Pondering the possibilities

With two rounds down, Jim Huber has as many questions as there are contenders. What's on Jim's mind? Well, Lucas Glover's beard, Miguel Angel Jimenez's stretching routine, Rickie Fowler's outfit and Phil Mickelson's mindset, just for starters.


Phil Mickelson's attempt to turn himself into a mentalist seems to be working, says Jim Huber. (Getty Images)

By Jim Huber, Contributor

SANDWICH, England -- There are so many angles from which to attack this second round of the Open Championship from Royal St. George’s.

Let’s just go exploring, shall we?

--If Darren Clarke happens to win this 140th edition come Sunday, do we canonize Northern Ireland immediately and make them all saints? Good gracious, it’s hardly larger than Tiger’s new pool house and he would make the third man from there to win a major in the last five chances. I would welcome the victory, just to sit in on the post-round press conference and subsequent party.

--If Lucas Glover (really? Lucas Glover?) wins, he would become the first Open champion since J.H. Taylor in 1913 with facial hair … and the first with a full beard since Willie Park in 1875. The beard, by the way, has its own Twitter site and it will become truly insufferable with a Claret Jug in hand.

--Much was made Friday of Miguel Angel Jimenez’ rollicking stretching routine on the range, resembling a rather tawdry lap dance in a Butte, Montana, road house. But
just look at that body and imagine the damage done if he didn’t stretch like that! He is now being called “golf’s most interesting man,” thanks to the beard and pony tail and ever-present bottle of well-aged merlot. If you think Clarke would throw a rowdy victory party, it would seem as tame as a first-grader’s compared to what the man known as “the Mechanic” might toss.

--Tom Watson, about whom there’s been a book written (oh, you didn’t know? For shame), has a hole-in-one on his way to making yet another Open cut. The ball originally went to Hilary, his wife, but that won’t last long. The World Golf Hall of Fame has asked for the donation and he will comply, leaving him with just one of the 15 aces left back home -- the very first when he was just a kid.

--If Phil Mickelson wins, will we have to go back in time to find the last rookie Open champion? Oh, you hadn’t heard? Phil’s truly-awful Open record (one top-10 in 17 tries) has turned him into a mentalist. He is trying to trick himself into believing this is his very first attempt. Perhaps it’s working. He’s just three back.

--One wonders if Lee Westwood is finally near his past-due date. The staggering No. 2-ranked player in the world (how does that happen?) missed the cut at RSG Friday and thus is 0-45 in major championships. So many chances, so many close finishes, so many o-fers. It has to eat at you, especially when you’re as competitive and talented as he.

--Wonder what the bookies know? Even with Clarke and Glover atop the leaderboard going to the weekend, their betting favorite turns to the reigning PGA Champion Martin Kaymer, who is a shot back.

--From the “Minor Intrigue” department: The British sensation Tom Lewis, who is still very much a part of this championship despite a 4-over-par 74 Friday, is an amateur. But for the first two days, he clearly wore Hugo Boss across his right breast and at his neck. Just wondering. (Who knows, he might have spent a semester at Ohio State, for all I know)

--Wondering, also, why Loudmouth doesn’t make rainsuits? It was actually hard to identify John Daly in all black. At least Rickie Fowler’s rain gear had some intrigue to it. The BBC’s Peter Alliss wondered if the young American had lost a duel with some local pigeons.

--We will see those rain suits and whatever else they can protect themselves with over the weekend, if the forecasters finally get it right. They’re calling for Armageddon along the Southeastern coast.

Lucas Glover? Seriously? Where have you been, my boy? And welcome back, wherever it was.