An avid tennis fan, Jack Nicklaus is in attendance this week at Wimbledon and sat down for a lengthy on-camera interview while on the tournament grounds, with topics ranging from his 1962 U.S. Open win at Oakmont to his prediction for the wide-open women's bracket.
Midway through the interview with 'Live at Wimbledon,' the 18-time major champion shared his thoughts about the top-ranked European golfer in the world, Rory McIlroy. According to Nicklaus, the Ulsterman's various off-course pursuits are affecting his on-course performance.
'He's been sort of doing other things, and now he's back wanting to play golf again, and he's struggling,' Nicklaus explained, noting both the demands on McIlroy's time as a result of winning two major championships as well as the reported nine-figure endorsement contract he signed with Nike earlier this year.
'Before, he was grinding, grinding, grinding to get where he wanted. Now all of a sudden he's had a little bit more leisurely (sic), and he's got a little less pressure,' Nicklaus continued. 'You need the pressure. I think it's great to have the pressure; I enjoyed having it every time I walked on a golf course.'
After beginning the year as the top-ranked player in the world, McIlroy has struggled to look comfortable on the golf course, missing the cut three times on the European Tour including in his most recent start at last week's Irish Open. Though McIlroy now heads into the season's third major appearing to lack both confidence and momentum, Nicklaus believes that it's only a matter of time before the Ulsterman hoists his next trophy.
'Rory will get it back; he's just going through a period,' he added. 'He's too talented, too hard-working and too good of a kid not to get it back.'
Full video of the interview can be seen below; Nicklaus' comments on McIlroy begin around the 7:00 mark: