Masters 2013: Four lessons from day three as Rory McIlroy falters again
Masters 2013: What lessons did we learn from the third day of play at Augusta as Rory McIlroy fell down the leaderboard?
McIlroy still to find best form after difficult start to the year
Rory McIlroy threw away any hopes of his third major title with a seven-over-par 79 that left him at five-over for the tournament. The world number two’s struggles earlier this year culminated in him walking off the course at the Honda Classic. There were hopes he had recovered his form after finishing second at the Texas Open last week but this round shows McIlroy still has a lot of work to do. Much was made in the build-up of a potential duel between the Northern Irishman and Tiger Woods. Despite the hysteria surrounding his controversial two-shot penalty, Woods has fought his way into contention but McIlroy has not been able to do the same. In his last three Masters, McIlroy has recorded a 77 or worse in each of them and that type of inconsistency will never earn anyone a Green Jacket.
Could the Aussies finally exorcise the demons of Greg Norman?
A trio of Australians – Jason Day, Marc Leishman and Adam Scott – are poised to have a big say in who slips on the fabled green jacket tomorrow evening. In its 79-year history, no man from Down Under has ever managed to win the Masters. That is despite the country’s most famous golfing son, Greg Norman, coming second on three occasions. The Great White Shark was runner-up in 1986, 1987 and 1996, surrendering a six-shot final lead on the latter occasion. In one of the most famous collapses in Masters’ history, Norman ended the day five behind England’s Nick Faldo after a closing round of 78. All three players sit at six-under-par, one-shot behind leaders Angel Cabrera and Brandt Snedeker.
Age is just a number at The Masters
At the ripe old age of 43, Argentinian Angel Cabrera – ranked 269th in the world – is tied for the lead at seven-under par heading into the final round. If the 2009 winner is victorious he would become the second-lowest ranked ever to win a major, behind only Ben Curtis, who was ranked 396th when he won the Open in 2003. Augusta is renowned as one of the most challenging courses in golf and Cabrera is proving experience and a cool head are far more important than form if you want to tame it. Jack Nicklaus proved it can be done when he became the oldest player ever to win the Masters in 1986, securing his sixth major at Augusta at the age of 46. American Fred Couples – Masters winner in 1992 – is another elder statesman in the hunt and the 53-year-old would break Nicklaus’ record if he can win.
Augusta officials thankful for Rule 33-7
Tiger Woods was at the centre of a storm following his second round after admitting to illegally dropping his ball on the 15th hole. The world number one earned a two-shot penalty after dropping his ball two yards behind the spot of his original shot – which cannoned off the pin into the water in front of the green. There was confusion among experts with many predicting Woods would be disqualified for handing in an incorrect scorecard. This would have been a disaster for all-concerned. Love him or hate him, Woods is by far the most compelling golfer at any tournament he competes in and his disqualification would have been a black mark on the tournament. Luckily for the officials, rule 33-7 saved the day. This rule states players who learn of a violation after they sign their cards can be penalised without being disqualified. This enabled Augusta officials to issue a two-shot penalty to Woods instead of a mandatory disqualification.