PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida – Check if this sounds familiar: Rory McIlroy enters the last leg of a PGA Tour event with a chance to win. Now, can he do it? If that's the case, he'll have to go through Jon Rahm – a nice, kinder man, Jon Rahm. Tommy Fleetwood, Jason Day and Dustin Johnson are all within everyone's reach. With a difficult day on a Sunday possible, things could become very interesting at The Players at TPC-Sawgrass.
McIlroy would definitely like to answer questions about his ability to close tournaments. The 14-time winner of the PGA Tour has started the final round first or second eight times since the start of the 2016 season. He has not won any of these tournaments, has not finished second only once and found himself fifth or worse five times.
At least McIlroy avoided playing in the last group on Sunday, which could actually be a good thing for him. He has not won in the previous nine tournaments in which he started during the last match of the last round, dating back to the start of the 2018 season, including one in Dubai and one in Europe.
McIlroy is looking for his first win since shooting last round 64 to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March 2018 – almost a year ago today.
"In a good position, it's not the best position I could be in," said McIlroy after shooting two players under 70 for a total of 14 of 54 holes.
In order for McIlroy to end his drought, he will need a faster start and a better performance on the normal 5 than last Saturday. He beat numbers 1 and 2 and played all four holes in the 5-par category, after losing 6 points under par to 5 in the first 36 holes.
"This is definitely an area I need to focus on and try to make the most of these holes [Sunday], "McIlroy said about par-5s." It becomes difficult, certainly with the way the conditions could be. You must take advantage of easier holes. "
A quieter Jon Rahm?
Jon Rahm's behavior could be the key to winning the players. Gregory Shamus / Getty Images
If what happened to Jon Rahm in the sixth hole of the third round of The Players Saturday had arrived a year ago, he probably would not have recovered.
Rahm's second 99-yard shot hit one foot of the hole … but bounced off the green. He faced a tough back-and-forth and two hard knocks for his only boguey.
Rahm was cleared, finished front nine in two in a row, then scored four birdies and an eagle in the back for a match under 64, leaving him a total of 54 holes of 15 under and a lead of one stroke for Sunday. .
"About eight months ago, maybe not so long ago, I would not have finished 8 under [for the day], "Said Rahm. I think I would have lost patience. … even the bogey on No. 6 did not affect me so much. I think most of me allowed to shoot as low as [Saturday] and shoot every day this week. "
The Spanish, aged 24, has already won two wins on the PGA Tour and three times in Europe, but admits that he had grown up last season.
"I have said it many times: last year was a year of personal growth rather than golf," Rahm said. "We have been at this stage for many years, and it is hard to do when you play very competitive golf."
Rahm will bring renewed confidence and patience – and a one-shot lead over Tommy Fleetwood and McIlroy – in the final round of the PGA Tour's "fifth major."
Eight other players, including Jason Day (12) and Dustin Johnson (10), are within five kicks.
"Well, that's Rory McIlroy," Rahm said. "I mean, he was world No. 1 at the age of 22, and he's been a four-time major champion, so he knows how to do the job, he has not done it since Arnold Palmer." # 39; s last year So I know he's going to want to do it, especially the players' championship, an event where you have to play really well.
"So I know that he's going to get out guns, and we all know what Rory is capable of."
When key players take the path
Important departure times for the final round
PlayersHoures de départ (All hours ET) Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen8: 04hFrancesco Molinari, Scott Piercy9: 07hTiger Woods, Matthew Fitzpatrick9: 45hDustin Johnson, Bubba Watson10: 05hPatrick Reed, Adam Scott: 3pmDustin Johnson, Brian Harman12h: 55hBrandt Snedeker, Keegan Bradley1h : 17hRory McIlroy, Jason Day 1:25 pm: Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood1h35
Tiger Woods discusses the conversation he had on Friday night after receiving a patent for a quadruple bogey.
And then the rains arrived …
In addition to the drizzle and changing winds, players have virtually avoided the bad weather of Saturday. However, this could change Sunday, with forecasts of 80% probability of rain and north to northeast winds at 10 to 20 miles at the hour.
With cooler temperatures, rain and high winds, the ball does not seem to fly that far.
"Stay patient," Rahm said. "We hope the weather will be better – I know someone will come out and publish a score like it's been doing for a few years."
Hey, where are they from?
Two golfers who struggled after big changes clashed in Saturday's round.
Brandt Snedeker and Ollie Schniederjans both shot 7 under 65 for a tie for sixth place and a nice shot at the end of the match on Sunday.
The round of Schniederjans could have been very surprising. The 29-year-old Georgia Tech star had missed seven cups without placing in the top 25 in her 13 previous starts this season.
At the start of the 2018 season, he was seventh at the Sony Open in Hawaii and third at the Phoenix Open. Then things collapsed, however, and he has not had a top 25 since.
"I had put bandages on things for a while to pass and keep my card," said Schniederjans. "I only touched the game a little bit for a while, and then I just did some slicing for a while, I just had a lot of experience.
"I play now with many of the best players in the world and have watched their game, the risks they take and the level at which they must be, the control that they must have with their pilot and their irons, and the ability to shape the shots and hit them up and down … I saw that I was nowhere near the control of my game that they are. "
After trying to change things by himself without much success, Schniederjans turned to well-known swing coach Butch Harmon in December.
"It's a huge change, but I'm planning more with everything I do with my golf game," he said. "I've changed my setup, my workout at the gym, the way my body moves, how my lower body moves, how I use my hands, a lot of stuff."
Snedeker left Harmon for John Tillery two years ago. He is back with his long-time coach, Tim Anderson. He has not been in the top 10 since his second place at the Safeway Open in October and finished 50th or worse or missed the cup in each of his last four tournaments.
"[Anderson] I said when we saw each other for the first time, he said, "Listen, it will not be as difficult as you thought, but rather bring you back to where you feel you can play good golf again, "said Snedeker. a different mentality of trying to use my body to swing the golf club instead of using my hands to swing the golf club. "