WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS - All I want for the Fourth of July is for Phil Mickelson to make the stinkin' cut.
Really, Lefty, do you have to string us along? For the last two summers, we have waited for you to contend at the Greenbrier Classic, the young tournament in our little corner of the golf world, to perhaps knock heads with Webb Simpson or some young gun on Sunday.
Instead, you've flirted merely with making the cut. In 2011, you had a 19-foot birdie try on the 18th to stick around - and you didn't just miss, you three-putted. In 2012, you missed by three shots.
All half-joking aside, it was exhilarating to see Mickelson commit to taking on the Old White TPC again four weeks hence. It was also relieving: The lack of big-name announcements was starting to make me nervous.
Mickelson can still play. Since missing the cut at the Greenbrier Classic and the British Open in a three-week stretch last year, he has climbed back into the top 10 in the world rankings.
How did he pull that off?
That started with a run through the FedExCup playoffs to the Tour Championship, which essentially crowns the Tour's top 30 players. He tied for second in the World Golf Championships event in China and started 2013 with a win at the Phoenix Open, where he has hero status from his college days. That was his 41st win all-time.
Since then, he has had two third-place finishes and another 16th. He has missed two cuts, however, including his last start, The Players Championship in early May. After three weeks off - he even took a pass on the Memorial - he'll be back at it this week in Memphis.
Then he'll play the U.S. Open in Merion. If he repeats his schedule of 2012, he'll take two weeks off before coming to the Classic.
And he'll make it a classic, one way or another.
For one thing, he refuses to be boring on the course. He's a daring sort, and doesn't mind attempting a crazy shot when put in adverse conditions. He's usually great with the fans, both on and off the course.
But his best quality will be drawing a few other top players to the field, which is what he did best in 2011. In 2012, he was upstaged a bit by Tiger Woods, which is to be expected.
I don't think we'll see Woods here this time around, though resort owner Jim Justice reports that "he hasn't said no." Matt Kuchar, the 2010 Classic participant who has climbed to fourth in the world, is not coming - he took a sponsor's exemption into the French Open the same week.
Steve Stricker, who came last year, is playing a scaled-back schedule, which I guarantee will include his favored John Deere Classic. That's a week after the Greenbrier, in the Quad Cities. Scratch him.