Can anybody catch Rory McIlroy?

IAN HUTCHINSON, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:23 PM ET

TORONTO - The thing that Rory McIlroy doesn’t understand about possibly winning the Masters at the age of 21 is that if you have to do it, you’re not supposed to do it so convincingly like say, Tiger Woods when he won it at the same age in 1997 by a dozen.

It’s just not done gentlemen. Bad form.

While McIlroy has occasionally looked human, he’s playing Augusta with full composure, allowing him to post a one-over on the 10th hole yesterday, then record three birdies the rest of the way to construct the impressive four-shot distance between him and Angel Cabrera, Charl Schwartzel, K.J. Choi and Jason Day.

Perhaps, being paired with Cabrera, the 2009 champ, Sunday might affect him somehow, but McIlroy’s performance and on-course demeanour thus far has indicated that he isn’t about to fade, so the rest of the field can just bring it if it wants the green jacket. If anyone’s likely to do that, who would you pick?

Personally, I can’t see it being any of the names we’ve been accustomed to on Sundays at the majors.

Phil Mickelson is nine shots back, while Woods returned to ordinary again on Saturday and sits seven back. Freddie Couples, much to everybody’s chagrin, is also seven back, apparently unable to win one for the ages.

Of the four who are runners-up, I’m getting a sneaking suspicion about Schwartzel, who has been hanging around all three rounds, but in my mind, Luke Donald, who sits five back, is the pick with a green jacket and the No. 1 ranking in the world on the line.

THE MOVERS ON MOVING DAY

Adam Scott shot a 67 to move into contention along with fellow Aussie Jason Day. Down under, they’re looking for a celebration similar to Canada’s when Mike Weir brought home this country’s first green jacket, but Scott says there is little pressure at home to win the Masters. “We are a strong sporting nation and we push our athletes hard. One day, it’s going to happen, but you know, I don’t think the guys here carry a burden. I think no one here is thinking there’s a voodoo on us from Australia.” … Bubba Watson said on Friday he would need at least a pair of 67s to be in contention and he completed the first part of that goal Saturday when he finished off with a birdie on 18 that was nice, according to Bubba, but won’t carry over into Sunday when it’s a whole different story. “I’d rather be five-under than four-under, but (Sunday), it’s all out the door. (Sunday) is just a brand new day. I might wake up sick, I might wake up perfect and play great, might play bad. The momentum is done after that (birdie). Just making the putt makes my dinner taste better”… Cabrera also had a 67 Saturday and says there is no point in thinking about Sunday strategy until you get to Augusta for the final round. “You’ve got to see how it evolves, how everybody is playing, how the weather is, and depending on that, then you start making decisions on what kind of strategy you’re going to use,” said Cabrera.… Sergio Garcia will be looking even more stonefaced than he has in the first three rounds, given his move yesterday. Garcia looked ready to take over the tournament when he carded three birdies on the front nine, but it was a tale of two Sergios after the turn, where he was six over, including four bogeys, with a double bogey on 11. Garcia plummeted from a tie for 12th at the beginning of the day into a tie for 30th. Yes, Lee Westwood, who was also either very good or very bad Saturday, is definitely the best player never to win a major over Garcia.

ANALYSIS OVER FLUFF PLEASE

Global must have been confused about which round it was going into Saturday because its set-up show largely consisted of features devoted to tours of the golf course, the city where its located and how players qualify for the Masters. It seemed more like the filler that’s used before action gets underway in the first round and, at least initially, seemed to ignore the star leaderboard going into the third round, although there were some quick mentions of Sergio Garcia charging at the time. At the midway point of the tournament, analysis is critical over fluff and it seemed as if Global was merely filling air time until network coverage began. To be fair, Global did bring in Steve Sands of the Golf Channel and golf writer Cam Cole to talk about a few storylines, but they need somebody like TSN’s Jim Nelford to provide analysis, a player’s perspective and some pizzazz that was missing with hosts Kevin Smith and Rob Leth. … By the way, can we quit with the claim that No. 12 at Augusta is the most famous par three in golf? Anybody ever hear of 17 Sawgrass? Such claims seem to change from week to week. … Two-time Masters champ Ben Crenshaw, 59, has hinted that he may have played his last competitive round at Augusta on Friday. His caddie, Carl Jackson, was celebrating his 50th year of looping at the Masters.


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