By Ann Liguori
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It has truly been an international affair here at the 75th Masters.
On the 50th anniversary of Gary Player being the first international player to win a Green Jacket, it is obvious that the talent in the game is truly global, indicative of the leaderboard heading into Sunday’s final round.
Rory McIlroy continues to carry the hopes of the Irish with his four shot lead. The next five guys represent Argentina, South Africa, Korea, Australia and England. (Angel Cabrera of Argentina, Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, KJ Choi of Korea and Jason Day of Australia, are all four shots back. Luke Donald of England and Adam Scott Australia are five shots behind.)
Bo Van Pelt is the highest American on the leader board in 8th place. Bubba Watson, Freddie Couples and Tiger Woods, are amongst a group tied for 9th.. At five under, they are 7 shots back. Phil Mickelson is 9 shots behind.
Tiger dominated for so many years and now that he is dealing with inconsistency in his game, the fields have certainly opened up as players from all over the world have displayed their skill and talents.
Will a non-American win this year’s Masters? For the first time in Masters history, there are no Americans in the top five after 54 holes.
If a non-American wins, it will complete an international ‘slam’ with Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland winning the 2010 US Open, Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa capturing the 2010 British Open and Martin Kaymer of Germany, the winner of the 2010 PGA Championship.
The Irish are hoping their 21-year-old sensation, Rory McIlroy, can maintain his relaxed demeanor and deal with the pressure that hits golfers like a brick as they play the back nine in the final round of The Masters.
McIlroy’s 4 shot lead is the biggest lead after 54 holes here since another 21-year-old at the time, Tiger Woods, led by nine, in 1997, in route to his 12 shot victory.
A European has not won the Masters since Jose Maria Olathabal in 1999.
McIlroy has what it takes – a terrific golf swing and most importantly, the mental strength to win. Let’s see if he can handle the pressure.