• US PGA Championship

Nicklaus: McIlroy can win 15 or 20 majors

August 6, 2014
McIlroy determined to continue good form

Jack Nicklaus has gotten to know Rory McIlroy since the Northern Irishman moved to Florida a few years ago, and the Golden Bear does not hold back in his praise for the No.1 ranked golfer in the world.

Interviewed by ESPN on Wednesday morning, Nicklaus made it clear that he believes McIlroy can win an abundance of major championships.

McIlroy leads the hunt at Valhalla

Rory McIlroy is looking for his fourth major © Getty Images
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"I think Rory is an unbelievable talent,'' Nicklaus said. "I love his swing, I love his rhythm, I love his moxie. He's got a little swagger there, it's a little bit cocky but not offensive. I like that. I like the self-confidence in a young man. He's got an unbelievable amount of speed in his golf swing, he obviously hits the ball a heck of a long way. And he hits in there consistently and how he controls it.

"It depends on what he feels his priorities are and that's his call. I think Rory has an opportunity to win 15 or 20 majors or whatever he wants to do if he wants to keep playing. But you just don't know what the guy's priorities are going to be in life 10 years from now.''

McIlroy heads into this week's US PGA Championship at the Nicklaus-designed Valhalla Golf Club having won his last two events, including the Open Championship, his third major title. He's won three times worldwide in 2014.

Nicklaus, 74, the 18-time major winner, has taken a liking to McIlroy and has counseled him at various times about business and golf. They even talked golf swing recently.

"It's nice he takes an interest in my game,'' McIlroy said. "It really is cool, and it's nice to be able to talk to him about those sort of things.''

Nicklaus also said he hopes injuries are not what keeps Tiger Woods from pursuing his record of major championship victories. Woods has won 14 majors, but none since the US Open in 2008. Since then, he's missed six majors due to injury, pending his status for this week's PGA.

"He certainly has at least another 10 years of playing major championships golf,'' Nicklaus said. "That's 40 - at least 40 - majors to win. I believe Tiger will do that IF his health remains good. Nobody ever wants their records broken, that's obvious. But I don't want him to NOT break the records because he's not healthy. That's certainly not in the cards of what I would like to see. Or what anybody would like to see.''

Rory McIlroy claimed his third major at Hoylake © Getty Images

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com

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