Sunday, April 10, 2011
Can Rory Hold On To Win This Thing?
It seems that just about every major championship has these big storylines; will Tiger Woods finally win another golf tournament, and major, to get back on track to eclipse Jack Nicklaus' record? Will Phil Mickelson win? What young player can breakthrough and take a major?
The problem with the last, as we've seen, is it's incredibly tough for young players to hone in their minds for 72 holes at a major and actually claim one of the big four. I've said it for a while, but I always felt that for a young player to win a major in this day and age, they're going to have to come from the middle of the pack with a dirty low number on Sunday (similar to how Rory McIlroy won at Quail Hollow last year) and let the rest of the players come back to him. It is how Ben Curtis won his British Open, and considering the way young players have done with the lead on Sunday (I'm looking at you Dustin Johnson and Nick Watney), it seems reasonable.
But I never thought we'd get someone as young as McIlroy able to land this big of a lead after 54 holes. He's up four on the field, playing with a former Masters champion, and had to actually sleep last night knowing that he is the favorite on Sunday to win a Masters at the ripe age of 21.
So can he pull it off?
History sure seems like he can. Since 1990 only one player has won the Masters that didn't come out of the final group, and that was Zach Johnson. McIlroy has a four-shot lead over Cabrera and the rest of the 8-under gang, and he is swinging as well as anyone in the field.
The only problem I see would be with the putter. He has had some chances this week to really seal the deal, including a short birdie putt on the 18th green on Saturday, and hasn't been able to convert. If the putter starts giving him trouble early, it could be an interesting final round, especially if Cabrera started rolling in some putts.
But whatever happens, it's going to be interesting. Either we'll get our first major champion from the next generation, or another collapse to talk about for weeks and weeks. I'm excited.