PGA Championship 2012 Leaderboard: Rory McIlroy's Progress Should Terrify Field
Rory McIlroy was so overrated that he's become underrated.
Will McIlroy blow up in 2013?
The 23-year old Northern Irish golfer sits atop the 2012 PGA Championship leaderboard with a comfortable three-stroke lead.
McIlroy’s performance has been one of dominance. In Round 3, he recorded seven birdies while the always-favored Tiger Woods slipped out of striking distance.
McIlroy was simply compared to Woods too early. When fans were quick to say, "He's the next Tiger!” after his victory in the 2011 U.S. Open, he never lived up the expectations. Because of that, McIlroy earned his share of critics.
Analysts should stop labeling McIlroy as a superstar or failure after each performance. At his age, he isn't a finished product yet. And as he's shown this weekend, when he does fully develop, he'll be a force on the golf course.
While he's blown multiple leads in major tournaments, he's used his past collapses as learning experiences. According to Jonathan Wall of Yahoo! Sports, McIlroy discussed how he's approached the first three days of the event:
"I haven't played aggressive so far," McIlroy said. "I've went for a few pins when I feel like I'm comfortable, but I played away from a few pins on the back nine this morning because the risk is just not worth it."
McIlroy will have the option to play it safe all he wants if he continues to perform at such a high level. Through six holes on Aug. 12, he's two over par and in no sign of danger. If he does run into trouble on the back nine, though, he'll once again know how to close this time around.
McIlroy said this of his past performances (via Yahoo! Sports):
"I learned a lot from the Masters last year," McIlroy said, "and that's definitely something that I can think back to and draw on some of those memories, and some of the feeling I had at Congressional, as well, just to go right -- because you obviously know, you realize you might not feel the same or your anxiety level is a little bit higher, and at least being in that position before, I'll know what to do again."
If McIlroy does indeed close strong, expect big things in 2013. Ending a major drought that lasted more than a year would definitely be a monkey off the back for "the next Tiger."
Here's the current top 10 leaderboard (via ESPN):
|T4||Adam Scott ||-3|
|T8||Bo Van Pelt ||-3|
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.
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