AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Rory McIlroy said the other day that the Masters is his favorite tournament of the year, a high compliment that the tournament does not seem to be returning. It seems to be an annual ordeal, marked Saturday by a 42 on the back nine.
"It's disappointing, especially after such a good start," he said after finishing with a 7-over-par 79 that left him at 5 over for the week. "I was only a few off the lead going into the seventh hole today and all of a sudden, I play 7 through 11 in 5 over par and basically my chances in the tournament are gone.
"I feel like I was playing well, and it's just a frustrating day here."
McIlroy was leading the Masters in 2011 before a back nine Sunday meltdown left him with an 80. He was third halfway through last year's Masters, then shot 9 over on the weekend. "I feel like my strategy is right," he said. "It's just sometimes, if your execution is just that little bit off, you pay a big price for it."
Smoking light is on
Angel Cabrera, the co-leader, was asked during his news conference about having cut down on his chain smoking. Before he answered, he reached into a pocket and pulled out a cigarette. He said, "I don't smoke any more on the course."
Scott on all cylinders
Some golf fans, and other sympathetic people, will likely be pulling for Adam Scott in the final round Sunday. Scott never has won a major, tied for second here two years ago and had the British Open all but wrapped up last summer before faltering down the stretch and losing to Ernie Els.
"I don't really think I need to do too much different," said the Australian, 32, who is one shot behind Cabrera and Brandt Snedeker. "Everything I'm doing seems to be getting me there right at the end. You know, if I'm in the same position I was in at the Open last year tomorrow, then I'm obviously playing an incredible round and I'll just be trying to finish the job."