(Updated May 31)
"I think Rory's got so much control over his life now, both on and off the course, that he can pick up one major every two years for the next 20 years," Els said. "He's definitely good enough. That would give him 14, and I think he will get to that total. At least."
With four majors in his own trophy case, Els knows a few things about winning golf's biggest events. He also knows what it was like to go up against Tiger Woods in his prime, having finished second at both the U.S. Open and Open Championship in 2000 during Woods' run of four straight major victories. Coincidently, Woods currently has 14 major titles to his credit.
Of course, Woods may not be done winning majors; he will turn 40 in December, and Nicklaus famously won the 1986 Masters at age 46. As for McIlroy, he remains optimistic about his chances to pad his total, but refused to offer a specific goal.
"One every two years? I'd like to think so, but it's hard to know," McIlroy said. "I certainly expect to give myself plenty of chances. But I'm not going to put a number on it."
Editors note: Els told Golf Channel that he made no reference to Woods during the news conference, contrary to what was reported in the Daily Mail.