In contrast, Spieth faces a longer 12-month wait till Bellerive in suburban St. Louis if he is to join golf’s most exclusive club after a dismal PGA Championship showing.
Spieth arrived in suburban Charlotte seeking to get the Grand Slam jump on both McIlroy and Phil Mickelson but the Texan has hardly managed to get out of second gear with scores of 72, 73 and a third round 71 for a three-over par.
McIlroy had joked a week ago in Ohio he’d prefer Spieth did not win the PGA and thus leaving the door open next April in what will be ‘Take Four’ his Grand Slam goal.
Spieth was three-over for his third round through seven holes but pulled two shots back with birdies at eight and nine.
The Open Champion then birdied three in succession from the 14th, including draining a 23-footer at the par four 16th, but then made a complete mess of the uphill last in finding with his second shot the stream that runs down the left side of the fairway.
The World No. 3 walked off with a double bogey ‘6’ for an even par 71.
“I went out there today trying to win the tournament, trying to play aggressive see how many birdies we could make”, he said.
“So, not to have a chance to win, and any week you don’t have a chance to win, you’ve fallen short of where you would like to be.
“Disappointing would have been going home after two days. I think I saw some highlights today.
“Like Michael (Greller – caddy) was saying, we could break the season into quarters.
“This is the start of the fourth quarter. I was U.S. Open Sunday, I was out of it, but I gathered a little something off that Sunday round that led to two wins and two tournaments after that including a major.
“Now just one round like that can do that and that’s what I’m looking to do here tomorrow”.
And at more than 10 shots off the lead, Spieth would look to have no chance of eclipsing Scotland’s Paul Lawrie who holds the record for the biggest final round comeback in the history of the Majors storming through from 10 shots back and win the 1999 Open in a play-off at Carnoustie.
McIlroy has performed just as poorly as Spieth with a pair of 72s and a third round mix of three birdies but also five bogeys in a continuing disappointing 73 for a four-over tally.
The World No. 4 was two-over for his round after five holes before the first of just three birdies in his round when McIlroy holed a five-footer at the seventh.
McIlroy then bogeyed 10 for a second day running as well as dropping a further shot at 11 ahead of his shot of the round in landing his tee shot at the par three, 13th to just three-feet for birdie.
He then got back to three-over in birding the 15th for a second straight occasion but only for McIlroy to take three shots to get down from the left edge of the green at the par three, 17th for the fifth bogey of his round.
“They’ve made this golf course so much tougher than we usually see it on the regular tour,” said McIlroy.
“I couldn’t get the ball to the front of the green (from thick rough). Right now you’re just grinding for pars.
“Right now the greens are firm and it’s hard to get to some of these pin positions and that’s why it’s hard to make birdies out there.
“So, the goal now is I want to sign off on a positive note. It hasn’t been the week I wanted to. If I can finish in the red tomorrow, that could be a top10.
“That’s a hollow victory in some sense but at least I would sign off on a positive note.”
Source : EXPRESS