ironed out with his putter between rounds, then came out and made putts that didn't go in the day before. Els came in a distant, and embarrassing, second to Woods back in 2000 and took flak when he proclaimed that, "It seems like we're not playing in the same ballpark right now."
Now, he's back in the ballpark, trying to make up for lost time. It's been 16 years since he won his first U.S. Open. That he's won only two more majors since seems like something of a disappointment to some.
"The expectations are there, obviously," Els said. "And I probably fell victim to that a little bit because I had many -- numerous -- chances of winning majors, which I didn't. I've won three and I look back at it now, I'm pleased to have done that."
Also in the field for the weekend: Tom Watson.
The 60-year-old Watson made the cut on the number to extend what has turned into more of a stroll through memory lane than a true title run, the likes of which he made last year at the British Open before coming up one agonizing putt short at the end.
When he holed his putt on No. 18, he received a deep, warm ovation and took a kindly bow, not knowing at the time that he'd be around for the weekend.
"We'll think about the sentimental part of it later," Watson said.
Indeed, there's very little time for reminiscing or picture taking this week, even if the course is Pebble Beach -- one of the most beautiful in America.
Nobody tamed the beauty better than Mickelson on this day.
"I can't wait for tomorrow's round. I love just being on the golf course playing," he said. "I don't want the tournament to end. I want to just keep playing."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
< Sports index
Back to top
News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries
Law & Courts |
Spiritual Life |
Health & Fitness |
Calendar | Letters to the Editor