Hot this week? The U.S. Open and Steve Williams. Not? USGA pairings and Tiger.

Hot this week? The U.S. Open and Steve Williams. Not? USGA pairings and Tiger.

Phil Mickelson practicing Tuesday at Congressional.
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

1. The U.S. Open The toughest, meanest, most macho tourney of the year is finally here. Bring on the carnage!

2. Harrison Frazar In a year of unexpected winners, his long-overdue triumph is quite simply the feel-good story of the season.

3. Steve Williams At least he has a chance to make a decent check this week.

4. Yani Tseng Meanwhile, the best golfer on the planet just keeps piling up victories. Is anyone out there paying attention to how good Tseng is?

5. The 18th hole at Congressional It’s a beauty and a beast. Hard to imagine any scenario in which the national championship isn’t won and/or lost here.

1. The other 17 holes at Congressional. Yawn.

2. USGA pairings Jeez, couldn’t they have come up with something a little more original than the all-Asian (Ishikawa-Yang-Kim), all-Italian (Molinaris and Manassero) and all-Spanish (Quiros-Garcia-Jimenez) groups? I do like the threesome of talented head-cases (Phil-Dustin-Rory).

3. Hunter Mahan He’s gotta spend the first two rounds of the Open with Ian Poulter and Rickie Fowler. Dude’s gonna go blind just looking at their pants!

4. Tiger You see those pictures of him on crutches in a protective boot? Forget Royal St. Georges — I’m starting to fear we won’t see him again this year.

5. John Garrity My esteemed SI colleague has an almost unhealthy interest in Robert Karlsson. I think John was more disappointed than Karlsson by Sunday’s playoff outcome.