Although the weatherman said there was a 30 percent chance, there was no precipitation this afternoon.
But the reign continued.
Raymond Floyd shot a two-under-par 68 today to improve to 10-under 200 after three rounds of this 64th PGA Championship. Floyd had a five-shot lead over Australian playing partner Greg Norman (70-205) and Jay Haas (68-205).
"I should have a 10- or 11-shot lead instead of a five-shot lead. I missed a lot of makable birdies today," said Floyd, wearing a towel around his neck after placing a noose around the necks of 73 other golfers.
Throughout this tense day on the tough Southern Hills Country Club course he was Cool Ray. He got birdies on holes 3, 8, 9, 12 and 16. On No. 8, a 215-yard par-3, he hit a two-iron shot 40 feet from the pin. "The worst shot of the day," recalled Floyd. He sank the putt for birdie. It was that kind of day.
His 200 set a 54-hole PGA Championship mark, breaking the record of 202 set by Floyd himself in his 1969 victory and tied by Larry Nelson in 1981.
Considering the manner in which he is playing after rounds of 63, 69 and 68, and considering the manner in which he usually cements himself into a lead once he gets it, it seems likely that if Floyd doesn't strike Oklahoma oil on the 72nd hole Sunday, then at least he'll unearth a $65,000 treasure chest.
"I'm a good player from in front because I don't go out and play just for par," he said. "I'm not going to change that tomorrow."
While Floyd was consistent, the rest of the field was convicted. After two straight days of having its pride and par cut up, Southern Hills struck back today.
Bob Gilder was the prime example. He began the third round in second place, six under par and just two shots back. He shot 72. It was not your standard 72. Gilder hacked out a round of four bogeys, four birdies and a double bogey.
Floyd said, "The key to succeeding here is getting through the first four holes." Gilder proved that. In reverse.
His bogey-bogey-double bogey start had his caddy muttering to the gallery on the fourth fairway, "I can't believe he's doing this to me again."
Jim Simons was prime example No. 2. He began the round tied for third with Norman at five under, three shots back. Simons found the back nine booby-trapped. He lost four shots to par there and finished at 73-208.
Calvin Peete shot 68, to be at 207, but hurt his knee when he slipped on the 16th fairway.
Masters winner Craig Stadler (70-211), British and U.S. Open winner Tom Watson (71-212) and perpetual winner Jack Nicklaus (72-216) are suffocating back in the pack at one over par, two over and six over.
Watson came to Southern Hills hoping to tie Ben Hogan's 1953 record by winning three majors in the same year. Aware that he is 12 shots back with only 18 holes to play, the optimum-optimist Watson admitted, "It would take a miracle round tomorrow."
It also would take a fatally flawed flailing by Floyd. It doesn't seem likely.
"I haven't mis-hit more than four or five shots in 54 holes," he said. "It's tough to say anyone has done any better than that in a major tournament.
"I'm at my peak now. A golfer's best years are from 35 to 45. You can look it up."
Norman said of his playing partner, "Raymond played fantastic today. Tomorrow, I'll have to be more aggressive, especially with the putts, if I'm going to catch him at all."
Countered Floyd, "People don't remember who finished second in a tournament."
Only 11 players broke par today. The pin positions were difficult. The rough is no misnomer. Feeling the frustrations, Jim Thorpe (73-216) said, "With the heat, the rough like it is and the putts not going right, most of us players just want to get out of town."
Floyd, of course, views things differently. As the weatherman's rain finally fell on Tulsa early this evening, he looked out of the interview room, gulped his Gatorade and said, "This has been a pleasant day."