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Come on Mcllroy, everybody is pulling for you

I'm not a golfer.

I guess I never had the patience or the dedication to really take up the game seriously.

Outside a few trips to the driving range and a couple rounds of bad golf on par-3 pitch and putt courses, my own experiences on the links are non existent.

A few years back, I even gave my clubs away to my nephew, Justin. He still has to grow into them, but hey, that's better than seeing them get caked with dust.

With that said, I must admit, I enjoy watching the pros do their thing, especially in the Majors.

I still remember sitting glued to the television set way back in 1986 when the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus won the Masters at the age of 46. What an incredible Sunday that was as he defined all odds and won his sixth green jacket, shooting an amazing 65 on the final day.

Back then, 46 seemed ancient. Now that I am 46, it seems so young.

These days I start out each tournament hoping Phil Mickelson can find some winning magic.

Until the left-handed golfer finally won the Masters in 2004, I thought he might be the best golfer to never win a major. Now, the monkey is off his back with three green jackets and one PGA title.

I pull for him because he's a nice guy, and when he's on top of his game, he's one of the best in the business.

Although I admire the way Tiger Woods plays the game, he has alienated his fans with his off the course antics. Add injuries to all the other problems, and I'm not sure he will ever recapture the glory that made him the world's best.

Woods is sitting out this week's U.S. Open, and I'm not sure he's missed.

That's because golf's has a new star emerging this week in the U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club.

Rory Mcllroy has turned in two-rounds of unbelievable golf. The Irish-born golfer will go into the weekend with a huge lead after shooting an 11-under par after two days and 36 holes of work.

It's hard not to draw comparison to Wood's 2000 U.S. Open performance when he won by an eye-popping 15-stroke margin at Pebble Beach.

When all is said and done, it could be that type of weekend for Mcllroy.

The 22-year-old's second round included an eagle on the par 4 eighth hole Friday afternoon.

The question now becomes how will the young man handle playing the next two days with the lead knowing he is on the verge of doing some huge--capturing his first major ?

Those of us who want to see him win are cautiously optimistic.

After all, Mcllroy has taken us down this road before just a few short months ago when he led the Master on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, only to implode on Sunday after firing an 80.

At the end of the day, he had gone from sitting on the top of the golf mountain to a 15th-place finish.

Let's hope that was only a hiccup in what is sure to be an amazing career because right now there are plenty of skeptics out there waiting on him to crash and burn again this Sunday.

He ended Friday's second round with a double-bogey, his first non par or birdie this week, but if he stays focused and plays his game, there's no reason to believe this will be another lesson in self-distruction.`

Television interviews showed a relaxed, but focused Mcllroy after Friday's round. Mcllory is just 22, but it's easy to see he has learned from his Sunday collapse at Augusta National just a short two months ago.

Congressional Country Club can be unkind to its golfers, even the world's best. That's why it is hosting the U.S. Open this week. U.S. Open courses aren't supposed to be easy, but when all is said and done, Mcllory will take his place on golf's center stage.

I predict their won't be a collapse this time around as the he becomes the world's most popular golfer.

One thing is for sure, the entire golf world will be watching.

I know I will, especially on Sunday, and I don't even play the game.

(Doug Gorman is sports editor of the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at dgorman@news-daily.com)