Rory McIlroy's meltdown robbed golf of the Sun Masters showdown it needed

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Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 6:17 AM

It was Star Wars-Episode one bad. The worst showdown since Batman v Superman. Spieth shot a mercurial seventy-three that featured two double-bogeys, bringing him back towards the pack.

Rory McIlroy's meltdown robbed golf of the Sun Masters showdown it needed

The nation'south attention was there for the taking.

Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, two of the best golfers in the world, were set to do battle on the sport'south most hallowed ground Saturday in -- if everything went right -- an enthralling prelude to an ultimate Sun showdown that'd have everyone with an athletic bone in their body tuning in to look who'd get residence the green jacket.

But instead of watching golf on Sun afternoon, we'll probably just waiting for the Warriors-Spurs game to start.

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There will be number Sun showdown -- the prelude turned out to be a dud. It was Star Wars-Episode one bad. The worst showdown since Batman v Superman.

Spieth shot a mercurial seventy-three that featured two double-bogeys, bringing him back towards the pack. But McIlroy wasn't there to get advantage of the slips -- he was slipping himself.

Slipping might be underselling it. The former world No.1 imploded Saturday, shooting an uneasy, birdie-free seventy-seven. The latest word that came to mind when watching it was "greatness."

The two youthful guns should've pushed each other. Instead, they compared self-inflicted wounds for eighteen holes.

Spieth will enter Sunday'south final circular with a one-shot lead, but he'll be playing in the final pairing with Smylie Kaufman, a Masters rookie who -- I kid you not -- was asked by CBS' Jim Nantz if he owned a car.

This isn't the duel golf needed. This isn't the ferocious pairing that the fans wanted.

The older fans of the game will discover some plot in 58-year-old Bernhard Langer, who's improbably two shots back of the lead after a minus-2 circular Saturday. But the Champions Tour Bavarian isn't a proper foe for Spieth. That'south not a fair fight.

Jason Day and Dustin Johnson could give Spieth a go -- they're three back heading into the final round -- but they won't be able to create the final-round drama that glues the casual fan to their TV set playing two groups ahead of Spieth and the 24-year-old who still lives with his parents.

Golf needed a bonafide rivalry to assistance it move out of Tiger Woods' shadow,and Saturday, a tremendous, couldn't-make-it-up opportunity for that rivalry to expand presented itself. But instead of a Sun at Augusta featuring two fierce, elite competitors going back-and-forth, battling it out love it was match play, we'll obtain Spieth against a course he can beat with conservative play.

The opportunity to create a contest that transcends the sport doesn't arrive around often, and Saturday it was unquestionably squandered. It'south a shame.

So instead of a must-see showdown, we'll have a second-rate Sun that'll in all likelihood have a first-rate winner parring his way to a title while, meanwhile, we all flip the channel.

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