Golf legend Jack Nicklaus believes Rory McIlroy will be no one hit wonder after his US Open breakthrough.
The Golden Bear has backed the 22-year-old McIlroy to win more Majors ahead of next week’s British Open.
McIlroy has already been tipped by Padraig Harrington to get within sight of the Nicklaus record of 18 Major championships.
The great man won’t be at all surprised even though he is reluctant to attach any number to McIlroy’s potential.
“Of course, there are huge expectations on him after what he did at Congressional,” the 71-year-old Nicklaus told the Sunday Independent.
“Almost immediately there was talk that he would be the man to challenge my Majors record. Time will tell if he will become a multiple winner, but the one scenario I cannot imagine is that he will turn out to have been a one-hit wonder.”
The Nicklaus Majors record has stood for years but he sees enough talent in McIlroy to warrant optimism.
“He’s already a good player, but I’m convinced he’s going to become a really good player,” added Nicklaus.
“I like his golf swing and I like his attitude. Does he have the potential to dominate? Yes, if he keeps his head screwed on properly, and he does the things he has to do to improve.”
Nicklaus did appear surprised however by McIlroy’s decision to take the three weeks off between the US Open and the British equivalent at Royal St George’s outside London next week.
“That’s a long break,” added Nicklaus. “I understand that Rory has had a pretty hectic schedule, with TV and sponsors’ engagements and visiting Wimbledon.
“The one thing I imagine he hasn’t done much of lately is play golf. If he has a disappointing Open then I’m sure people will say it was too long.
“We’ll find out soon enough if it has recharged his batteries or drained them. I always found that well-timed breaks from golf could be healthy for the mind and the game, but each golfer has to determine what’s best for them.
“Rory isn’t the first player to build his schedule and strategy around the Majors. Ben Hogan did it, Bobby Jones did it, I did it and Tiger Woods has done it.
“Personally, I never played well in a Major if I had played the week before. I preferred to do my preparation on-site and well in advance.
“Frequently, I’d go to the course two weeks early, play a practice round and then arrive on the Tuesday before the championship.
“Still, between the US Open and the Open Championship I always felt I needed something in the middle to keep my game in shape.”
Why all Irish men’s beards are red