With Tiger Woods not in the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, the stage appears cleared for golf's other superstar, Phil Mickelson, to finally win the year's second major and complete the career Grand Slam. However, with Woods out of action this week, Mickelson may be under increased pressure to take the mantle from the 14-time major winner.
In the five previous majors Woods has missed with injuries, Mickelson has posted a pair of top-10 finishes but no wins.
2008 Open Championship: T-19
2008 PGA Championship: T-7
2011 U.S. Open: T-54
2011 Open Championship: T-2
2014 Masters: CUT
Mickelson, however, did post his best pre-2013 Open Championship finish at Royal St. George's in 2011, finishing tied for runner-up to surprise winner Darren Clarke.
Lefty also fared poorly in '11 at the U.S. Open, in part, because Congressional Country Club played more like a standard PGA Tour stop than a prototypical U.S. Open setup.
Then again, this U.S. Open setup will be one of the most unique in decades.