LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Five weeks ago Rory McIlroy was a two-time major champion. Now, with four majors on his mantle, he is staring squarely at some of the greats the game has ever known.
McIlroy knows exactly where he stands, and he knows exactly who is next in his path.
“I said I thought winning the Open Championship a few weeks ago had sort of put me on a higher level in this game,” McIlroy said. “But then to win a fourth major here, to be one behind Phil (Mickelson), one behind Seve (Ballesteros), level with Ernie (Els), level with Raymond Floyd; I mean, I never thought I’d get this far at 25 years of age.”
Now that he is?
“It’s something that I’m just going to have to come to terms with in a way… I was happy being a two-time major champion coming into this year, and all of a sudden I’m a four-time major champion and going for the career Grand Slam at Augusta in 292 days, 291 days or whatever it is. Not that I’m counting.”
Actually, the Masters begins in 242 days. But, again, who is counting?
McIlroy, 25, admits that even though he wants to take time to enjoy his success over the past month he still has two big goals in his sights. The aforementioned career Grand Slam is one and becoming the most successful European player ever is the other. England’s Nick Faldo has six majors and Seve Ballesteros has five.
“And hopefully, when I achieve those, I can start to think about other things.”