Mystique of Mickelson: Everybody's favorite Lefty

Phil Mickelson reacts to a missed putt on the first hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Friday, June 14, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (Darron Cummings/AP)

If you didn't already know, Phil Mickelson is the favorite son of the American golf fan.

Never was it more evident just prior to his 3:41 p.m. tee time this afternoon when, as two of the best young talents in the game Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson had just bombed 300-yard drives off the first tee and were easing down the first fairway, cheers rang for Mickelson — as he sauntered off the practice green.

"Go get 'em, Phil!" fans chanted as Mickelson walked toward the first tee box in the shadow of Merion Golf Club's beautiful clubhouse.

They cheered wildly as Watson, last year's Masters champion, and Johnson, one of the most electrifying players on the planet, strode past.

And that was the start to what is arguably the second round of this year's U.S. Open's best string of golf groupings. Watson, Johnson and Nicolas Colsaerts at 3:30 p.m. Mickelson, Steve Stricker and Keegan Bradley at 3:41 p.m. Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose and Brant Snedeker at 3:52 p.m.

In an amazing coincidence of timing, after Mickelson blasted his first drive into a fairway bunker and began his walk to the ball down the middle of the crowd-lined fairway, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott came across the same fairway after finishing their round at the 10th hole (they teed off this morning from the 11th tee).

The crowd sensed the timing. And they were clearly on Mickelson's side, with the "Go get 'em, Phil!" yells turning into "Go get him, Phil!"