PINEHURST, N.C. – After the second round of the U.S. Open, we're left rooting for the sports equivalent of a train wreck.
If that doesn't happen, this tournament is over.
LEADER BOARD: Brendon Todd in second
A Saturday 80? Or matching 75s? Scores like that seem to be the only way Germany's Martin Kaymer can lose the 2014 U.S. Open after opening up a six-shot lead with the lowest 36-hole score in the 114-year history of this event.
This Open has the distinct look and feel of a rout. Even Kaymer admits it.
"It gets boring the words that I use," Kaymer said with a smile in describing how he played Friday while shooting his second consecutive 5-under 65. "But, I mean, there's not much to say. It's just good right now the way I play golf."
It's very good for him, not so good for entertainment value. It seems a shame to describe golf greatness with the term "boring," but if Kaymer keeps playing this well, this highly-anticipated golf weekend is going to become nothing but anti-climatic.
History sneaks up on the game of golf. It doesn't come in blasts, like home runs or Hail Mary touchdowns. It's not anyone's fault that Kaymer was playing a rain-soaked, receptive course with admirable and methodical precision, one hole after another.
Kaymer himself never expected this. After shooting 65 on Thursday, he said there was no way he'd be able to do that again. But then came torrential rains Thursday night that dumped nearly an inch of water on the course within 15 minutes. It was the best thing that could have happened to Kaymer.
"I was expecting the golf course playing a lot firmer and obviously that rain helped a lot last night and you could still be aggressive today," said Kaymer, who teed off at 8:02 a.m. Friday. "We had perfect greens in the morning, but still you have to hit good shots. But you know what I said, it's very rare, obviously the record shows that it's very rare that somebody shoots 10-under par after two rounds. And it just happened in my case now."
Kaymer, 29, may be from Europe, but he is well known on this side of the pond now. He won the 2010 PGA Championship when Dustin Johnson controversially grounded his club in a bunker on the 72nd hole. He became the No. 1 player in the world the next year. He sank the winning putt in the 2012 Ryder Cup. And he just won The Players Championship last month.
But he's still European through and through. And Pinehurst No. 2, now without its high rough and narrow fairways, plays right to his strengths, he said.
"I actually like the way it plays now," he said. "I didn't play in 2005, so for me, it's very difficult to compare it, but I actually enjoy a different U.S. Open right now. Usually coming to the U.S. Open, you know it's going to be tight fairways, thick rough, fast greens. This week, it's a little bit different. I think for us Europeans, or especially the guys from the U.K., we're more used to playing those golf courses than the thick rough and long fairway or long holes with tight fairways. So I think it's a little bit of a favor for the European players."
This might become a topic for a future U.S. Golf Association meeting.
For now, though, it could become the pathway to coronation for another European at the U.S. national championship. If Kaymer carries on to victory, he will become the fourth European winner in the last five years, following Graeme McDowell in 2010, Rory McIlroy in 2011 and Justin Rose last year, with Webb Simpson as the lone American winner in this decade.
That said, anything can happen over the weekend, obviously. The last time the U.S. Open was played at Pinehurst, in 2005, two-time Open champion Retief Goosen entered the final round with a three-stroke lead, shot 81 and ended up finishing 11th. "I obviously threw this one away," he said afterward.
Then there were the U.S. Open romps of Tiger Woods in 2000 and McIlroy in 2011. They held six-stroke leads at the halfway point of their Opens and never looked back.
There's no way to know for sure, but Kaymer seems to have more Tiger and Rory in him at the moment than Retief.
Asked how good it felt to be playing so well, Kaymer replied, "I said to my caddie, there were a couple of shots today that I was surprised how good they were."
Here's hoping that's not the only surprise left in this tournament.