News & ToursApril 9, 2011

McIlroy's lead: Hold off on the coronation

A coronation would seem a formality, given the four strokes that separate Masters leader Rory McIlroy from his closest pursuers. But before measuring him for a green jacket, some historical perspective is in order.

Rory McIlroy.jpg

On seven occasions, those trailing by four or more entering the final round of the Masters have rallied to win, most notable among them Nick Faldo in 1996. Leader Greg Norman was up six on Faldo entering the final round and lost by five.

**The largest come-from-behind victory belonged to Jack Burke Jr. in the 1956 Masters, who overcame an eight-stroke deficit to leader Ken Venturi (still an amateur, incidentally).

Gary Player began the final round of the 1978 Masters trailing leader Hubert Green by seven strokes, birdied seven of his final 10 holes, shot 64 and won by one.

Then there was Jack Nicklaus, who was four strokes in arrears of Greg Norman to begin the final round of the Masters in 1986 and...well, the rest is history.

The others: Art Wall in 1959 and Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 both overcame six-stroke deficits to win the Masters and Jimmy Demaret overcome a four-stroke deficit to win in 1950.

Obviously, the odds still favor McIlroy, but this is a reminder that in major championships there are no gimmes.

-- John Strege

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