Tacoma (Washington) - Down by the train tracks at Chambers Bay, it was possible to spy a changing of golf's guard on Friday.
As the Tiger Woods love-in turned into behind-the-sofa voyeurism, three American young guns stepped calmly into the void at the US Open.
The presence of Jordan Spieth was scarcely a surprise.
US Open, 2nd rd (USA unless noted)
135 Patrick Reed 66 69, Jordan Spieth 68 67
136 Dustin Johnson 65 71, Branden Grace (Rsa) 69 67
137 Joost Luiten (Ned) 68 69, Daniel Summerhays 70 67, Tony Finau 69 68, Ben Martin 67 70
138 Jason Day (Aus) 68 70
139 Henrik Stenson (Swe) 65 74
140 Matt Kuchar 67 73
141 Adam Scott (Aus) 70 71, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 70 71, Paul Casey (Eng) 72 69
142 Kevin Na 70 72, Justin Rose (Eng) 72 70
143 Phil Mickelson 69 74
144 Jim Furyk 71 73, Rory McIlroy (Nir) 72 72
145 Sergio García (Esp) 70 75
146 Martin Kaymer (Ger) 72 74, Bill Haas 73 73
147 Liang Wenchong (Chn) 73 74, Bubba Watson 70 77
148 Graeme McDowell (Nir) 74 74, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 71 77
156 Tiger Woods 80 76
The 21-year-old has already won the Masters and is the world No. 2 but adding a second Major would add a new layer of possibility.
He was the first to finish with a round of 67 and a 135 total. That gave him the clubhouse lead and he was later joined by his Ryder Cup partner Patrick Reed, who had a 69.
Dustin Johnson, who missed the Ryder Cup due to a mysterious hiatus from golf, had three bogeys in his last five holes to finish a shot adrift, alongside Branden Grace of South Africa.
Spieth already has the personal traits to become a household star in the United States.
From the right side of the tracks, he has volunteered at his sister's special needs school and written "Daph" on his balls in honour of his caddie's niece after she had a seizure.
He has a flair for niceness and a game of ruthless monotony.
Reed and Johnson are not quite so apple pie.
Reed, 24, all barrel body and fist pumps, has recently had to deny claims that he cheated and stole in his college days.
He is reportedly one of the more unpopular players on the Tour.
Johnson, 30, is a relentless spitter and left the Tour last year amid reports that he had failed a drug test for cocaine, his third in total.
He denied that but the whispers of suspicion have exposed the inadequacy of golf's policy of not naming banned golfers.
However, Johnson, who did admit to having a drinking problem, has returned with his brutishly brilliant game and has been in rude sporting health since.
He never appears the sort to overthink golf and three birdies in five holes on Friday maintained his overnight lead.
He let that slip late in the day when scoring seems to be harder on a course that have attracted so much criticism.
That may be telling as the tournament reaches its climax. The flipping of holes between par fours and fives was also roundly damned by players such as Spieth and the fading Phil Mickelson, who could manage only a 74 for a 143 total.
The 18th hole can play as either a short-ish par five or a long par four. The US Golf Association chose the latter for Friday's second round, and it was not a popular move.
"This is the dumbest hole I've ever played in my life," Spieth said, having little interest in taking all the blame for his double bogey.
Reed was one man with little to complain about. He was once mocked for referring to himself as a top-five player but he certainly looked that as he followed up a birdie with an eagle during a mid-round purple patch.
It will be fascinating to see whether he can keep his nerve over the weekend.
Spieth had the best round of the American young guns. He took advantage of his early start and metronomic putting to throw down the gauntlet.
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy's fading hopes of a win evaporated with a bogey-double bogey finish for a round of 72 and a 144 total.
Although the players have been surprised by the poor quality of the greens, only Sergio Garcia, with a 145 total, was unwise enough to go public, claiming he was merely saying what everyone else was thinking.
Yet, for the fans, the course foibles have made for enthralling viewing, at least when they can get close enough to see the mayhem.
The Times, London, AFP
US Open: Day 4
Singtel TV Ch115 & StarHub Ch209, tomorrow, 3am