This year the challenge comes to the heartland, and its conqueror will embody the most basic elements of that territory. Hard, honest work and a conservative approach coupled with steely determination.
But our champion must also have style. His game will need to incorporate the smooth rhythms of Chicago jazz, the audacity of Roxy Hart and the cunning of Al Capone.
153 men with a common dream, and uncommon ability, from all corners of the world, each traveling his own path to a shared destination. Which man will earn a place for his name on the Championship Cup?
Will it be the defender? In search of his third victory in four years, can he match the feat of another great champion, accomplished exactly a half century ago? Or the man with a smile as easy as his swing? Or the golfer's son, who finished runner-up the last time this championship visited the heartland?
The hottest player on the planet would be a popular champion, as would the family man whose life is full, but whose trophy case contains a conspicuous vacancy?
If hard work proved to be the only qualification, surely the most tireless practitioner would win and become the first man from his country to wear the crown.
Perhaps this is the year we will see the first Irishman, the first continental European or the first Canadian to triumph.
Ultimately, on Father's Day, one man's son and perhaps another young mans father will see a lifetime of hard work distilled into a week of magic, a week of grace, a week of glory and he will become the 2003 United States Open Champion.