What an incredible day! Could Rory do it? It’s looking increasingly possible. His tee to green game remains exemplary. So much so that, aside from the snaking putt he holed on the 17th today, he has a four-shot lead despite missing a bundle of good birdie chances.
There was a great sense of excitement around the course today. Not just because we’re reaching the business end of the year’s first Major, but also because the American fans seem truly taken with young Rory and they sense the possibility of a new superstar appearing in the game’s firmament. Not to say that Rory hasn’t already made a significant impact on golf, but victory here would lift him to another stratosphere within the game’s hierarchy.
I promised myself I wouldn’t gloat on this blog as I know I’m exceptionally privileged to be at this event and it’s not something that many people will have the chance to do. But, I have to say, today was a simply awesome one.
I sat for a couple of hours on the grass alongside the 12th tee and watched all the leaders come through. It was an amazing feeling sitting there looking out at a view I know so well from TV coverage, thinking about my parents and golfing friends back home, watching the action… maybe someone saw me?
After that I returned to the clubhouse for a quick pit-stop and enjoyed an “Azalea” cocktail on the lawn – that’s lemonade, grenadine and a healthy slug of vodka – before walking back to the 18th green, climbing up to the press gantry and cheering all the leading contenders home.
OK so I’ve totally broken my rule about gloating, but hey, I just feel like talking about it. I’m on a high!
So what might happen tomorrow? If Rory holds his nerve, I think he’ll do it. Cabrera might be his biggest threat. I’m sure he’s a lovely guy but there’s something a little intimidating about him. He plays with a natural flair and is capable of firing in early birdies that might just rattle the young Northern Irishman. Tiger is seven back. Too far? Probably. If it had been just one man ahead of him he might have been able to replicate a Faldo vs Norman scenario. But with so many quality players between him and Rors, I just don’t think he’ll get the chance.
I’m off out now to try and find somewhere to get a bite to eat. The town is buzzing and every restaurant and bar is packed out with excited golf fans. With Bo Van Pelt the best placed American in 8th place, most of them have placed their allegiance firmly with young Ulsterman. It can only help.
In his press conference, Rory was asked if he had any communication from Graeme McDowell. He said he’d received a text message that read, “I love you.” Everyone laughed. If tomorrow he can become the first European Masters champion since 1999, he’s going to receive plenty more messages expressing that sentiment.
Come on Rory!
Golf Monthly at the US Masters: