Despite suffering through a midsummer swoon for the second consecutive year, Rory McIlroy has already achieved enough in his brief career to earn comparisons to many of the game's greats – including world No. 1 and Nike stablemate Tiger Woods.
According to Padraig Harrington, though, McIlroy's game is more reminiscent of a different American player with multiple majors to his name.
'Rory is compared to Tiger a lot, but maybe he's more like Phil Mickelson: very talented, very streaky,' the Irishman explained as part of a wide-ranging interview with Golf Magazine. 'And as Rory accepts that that's his style – and he's starting to – he'll start to peak more every week, because he won't push to make things happen.'
Less than a year ago, McIlroy was busy winning a major championship by eight shots for the second time in his career. In the months since, though, the Ulsterman has undergone an equipment and apparel transformation that has yet to translate to on-course success. In the eyes of Harrington, himself a three-time major winner, McIlroy will benefit from embracing the fact that he is simply a player with 'hot and cold spells.'
'When he pushes for those results every week, he gets frustrated and it knocks his confidence back,' Harrington added. 'And those weeks when he's on? He laps the field.'
As for Woods, who like Harrington has now seen five years pass since his last major win, the Irishman expects the world's top-ranked player to claim several more majors, breaking one of the game's most historic record in the process.
'I think he passes Jack for 19 major wins. Time is on his side. He's still the best player in the world,' the 41-year-old said of Woods. 'His game is suited to winning majors, and if he plays great, he definitely wins. The difference today is that his 'B' game doesn't win majors anymore. Other players have improved.'