If you’re starting to feel like you’re hearing a broken record, there’s a good reason for it. No, it’s not those constant “Hall of Fame” commercials featuring Rory McIlroy selling Omega watches, although that’s close. It’s the fact that, once again, McIlroy finds himself in control at a major, as he holds the lead heading into Sunday’s PGA Championship finale.
However, it likely won’t be easy. Unlike his virtual victory march from the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, this time he’ll essentially be facing a firing squad. Rickie Fowler, runner-up in the last two majors and on a resurgent tear lately, is just two shots back. Phil Mickelson and Jason Day have struggled lately, but both seem to have regained their form just another stroke behind him.
That’s not to even mention guys like Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott and Jim Furyk who are all within striking distance should McIlroy give them just the slightest opening. The PGA Championship is known for coming down to the wire, and this year’s edition is setting up to have one of the best finishes in recent memory.
In fact, one of the few players without at least some recognition who has a shot is the one Rory will spend the day with on Sunday, Bernd Wiesberger. The 28-year-old Austrian pro is a two-time European Tour winner who, ranked 70th in the world, only ventures Stateside for World Golf Championships events and majors. What an image that would be if he could overcome the McIlroy Express on Sunday afternoon.
It’s not exactly going out on a limb to acknowledge that McIlroy is still the favorite, and I still believe he’ll finish the job and bring home the Wanamaker Trophy. However, he’ll have to continue his nearly flawless form to get it done, especially with a guy like Fowler showing so few weaknesses. If he slips for just a hole, this leaderboard is going to get a lot more crowded at the top. That can only mean one of the most exciting finishes of the year.