This week sees the season's penultimate major championship take place at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. As 156 golfers get ready to tee it up in what promises to be an intriguing four days of play, our eyes will likely be drawn toward the stellar names on the tournament leaderboard.
Naturally, as golf fans, we're all considering who may be hoisting the US Open trophy come Sunday evening, and given the current landscape, we'll be watching the likes of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau (among others) with particular interest after accepting mega paydays to leave the PGA Tour.
We will see many less recognisable names, though. Some of these will have survived an arduous qualification journey that began several weeks earlier and now plan to enjoy the fruits of all their labour.
The final leg of that qualification process comes on the Monday before US Open week. Referred to - by the USGA at least - as 'Golf's Longest Day', this year it saw more than 660 golfers compete in the hope of claiming one of the final 49 spots available for the prestigious championship.
The gruelling process makes the US Open the ultimate meritocracy and a genuinely open contest at its roots. This accepting nature was perhaps most recently on show when the USGA announced their intention to welcome all golfers who have defected to the LIV Golf Series.
More than this, it's also a tournament for dreamers. It is an event where people from all walks of life can put together three good rounds of golf and find themselves playing amongst the world's best on the biggest stage of them all.
Now that the qualification dust has settled, we're left with an eclectic mix of young and old, spanning a range of PGA Tour pros and hopeful amateur kids ready to tee it up this Thursday.
Much like the Open Championship on the other side of the pond, the US Open qualifying often presents many inspirational stories.
One of those is that of the most unexpected player to make the field - 57-year-old Fran Quinn - who became the oldest golfer to ever make it to the US Open proper via the qualification process since records began in 1982.
He and his son Owen - an impressive golfer in his own right - both managed to make it through to the 36-hole sectional in Purchase, New York. While his son failed to make the grade this time, Fran put together two solid rounds and managed to stay strong in an eight-man playoff to take one of the three remaining qualifying spots.
That playoff was a perfect window into the diverse nature of the US Open and the golfers aiming to qualify for Brookline. Three mini-tour pros and the no.1 junior in the US joined a former US Junior Amateur champion, a Korn Ferry Tour player, a PGA Tour card holder and Quinn, a 57-year-old journeyman golfer.
Elsewhere, the lowest score in all the sectional events was -12. It was posted by William Mouw, an up-and-coming amateur golfer and son of a chicken farmer who has just recently finished his junior season at Pepperdine University.
Also among the qualifiers is Sean Jacklin - the son of former US Open and Open Champion, Tony Jackin, while three-time PGA Tour winner Jonas Blixt also makes the field after leading three qualifiers at Rattlesnake Point Golf Club in Canada.
As far as the hard-luck stories go, a few notable names failed to make the grade this year.
Rickie Fowler is the biggest household name to have missed out. It's now the second time he has failed to make it through the US Open qualification process in as many years.
Matt Wolff has been struggling of late and had to pin his hopes on making it through final qualifying to get to Brookline. Unfortunately, things didn't go to plan for the former world number 12 as he withdrew midway through his second round.
Other recognisable names to fall short in those sectional events include Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Brandt Snedeker, Patton Kizzire and Daniel Summerhays - to name just a few.
Looking at the players who missed out this year, it's evident that the qualification process is not for the faint-hearted and that those who secured one of the 49 places earned every bit of it.
You may argue their chances of winning the 122nd US Open are slim to none, but they will play alongside the best in the business and standing on the first tee at even par - at that moment at least - will be very much their equal.
Get Involved With Our Hole19 Majors Competition
As the world's best get ready to tussle for the US Open title, now is the perfect time for you to sign up for our Hole19 Majors competition, which gives you the chance to win a round at The Shire London and a shot a becoming the first-ever 'Hole19 Majors Champion'.
After registering, the competition will be split into three separate stages. First, in July, you will play your rounds in strokeplay format and log your scores on the Hole19 app. After selecting each golfer's two best net rounds, the 50 golfers with the lowest scores will qualify for the next stage.
Those remaining 50 golfers will play throughout August in the same format. Again, after selecting the two lowest rounds for each remaining participant again, nine golfers with the best net strokeplay scores will make it to the final stage and win a trip to The Shire in September.
The final will include a light lunch upon arrival, time to warm up on the range, 18 holes on the championship course, a relaxing dinner and drinks before the inaugural Hole19 Major Champion will be presented with a specially commissioned trophy to mark their monumental achievement.
You can read more, and get involved here.