A jam-packed list of golfers near Rory McIlroy's lead means that the final two days of the 2014 PGA Championship should be some of the year's best golf.
Only two rounds of the final major of the year remain, and dozens of notable names are well within contention to get into the final pairing on Sunday. Moving day often brings serious change across the leaderboard, and Saturday figures to be no different.
Tiger Woods is heading home after missing the cut, but he's one of just a few stars who failed to make the cut at Valhalla Golf Club. Other than that, most of the top names are sticking around for the weekend.
Here's a look at Saturday's tee times, pairings and a few predictions.
|8:30 a.m.||Brendon Todd||Graeme McDowell|
|8:40 a.m.||Chris Stroud||Hideki Matsuyama|
|8:50 a.m.||Shawn Stefani||Branden Grace|
|9 a.m.||Marc Warren||Pat Perez|
|9:10 a.m.||Justin Rose||Marc Leishman|
|9:20 a.m.||Colin Montgomerie||Brooks Koepka|
|9:30 a.m.||Jason Bohn||Koumei Oda|
|9:40 a.m.||Zach Johnson||Daniel Summerhays|
|9:50 a.m.||Luke Donald||Francesco Molinari|
|10 a.m.||Bubba Watson||Thorbjorn Olesen|
|10:10 a.m.||Shane Lowry||Sergio Garcia|
|10:20 a.m.||Kevin Stadler||Brendan Steele|
|10:30 a.m.||Ian Poulter||Brandt Snedeker|
|10:50 a.m.||Patrick Reed||Freddie Jacobson|
|11 a.m.||Hunter Mahan||Jerry Kelly|
|11:10 a.m.||Kenny Perry||Ryan Moore|
|11:20 a.m.||Danny Willett||Gonzalo Fdez-Castano|
|11:30 a.m.||Jonas Blixt||Fabrizio Zanotti|
|11:40 a.m.||Rafael Cabrera-Bello||Scott Brown|
|11:50 a.m.||Brian Harman||Charl Schwartzel|
|Noon||Adam Scott||Jimmy Walker|
|12:20 p.m.||Ernie Els||Brendon de Jonge|
|12:30 p.m.||Geoff Ogilvy||Robert Karlsson|
|12:40 p.m.||Cameron Tringale||J.B. Holmes|
|12:50 p.m.||Edoardo Molinari||Alexander Levy|
|1 p.m.||Kevin Chappell||Jamie Donaldson|
|1:10 p.m.||Chris Wood||Billy Horschel|
|1:20 p.m.||Matt Jones||Richard Sterne|
|1:30 p.m.||Bill Haas||Vijay Singh|
|1:50 p.m.||Louis Oosthuizen||Nick Watney|
|2 p.m.||Victor Dubuisson||Lee Westwood|
|2:10 p.m.||Henrik Stenson||Joost Luiten|
|2:20 p.m.||Graham DeLaet||Steve Stricker|
|2:30 p.m.||Phil Mickelson||Bernd Wiesberger|
|2:40 p.m.||Rickie Fowler||Mikko Ilonen|
|2:50 p.m.||Jim Furyk||Ryan Palmer|
|3 p.m.||Rory McIlroy||Jason Day|
Note: Tee times courtesy of PGATour.com
Rory McIlroy Holds On Firmly to Lead
Before 2014, consistency was one thing that Rory McIlroy's game significantly lacked. His form fluctuated from unstoppable to invisible, and any mid-60s round meant one pushing the 80s wasn't far away.
With this year's final major drawing to a close, the thought of McIlroy being that inconsistent is quite laughable now that he's tearing into his third straight tournament and second major in three weeks.
McIlroy followed his opening-round 66 up with a 67 on Friday, continuing to rattle off birdies with impressive pace and further proving that he's taking over the sport.
Here's him hitting an eagle on No. 18 to take the outright lead entering Saturday:
At his current pace, as shown by The Advocate Messenger's Larry Vaught, McIlroy is on the verge of smashing every record in the book:
How good is @McIlroyRory? He’s 41-under par in his last 10 competitive rounds of 2014, including 9-under after 2 rounds at Valhalla— Vaughts' Views (@vaughtsviews) August 8, 2014
McIlroy's second major of the year will come much harder than the first, when he held a massive lead at the British Open. He only boasts a one-stroke lead with dozens of the world's best golfers well within reach.
But at this point, he's so dialed in and confident that an average round for him on Saturday should—at the least—keep him with a share of the lead.
And one thing is certain: McIlroy isn't playing anywhere near average at the moment.
Rickie Fowler Set for Sunday Final Pairing
It's only fitting that Rickie Fowler will be the guy teeing off with McIlroy in the final pairing Sunday.
Unconventional in his style but skilled on the course, Fowler has really come on this year, with top-five finishes in each of the first three majors. That's right—top-five finishes in the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open, back to back to back.
He's unsurprisingly in position to finish high again after following up his opening round of 69 with a 66 on Friday to enter the weekend in a tie for fourth—just two shots off McIlroy's lead.
USA Today's Steve DiMeglio said what anyone who watched the year's first three majors was thinking:
At this point in the season, it's about who is playing with confidence and consistency. Fowler may not be able to match McIlroy's skill, but he's not lacking in belief.
Playing the best golf of his career, there is no putt Fowler doesn't think he can hit and no fairway he can't lay one right down the middle of. Unlike most of the field, his score improved big time on Day 2 despite the poor conditions, and that bodes well as moving day looms.
Up-and-Down Phil Mickelson Will Stay Close
Those iconic Phil Mickelson smiles that he only shows off when making furious rallies made a rare appearance on Friday at Valhalla.
After an opening round of 69 to start under par, Mickelson struggled out of the gates Friday only to mount one of the dazzling rounds of the day. He bogeyed before birdieing, but four total birdies along with an eagle on the 18th put him just three shots shy of McIlroy's lead.
Rick Reilly was impressed with Mickelson's comeback:
Philhalla? Mickelson only 3 back w/ 36 to go. #PGAChampionship— Rick Reilly (@ReillyRick) August 8, 2014
The leaderboard is loaded with talent at the top, with names like Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Jim Furyk, Lee Westwood and many more threatening McIlroy's lead. But none have the experience in tense moments that Mickelson boasts.
2014 hasn't been a year to remember for Mickelson, but he always tends to bring out his best when nobody expects it. That was the case in last year's British Open, and he could be in for a repeat performance with two more big rounds.
It's becoming harder and harder to expect consistency from Mickelson, but two strong rounds so far at Valhalla should allow him to post another strong round on Saturday.