What an ending to day three at Hoylake. Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia surged and Rory McIlroy was up to the task. He showed them the Heisman and (probably) slammed the door on major No. 3.
Here's everything that happened on day three at the British Open.
1. Rory's flat stick: Thru the first 13 holes it felt like Rory should have been about 3 over the way he was leaking oil off the tee and with his irons but his grip on the top was iron-clad.
It seemed like he made about 10 seven-footers for par (I know it was fewer than this) until his swing took over again at the end. And boy did it take over.
That's how you win majors -- if he can figure out how to plug the leaks with any consistency he's a threat to win multiple majors every season because his best stuff is better than everybody else's.
2. Rickie Fowler has the majors figured out: I thought his quote during the US Open about building his game around majors was a little much but it's clear he understands what he's doing.
Also, this seems like it's an impressive list that he'll likely find his name on (he's second alone right now):
Rickie Fowler looking to become the first player not named Tiger Woods to finish top-5 at three straight majors since 2008 (Phil).— Jamie Kennedy (@jamieonsport) July 19, 2014
Rickie Fowler seeking to become just the 5th player under-30 to finish in the top-5 at 3 straight majors (Snead, Nelson, Seve, Jack, Tiger).— Jamie Kennedy (@jamieonsport) July 19, 2014
3. Reranking the top five: Here's how the top five on the leaderboard looks according to the world golf rankings:
1: No. 8
2: No. 25
3: No. 9
4: No. 16
5: No. 23
That's Rory, Rickie Fowler, Sergio, Dustin Johnson, and Victor Dubuisson in order. It's a big-time leaderboard and it would be a big-time finish if it weren't for, you know, that Rory fella.
4. Poor Sergio thinks he's still in the mix: Look, I want Sergio Garcia to win as much as the next guy but this is a Rickie Fowler or Rory McIlroy tournament.
Or am I just trying to reverse jinx the Spaniard into a win because I want my pre-tournament pick to look brilliant?
We may never know. Also, this was not awesome:
5. Holy cow, this stat: Rory McIlroy as you might have heard made eagles in two of the last three holes. This stat makes what he did that much more insane.
Most amazing stat of Rory's final flourish: there was not a single other player who eagled either 16 or 18 all day.— Oliver Brown (@oliverbrown_tel) July 19, 2014
He's also 11 under on the par 5s which is the best by two strokes (Paul Casey) and by three over everybody else. Tiger played the par 5s at this course at 14 under in 2006 when he won.
Lastly, Nos. 16/18 have been played 760 times this week and there have been 10 eagles. Rory had two of them over the last 30 minutes of Saturday's round.
6. Nice Sergio: I give Sergio a hard enough time but he's been so fun all week. Hunting flagsticks, wearing crazy outfits, and handing out bro hugs like they're free candy.
Here are him and Rory celebrating their 11-point 2014 Ryder Cup win:
7. The weather: As this is a British Open I am contractually obligated to discuss the weather. Notably that it never came on Saturday.
I don't think you can bemoan the two-tee start based on what the weather does but it does sort of suck for a lot of golfers that Rory has gotten the best of the weather three days in a row:
Normally, Rory would be going off in an hour. If weather gets foul, wonder what those who got bad draw Thursday/Friday will think #TheOpen— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) July 19, 2014
Fowler, too, for that matter. Oh, and the rain did come:
And just now: Rain is just POUNDING Hoylake. Rory would be on about the 6th hole.— Doug Ferguson (@dougferguson405) July 19, 2014
8. Trouble for Tom: Tom Rinaldi noted that Rory won Kiawah by seven strokes. It was actually eight. I don't think Rory is too pleased with Mr. Rinaldi.
At least it wasn't this bad:
9. Rounds of the day: Your day one round of the day went to McIlroy (66), day two it was Dustin Johnson (65) and on Saturday it was Jordan Spieth and (all that's left of) Darren Clarke (67).
10. It's a bummer that Fowler fell apart: If you can call Fowler shooting a 68 "falling apart." He made three bogeys in his last five holes which is unfortunate because we had a real chance to have a Rory-Rickie duel for the ages on Sunday.
Instead, probably our third-straight Sunday snoozer at a major. Maybe that just means all the fireworks are being saved for Valhalla in August.