We're just about set for major number two on the golf calendar in 2013 - the U.S. Open, which begins Thursday at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.

4 Deep Golf Blog's Joel Harrington talked with ESPN 99.1's Jeff Harkness about the tournament, especially the conditions after a very wet beginning to this week.

ARDMORE, PA - JUNE 10: Patrons use umbrellas in the rain during a practice round prior to the start of the 113th U.S. Open at at Merion Golf Club on June 10, 2013 in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The layout at Merion is listed at 6,996 yards, short by U.S. Open standards.  What does that mean for scoring?

ARDMORE, PA - JUNE 10: Tiger Woods of the United States hits a shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 113th U.S. Open at at Merion Golf Club on June 10, 2013 in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Tiger Woods is the odds on favorite (4-to-1) to win his 15th major tournament.  He is trying to end a five-year drought in golf's biggest events.  His last major win came in the 2008 U.S Open .

He'll be in a threesome of the top players in the world the first two days at Merion, as he plays with Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott.

So who does Joel see as the real contenders at Merion this week and who has no shot at winning this major?

There are several different scenarios to consider this week, so what are Joel's predictions for some of the biggest story lines coming into this week's U.S. Open?