by Jeff Skinner
While many players positioned themselves for a Sunday charge at The Masters two of the most popular golfers struggled to horrible rounds on Saturday and were left with a Sunday with no chance of contending.
McIlroy looked primed to make a charge with a solid finish on Friday and he was only four strokes out of the lead. His third major was within his reach but after a painfully poor third round of 79 McIlroy is left to wonder what might have been.
He started well enough with a birdie at the third but bogeys at seven and nine were a hint of things to come. A triple bogey at eleven (approach in water) and a double at fifteen essentially ended Rory’s run at his first green jacket. But at 23 Rory has decades left to win more majors. But Phil Mickelson is another story.
Phil started the day at plus three, well off the lead but with 36 holes remaining he was ready for the challenge. He said he couldn’t wait to get back out there after Friday’s round, feeling that he had found something in his game. But right from the start there was trouble with an opening bogey and a front nine played in 37 strokes. And that was the best it would get as Phil the Thrill found no magic on the Augusta Hills and ballooned to a back nine 40.
For Phil to perform so poorly at a place he loves so dearly has to make us wonder if he will ever find his game at another major. The Masters is his major. He loves the venue and it suits his game but maybe age and his arthritis have taken more out of him then he admits. If Phil never wins another Masters or another major he still has had one of the most amazing careers of his generation and I know he thinks there is plenty left in his tank. But this is where he usually showcases it and this year has to be a difficult one to swallow.