Rory McIlroy said he wants to dominate golf following his Open Championship success on Sunday and emulate legends Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. A two-shot victory at Royal Liverpool added the Claret Jug to McIlroy’s 2011 US Open and 2012 PGA Championship victories.
The 25-year-old Northern Irishman said he feels he has enormous potential and is confident of completing a Grand Slam of majors at the Masters in April.
“I want be to be the guy that goes on and wins majors regularly,” he said. “Golf is looking for someone to put their hand up and try to dominate and I want to be that person.” He added he hopes to replicate the 18 Grand Slam wins Nicklaus amassed and at least emulate 14-time major winner Woods.
McIlroy’s excellence at Hoylake in the third round gave him a six-shot lead and on the final day challengers Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia could never reduce the deficit to less than two strokes.
Only Nicklaus and Woods have won as many majors by the same age.
Augusta National is generally regarded as the most welcoming course for McIlroy’s style of play. “I really don’t have any doubt that he’ll win there,” admitted Fowler. “It definitely fits his game.”
McIlroy came tied eighth in the Masters this year but three years ago, in only his third Masters campaign, he lost a four-shot overnight lead on the final day as Charl Schwartzel claimed a first Green Jacket.
McIlroy claimed he was getting more comfortable with playing at Augusta’s tricky layout. He is ranked second in the world behind Australia’s Adam Scott. Sweden’s Henrik Stenson is third.
Tiger Woods has dropped to No. 9 in the world. He finished a lowly 69th at the Open having declared beforehand that he felt in great shape to win it. Woods still harbors ambitions to make the USA Ryder Cup team for Gleneagles but in Sunday’s fourth round Tom Watson shot a four-under-par 68 while Woods limped in with a 75 to finish five shots behind the 64-year-old captain.
“It’s just one day, it’s a snapshot, it’s not a big deal,” Watson said afterwards, but if Woods had seen it as a chance to impress the man 26 years his senior, it did not happen.
Watson said: “If he’s playing well and in good health, I’ll pick him but the caveat to that is if he does not make the FedEx Cup, what do I do then?” He was referring to the end-of season play-off for the US Tour.