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The best plan, it turns out, might be to anticipate an unanticipated outcome. For the last two years, it’s become at minimum a temporary normal as previous unknowns enjoyed their major moments.

“You start getting good breaks, and when you start getting good breaks the belief gets stronger,” said Ernie Els, a three-time major winner. “It’s really having that little dream in front of you and just keep playing. It’s a big struggle out there. At times you feel like you want to go home, but it’s the U.S. Open and it’s a special week.”