Justin Rose

Justin Rose of England looks skyward in honor of his late father after finishing the fourth round of the U.S. Open on Sunday at Merion Golf Club. (Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images / June 16, 2013)

We know Mickelson has finished second five times at the U.S. Open, but how many of those were really close?

The 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage?

Ah, not so much. Woods won his second U.S. Open by three shots there, almost in the pitch dark.

Mickelson turned 32 on that Father's Day Sunday and was a crowd favorite. A birdie on the par-five 13th pulled him to within two shoots of the lead, but Woods quickly answered with his own birdie and closed the deal.

Phil, though, had a legitimate chance to win four other U.S. Open crowns.

--1999 at Pinehurst No. 2. He lost to Payne Stewart by one stroke. Phil held the final-day lead until he bogeyed the par-four 16th hole. Mickelson was just a kid, though, who figured he'd get plenty more chances.

--2004 at Shinnecock. Mickelson lost by two shots to Retief Goosen. Mickelson birdied No. 16 to take the final-day lead but followed with a double on the incredibly difficult par-three 17th.

--2006 at Winged Foot. This is the one that haunts Mickelson the most. He needed par on the 72nd hole to win and even a bogey would have gotten him into a playoff. Mickelson, though, hit his driver into a sponsor's tent and made double bogey to hand the trophy to Geoff Ogilvy. "I am such and idiot," Mickelson said afterward.

--2009 at Bethpage. Mickelson took the Sunday with a birdie on 12 and an eagle on 13. He three-putted No. 15 and also bogeyed the par-three 17th, handing the title to Lucas Glover.

--2013 at Merion ... ?

Two Englishmen take aim at a rare title | 12:10 p.m.

Only mad dogs and Englishmen venture into the mid-day sun and also believe another Brit can win the U.S. Open.

Think of the frequency of that occurring as roughly equal to the orbits of Halley's Comet.

Halley's Comet arrived in 1910 and 10 years later, 1920, Edward Ray boated over from England and won the U.S. Open at Inverness. He was 43 and will remain the oldest winner unless Steve Stricker (46) wins today.

Ray had a Teddy Roosevelt mustache and won the same year the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees.

Flash forward 50 years later, to 1970: Tony Jacklin, another Brit, won the U.S. Open at Hazeltine National in Minnesota.

It was a jolly good show as he smoked Dave Hill by seven shots. That was followed 16 years later by another appearance from Halley's Comet. It will next appear in 2062.

We bring this up because this could be a very exciting Sunday for fish-and-chips lovers. Not one, but two Englishmen are in serious U.S. Open contention.

Justin Rose and Luke Donald are both at one-over-par 211 and stand only two shots behind leader Phil Mickelson. Donald, to be honest, has become somewhat Americanized having attended college at Northwestern.

But you can bet they will still ring Big Ben in London if he chases down Liberty Bell Phil outside Philadelphia.