Rory McIlroy may have had a historic collapse at The Masters this year, but those demons are not haunting him so far at the US Open. His magnificent play has resulted in an 8-shot lead going into the final round at Congressional today. YE Yang is still in second place at -6, and will need the round of his life and another dreadful Sunday from McIlroy to have any chance at all.
Should McIlroy fail to close as he did earlier this year in a major championship, the door is wide open for a large amount of the field. Twenty golfers are currently below par. The biggest thing that will more than likely be missing is a batch of big name golfers contending today. Phil Mickelson is sitting at +8, T67 and Bubba Watson is +9, T69. The world's No. 1 golfer, Luke Donald, is +7, T59. Defending champion Graeme McDowell is E, T21. Clearly, there is very little star power that has any chance to make a move in the final round.
There is some hope, though. With Lee Westwood T3, -5 there is a chance he could make a big move in this round and if McIlroy slips a little bit, we could have a dramatic Sunday finish on our hands. Sergio Garcia is one shot back of Westwood at -4 and also seeking his first major championship win.
It's been said that anything can happen on Sunday, and obviously we've seen that plenty of times in many different forms. The best case scenario for golf fans - and TV ratings - is for McIlroy to falter a little bit and for Westwood and Garcia to put together phenomenal performances that challenge McIlroy down to the wire.
After the finish we had at Augusta this year, I wouldn't even say it's a long shot. We can say that McIlroy looks like he's grown up a lot in the past few months and that the ghosts of Augusta's past are no longer haunting him right now, but it's just speculation until he hoists the US Open trophy. You don't just exorcise those demons with three good rounds... you have to finish the job, completely.
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