Only three players in golf history have won 10 or more majors, but Tiger Woods has helped to identify who might join him, Jack Nicklaus and Walter Hagen. Woods goes into today’s Masters at Augusta with 14 to his name — three more than Hagen, but still four short of Nicklaus’ record.
Rory McIlroy goes into it with only last year’s US Open so far, but at 22 time is still very much on the young Northern Irishman’s side. “He has all of the makings of being a great champion for a long period of time,” Woods said of McIlroy yesterday.
“We have seen obviously what he did last year at The Masters and how he came back at the (US) Open. He led, what, seven out of eight rounds in major championships last year, which is pretty impressive.”
It would, of course, have been eight out of eight if McIlroy had not collapsed so dramatically from four ahead on the final at Augusta last April. But winning at Congressional two months later — by eight shots and with a record total — showed what the current World No 2 is made of. “I had not met Rory at that time and I didn’t really know much about him,” Woods added.
“It was cool to see someone learn from their mistakes like that. He was playing so well and he just had one bad round.
“It happens to everybody. We’ve all been in those situations. He learned from it, applied it and ran away with it — that was some pretty impressive playing.
“He just needs to get more experienced. It seems like every single tournament he plays in he’s in the top 10 (make that top five in the seven months) and that’s great to see.”