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Tiger Woods' trophy case shows Rory McIlroy why majors are what matter

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Over the years, Rory McIlroy has struggled over how best to approach major weeks, especially now that the Masters is the only tournament keeping him from the career Grand Slam.

Should he play loose, like it’s any other week?

Or circle it on the calendar, pour everything he has into those four rounds, and hope it works out?

McIlroy has settled on the latter – to treat the majors like the career-definers they are – and that mentality was crystallized following a recent visit to check on Tiger Woods after his serious car accident two months ago.


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In his family room, Woods proudly displays his 15 major championship trophies.

“I said, ‘That’s really cool. Where are the others?’” McIlroy said. “He said, 'I don’t know.’

“I go, ‘What?’

“He said, ‘Yeah, my mom has some, and a few are in the office, and a few are wherever.’”


McIlroy stays composed amid Grand Slam aspirations

McIlroy stays composed amid Grand Slam aspirations

McIlroy left Woods’ house, still thinking about that answer. How the majors are front and center but a few of those hard-earned trophies, 82 in all, are just ... “wherever.”

“I was thinking: That’s all he cared about,” McIlroy said. “And so how easy that must have felt for him to win all the others. That was just always in my mind – how he talked about these are the four weeks that matter. So the weeks that” – he used air quotes here – “didn’t matter, he racked them up at a pretty fast clip.

“But I’m just thinking to myself how easy must that have felt for him if all he cared about were four weeks a year. The other stuff must have been like practice. That’s a really cool perspective to have, right?”