For the last 18 years, golf has been obsessed with Tiger Woods' quest to overtake Jack Nicklaus' total of 18 majors. Woods won his 14th major almost seven years ago at the US Open, but hasn't managed to add to his haul since a knee reconstruction and the collapse of his marriage to Elin Nordegren.
Since then, the 'next' Tiger Woods has emerged in Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, who has already amassed four major titles by the age of 26. Now, it seems that McIlroy is destined to come close to Woods. McIlroy should complete a career grand slam, and it's highly likely that he will win the British Open at the home of golf in St. Andrew's either this year or in 2020 given his favourable history at the course, while the US PGA Championship in Quail Hollow will be another major on one of McIlroy's favourite courses. That should bring McIlroy to seven majors, with plenty of opportunity to add more.
One prominent name in the world of golf does think that McIlroy will surpass Woods. South African Ernie Els is one of the biggest names at this week's Irish Open, thanks to the draw of the Northern Irishman. 'The Big Easy' is one of those who thinks that McIlroy will beat Woods' major total in the next twenty years.
At the moment he's in a good place, and he's been in a good place for over a year, and when he's in a space like that, he normally does quite well. He's happy. He's sound with a lot of things in his life, and if he keeps that up, the sky's the limit.
You know you're going to have some downs here and there, but I think he can win more than 14.
It's a sign of respect that McIlroy has garnered amongst golfing legends on tour that someone of the stature of four time major winner Els thinks that highly of McIlroy. Indeed, Els' appearance at the Royal County Down club for the Irish Open appears to be solely down to McIlroy after Els revealed that he's only in Ireland because McIlroy asked him:
Rory and myself are good friends. He asked me quite a few months ago and it was an easy yes, although I missed my daughter Samantha's 16th birthday yesterday
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