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    Things Get Serious For McIlroy and Day

    McIlroy and Day on No. 18
    Hunter Martin/Augusta National
    Rory McIlroy of N. Ireland and Jason Day of Australia shake hands at No. 18 at the conclusion of the third round of the 2011 Masters Tournament.
    Weekends are times of fun and frivolity for most people. But if you are on the leader board during the Masters Tournament, they are when you really get down to business.

    Rory McIlroy and Jason Day certainly understand that, and their round together Saturday in the final pairing had a much greater sense of seriousness about it than the ones they played the two days before with fellow wunderkind Rickie Fowler.

    "We were just out there having fun (on Thursday and Friday)," Australia's Day said. "Talking about random stuff. About Florida. Jumping on Sea-Doos. We had a good time."

    McIlroy concurred, and when asked what the topics of conversation were those days, he laughed. "Cars. Boats. Anything but golf, really," he said.

    Come Saturday, however, it was a much different scene.

    "There was a lot less talking in the group today, obviously," said Day after shooting an even-par 72 to finish where he started the day, at 8-under and tied for second. "But you know, it's Saturday of the Masters, and you want to do well."

    McIlroy said much the same thing, having built a four-stroke lead over Day and three others by posting a third-round 70 to go to 12-under for the Tournament.

    "There was still a bit of chat, but it wasn't quite as much as there was the first two days, but that's natural," McIlroy said. "We are both trying to win a golf tournament, and I expect it to be the same tomorrow."

    None of that is to say, of course, that Rory isn't allowing himself to have some fun this weekend. He still has his three buddies from his hometown in Holywood, Northern Ireland, staying with him, and they are still passing around an American football at night to pass the time.

    Earlier in Masters week, they were throwing the ball to each other in the street outside the Augusta home at which they are staying. But a neighbor complained about the noise, so they took things inside. Literally.

    "We've been throwing it around the house instead," McIlroy said with a smile Saturday. "We'll probably do some of that tonight."

    While there wasn't as much banter on the golf course for McIlroy during the third round, there was some immediately after it -- with countryman Graeme McDowell, who had stuck around to watch McIlroy compete even though he'd missed the cut.

    "I saw him (on the course)," McIlroy said. "Actually, he just texted me and told me he loved me. I don't know what that means. I don't know if that's him or the beer talking."

    McIlroy won't be drinking very much beer Saturday night. And he probably won't be doing a whole lot of talking on the golf course on Sunday.

    It's the weekend at the Masters. Which means it is time to put the game face on.

    Day and McIlroy walk to No. 7
    Sam Greenwood/Augusta National
    McIlroy and Day head to No. 18
    Rob Brown/Augusta National