Time for the second major, and time for a dozen projections and predictions. Keep it in the short grass, amigos.
Tiger Woods: He deserves to be the clear favorite here - he relishes the challenge and grind of a U.S. Open, and he's still as good a putter as anyone. And never discount Tiger's mind - he'll figure out the course quicker than anyone else. Projection: Top 5.
Rory McIlroy: Perhaps the highest volatility play in the field - he could make a run on Sunday or slam the trunk on Friday. Does he seem fully comfortable with his new clubs and 2013 game? Does the swagger seem completely back yet? We'd like to see a little more proof. Projection: Outside Top 20.
Jim Furyk: He handed away last year's U.S. Open and the sting was written all over his face - he probably recognizes it was his last chance at a major. Furyk's heart is still willing but his putter gets blocky in clutch spots. The well is dry. Projection: T34.
Phil Mickelson: He got what he wanted with a T2 at St. Jude, but it's hard to feel great about his Open chances if accuracy is a premium. And while some sharpness from last week is appreciated, will Lefty ultimately wish he had taken a breather instead? Projection: Outside Top 25.
Steve Stricker: Classic example of a less-is-more player; Stricker is semi-retired now but he's refreshed whenever he tees it up. Now that he's no longer got the "next major winner" X on his back, maybe he sneaks up on everyone. He still putts like an angel. Projection: Top 10.
Matt Kuchar: Has the pedigree to step up in class, but other than the Sawgrass win, he doesn't have a sterling record on the big stages. Maybe another year of dues paying is to be expected. Projection: Outside Top 20.
Boo Weekley: A ball striker this good has to be given a chance, but can he handle the speed of the greens? Weekley's chances get a major boost if it's a wet week. Projection: T27.
Justin Rose: He's the best player off the tee this year and that's a huge edge at the U.S. Open. But why are there so many missed cuts (4-of-7) on his Open card? Projection: Outside Top 30.
Bubba Watson: Does he have the patience to think his way around this course? Can he keep his spurs from jingling and jangling? If you asked Watson this directly, I wonder what he'd say. Load up the trunk. Projection: Missed cut.
Louis Oosthuizen: Inconsistent season and now we have to worry about the residuals from the neck injury. We'll revisit at the British. Projection: Missed cut.
Graeme McDowell:: He's never missed a cut at the U.S. Open - including a win in 2010 and last year's near miss. McDowell is unflappable and patience, and he's won two of his last four starts. Hard to make a better pick than this. Projection: Win.
Keegan Bradley: He's ninth on the money list without a win, including six Top 10 finishes. Big moments don't worry him, and he's capable of making the 10-foot par putts you have to have here. He's also got the first major out of the way. Look for a four-day story. Projection: Top 10.
Longshot Special: You have to go back a ways, but Jeff Maggert's history at the U.S. Open is excellent - and his ball striking looked rather snappy at Sawgrass. You heard it here first, he's grinding his way into the Top 30 this week.