The 18-time major champion has become something of a mentor for the 25-year-old Northern Irishman, and prior to McIlroy’s third major triumph at the Open Championship he met with Nicklaus to discuss a variety of things, including the golf swing. The Golden Bear declined to say exactly what the two discussed.
“He came and saw me after the Memorial. I saw a couple of things that I thought could help him,” Nicklaus said during a PGA of America conference call on Thursday.
“I didn’t want to interfere with his teacher, and I saw him at the U.S. Open doing a couple of things I thought we had talked about. He may not remember it, and I don’t want to take any credit for it. Whether I helped him, I don’t know.”
Nicklaus – who had won four majors before turning 26 – was also asked if he thought McIlroy had the game and mental toughness to become one of the game’s all-time greats.
“He’s on par to do that, and I would be surprised if he doesn’t. It depends on Rory’s desire and focus and what he wants to accomplish with his life,” Nicklaus said. “Some guys have success and decide they want to live a normal life. There are other athletes who decide records are important to them. Whichever direction Rory heads he will be successful at whatever he does.”