Jack Nicklaus: To Be the Greatest, Rory McIlroy Must Improve

December 27, 2016

In many people’s eyes, Jack Nicklaus is the greatest golfer of all time, a man who stands atop all the others (except, perhaps, for Tiger Woods). Today he had some advice for an athlete who has the potential to unseat him as golf’s GOAT: Rory McIlroy, the current no. 2 in the world.

In an interview with BBC Sport, Nicklaus spoke about McIlroy’s talent, but cautioned that to truly become the greatest, instead of merely great, it’ll rest on McIlroy’s level of determination.

“He has won and played on his talent to this point. If he wishes to dominate and go forward then he’s got to improve,” Nicklaus said. “He has to work hard, he’s got to focus on what he is trying to do and it is up to him. Certainly he has all the tools to be able to do it — it is just whether he has the desire and the willingness to give up some other things…Whether he wants to be the greatest player to have played the game, that’s his determination and it’s his decision whether he wants to make that effort to try to do that.” Nicklaus said that it all ultimately comes down to time management, something that McIlroy will have to learn to grapple with more as he gets older. 

Nicklaus also said that he believes McIlroy will eventually win that elusive Masters title. “He certainly has the type of game that would do well at Augusta and he has done well before–he just hasn’t finished it,” Nicklaus said. “He’ll win it. He’s a good player.” This April, McIlroy will attempt to complete his career grand slam for the third time. Check out the entire article from BBC Sport here.