What a day for the No. 2 golfer in the world, Rory McIlroy. He came into Saturday at the Augusta National thinking "championship" but left thinking what could have been.
Fort the second time this week, McIlroy started off his round with a double bogey on the first hole. Although he was able to bounce back on Thursday, there was no bouncing back on Saturday, as bogeys started to pile up from there on out and his entire game began to dismantle itself.
He finished with a three-over par 77 and just about placed himself out of contention heading into Sunday at Augusta National.
It was hard to blame McIlroy's round on just one aspect of his game. Putting and greens in regulation were equally terrible, and it seemed like his overall morale was falling with every missed putt and every mishit shot from the fairway.
McIlroy will start Sunday's final round at Augusta 10 strokes behind the leader Peter Hanson, after entering the third round just one stroke behind the leaders.
The Driver: D-
Only his playing partner Sergio Garcia had a worse driving day than McIlroy. Garcia hit just five fairways all day, as compared to McIlroy hitting seven out of 14 fairways on Saturday.
There just seemed to be no tempo to McIlroy's swing today. It seemed to have a lot to do with his difficulty on that first hole this entire week. After a terrible double-bogey start there, it was hard for him to rebound as fast as others were climbing the leader-boards on Saturday.
He also seemed to be unhappy with his mechanics, especially off the tee on Saturday. His driver was a clear reason as to why he has been in contention in so many majors up to this point, and it was simply not there on Saturday.
Iron Game: D
There were not too many golfers worse from the fairway than McIlroy. He hit just eight greens in regulation on Saturday, which put him at a total of 44% the entire day. Only Stewart Cink and Trevor Immelman had worse days getting the ball on the green than McIlroy.
In this aspect of the game, it seemed to be a confidence issue where he may have been simply over-thinking shots rather than playing with the carefree attitude we all know he has had when on the course.
Again, it seemed that after he had racked up the front-nine 42, and even during it, all the confidence he had came in with had gone out the door. Once that happened, his entire game seemed to fall apart, and his play from the fairway was the main culprit of it.
The Putter: F
It is not often you will see McIlroy three-putt a golf hole in such a scenario as moving day at The Masters, but he did just that on Saturday. In fact, he did it three times, which only added to the growing frustration of his inability to get the ball off the tee safely or position himself on the green where he could make birdie.
The frustration started off the tee, continued in the fairway and ultimately remained on the putting surface, as McIlroy made three sixes on the front nine on Saturday.
One bright spot was the end of the round, in which McIlroy birdied three of his final seven holes almost laughing at the fact in the post-round interview that he had played so well when it did not matter anymore.
McIlroy averaged 1.72 putts per hole on Saturday, as compared to 1.6 through the first two rounds of The Masters.
It was one of the worst rounds we have seen McIlroy play in some time. Although he did finish up nicely with those three birdies in his final seven holes, the damage was already done in the form of a five-over par 77 and 10 strokes behind the leader entering the final round at Augusta.
Not one aspect of his game seemed to be cooperating for him today, and it struggles seemed to multiply from yet another terrible start to the round. He double-bogeyed the first hole in two of the three round this week.
His morale seemed to be down from there, and he was not able to regroup and get back into contention on Saturday in what was an extremely disappointing day for the 22-year-old.