The countdown is on for the coronation of Rory McIlroy. NBC goes on the air at 1:30 PM Eastern but McIlroy won't tee off until 3:20 PM. There is rain in the forecast but hopefully it stays away.
I didn't get to watch his round live yesterday but caught up late night courtesy of the DVR. There is no way McIlroy blows this. This is not the same situation as the Masters. Yes, he had a four shot lead going into the final round there but that lead was gone by the time he was on the 2nd hole because Charl Schwartzel was shooting lights out. The lead is just too big here. He showed yesterday (I believe it was the 3rd hoel) that he would play it safe when need be when he just chipped out to the fairway.
There is already talk of him being the one to potentially chase down Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors. Padraig Harrington mentioned it this week too and McIlroy was asked about it yesterday. McIlroy's response?
"Oh, Paddy, Paddy, Paddy,I'm still looking for my first one. That's all I can say. I'm looking for my first one. I've put myself in a great position to do that (Sunday), and then we'll see what happens from there."
He said all the right things including but if there is a guy on the tour today who will chase down the record (or come close) it will be McIlroy. Yes, everyone talks about him shooting 80 but lets not forget that coming into this US Open he had played in eight majors and already had three 3rd place finishes. In those eight majors he has four top 10 finishes and 6 top 20. Keep in mind that he is just 22.
I absolutely loved the "Lets go Rory" chants yesterday. To me his is the anti-Tiger which is one of the biggest reasons so many (including me) have become big fans in such a short time span. The way he handled his letdown at The Masters can only be described as classy. Even in the aftermath of the disaster at Augusta I thought he would return to greatness. He is great with the media and even better with the fans. By the way make sure you follow Rory McIlroy on Twitter.
I know we've been here before. Sergio Garcia was hyped up as a potential Tiger rival (and the thought wasn't crazy at the time) but I don't think Garcia ever had the mental makeup for it which is a shame because I absolutely loved watching him play.
By the way, Oakley which sponsors (and dresses) McIlroy is busy selling shirts that he is wearing here at the US Open although like pretty much everything else they are available for cheaper on Amazon.