In the previous 116 U.S. Opens, only six players had ever reached 10-under par or lower, never in the same tournament. It's created to disturb the world's best golfers. Also, millions will watch a 13-player jam-up on Sunday for the pure - U.S. Golf Association cover your ears - birdie-binge "fun" of it. It was the lowest third-round score in Open history. Not Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus. And then Morgan came undone. He crashed instantly, as if the Open rose to humiliate him for impertinence. Wonderful, psychologically illuminating, schadenfreude-packed disaster.
Rickie Fowler, on the verge of being left behind, rallied with three straight birdies and shot 68. He has not had a top-10 finish since January, and his game has lacked consistency from round to round.
"I have pictured winning the US Open a lot of times before".
Four other players are tied for 10th on seven under. Consider: 18 of 68 players broke 70 on Saturday.
In the classic film "Tin Cup", the protagonist, Roy McAvoy, tells fellow U.S. Open contender David Simms, "Keep shooting pars, a-h--!" He'll be called the U.S. Open champion, but this really isn't the U.S. Open. Which ones? Pick one.
Reed will be one of the biggest stories during the final round after firing a 65 Saturday. Fewest smashed clubs. Least whining (field).
But Thomas was more focused on the 63 than the par record for the Open.
Thomas, the 24-year-old from Kentucky who is a major away from joining the young elite in golf, only added to a year of low numbers. That made Saturday's score even more eye-opening.
No, the U.S. Open should be mind-numbingly challenging. "It's known for making you kind of hate yourself and hate golf and just really struggle out there". Kite says "I don't anticipate this being a bloodletting".
"We're breaking down all kinds of barriers", Harman quipped.
This year, at least, there will be none. He kept it in the short grass, the secret to Erin Hills that wouldn't appear to be that hard with some of the widest fairways for this major.
Miller, though impressed by Thomas, was not exactly in awe.
The traditional moving day lived up to its reputation with a number of players exploiting benign conditions to tear into the forgiving par-72 layout.
Erin Hills again lacked enough wind to be the stern test the U.S. Open wants, and it showed. This is an identity crisis.
Fifteen of the 18 holes had been cut within seven yards of the edge of the green and despite the 68-man field being separated by eight shots, only former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen had been able to move into the top 15 after nearly four hours' play.
This isn't like most Opens. But when those par-5s average 611 yards, that's not much of a gift. "I know I'm going to be nervous, I just need to harness that as best I can".
But it's not. It's the U.S. Open. But they're still American- style courses, not at all true links courses on sandy ground where every shot rolls for days and you can play crafty ground-hugging shots. In fact you have to look down to 17th place on the leaderboard before you find a major victor in South African Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion. "Chambers (Bay) was tough with the greens, and then a year ago had a tough Sunday, and I thought that the USGA did a phenomenal job this week of allowing the golf course to be what it is and play the way it's supposed to play". I'd love to have another one of those.
This dilemma can be examined at our leisure.