McIlroy waits out deluge, races sunset at PGA
An official waits on a rain-soaked ninth green during a weather-delayed final round of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on August 10, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky - by Andy Lyons
Three weeks after winning the British Open at Hoylake, the 25-year-old from Northern Ireland who leads Austrian Bernd Wiesberger by one stroke was set to race darkness in the last pairing in hopes of avoiding a Monday finish.
Heavy rains left the course unplayable, flooding the water-logged 7,548-yard layout that has absorbed 2.2 inches of rain over three days.
Groundskeepers cleared the course after an afternoon delay of one hour and 51 minutes, with officials trimming the tee time gaps by a minute for the last 12 duos in a bid to finish by nightfall.
"There's not much you can do about it," McIlroy told Sky Sports. "We just have to wait it out until we get the chance to go out and play."
Rivers of rainwater rolled down several fairways and the 18th green quickly became an island as hole flags became surrounded by lakes at several spots on the course.
"The course took a real soaking and it doesn't take much to flood the greens and fairways," McIlroy said. "Hopefully it will dry up and we get the chance to get out there and play some golf."
Rivers of rainwater rolled down several fairways and the 18th green quickly became an island, the 7,548-yard layout growing more swamped by the minute, hole flags surrounded by lakes at several spots on the saturated course.
Only eight players had managed to complete their final rounds when the storm struck.
Wet conditions had made the course receptive, helping produce a record-low average of 69.57 strokes Saturday.
McIlroy will try to complete a hat-trick of victories after winning the British Open three weeks ago and a World Golf Championships event last week.
"I'm feeling confident," McIlroy said. "It helps having been in this position recently at the British Open. Maybe some of the other guys on the leaderboard haven't."
Only two major winners, five-time major champion Phil Mickelson and 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen, were within five shots of McIlroy.
If he wins, the 25-year-old Northern Irishman would become the fourth youngest man to win his fourth major, trailing only Young Tom Morris, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.
McIlroy, whose other major wins came at the 2012 PGA Championship and 2011 US Open, would be the first man to win two majors in a row or in the same year since Ireland's Padraig Harrington took the British Open and PGA in 2008.
Only Woods and Mickelson have won a major title after claiming a victory the week before.
McIlroy would join Harrington, Woods, Walter Hagen and Nick Price as the only men to win the British Open and PGA in the same season.
Any European winner would make this the first year in which Europeans have won three of the four majors, a good omen for the trophy holders entering next month's Ryder Cup matches with the United States at Gleneagles, Scotland.