Golf legend Jack Nicklaus to Rory McIlroy: He has a rethink of going away, this is ridiculous.

By | June 5, 2024

Jack Nicklaus told a story about a young Rory McIlroy when an aspiring professional asked the Golden Bear for his best piece advice.

Cast your mind back to 2010 and McIlroy was 19 years old having turned pro three years prior.

He had already claimed his maiden professional victory but was yet to breakthrough on the PGA Tour despite possessing all the talent that had many suggesting he was going to be the biggest needle-mover since Tiger Woods.

But McIlroy was finding it difficult to close out tournaments and leant on the 18-time major champion for advice at The Bear’s Club.

At least, that is the version of events that Nicklaus painted ahead of the 2024 Memorial Tournament.


Rory McIlroy

“You guys will enjoy this story,” the 84-year-old said when asked by young pro Isac Wallin for a pearl of wisdom.

“Rory was 19 years old. He came to me and I was down at the Bear’s Club. He was playing in the Honda tournament down there.

“And he said — you know, he says, ‘I can’t finish’.

“Now he’s 19 years old. He says, I can’t finish. He says, I haven’t won in a year. He won in Dubai and he hadn’t won in a year. And he says, I can’t seem to get to finish.

“I said, Rory, ‘You’re 19 years old. Be patient. Be patient. It will happen.’

“And I said, I remember when I was on Tour, one of the officials told me, he says, Jack, he says, be patient.

“If you don’t — one of these days you won’t shoot 37 the last nine holes, you’ll shoot 33, and you’ll win the tournament. And he says, but that will happen.”

McIlroy didn’t have to wait too long for his breakthrough.

Three weeks after their conflab he stormed to his maiden PGA Tour win at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow.

His final round of 62 set a new course record, including six consecutive scores of three on his card.

At the time, he became the first player since the aforementioned Woods to win on Tour before his 21st birthday.

Nicklaus continued: “So I dropped him a note, and I said — you know, I said, I told you to be patient, but this is ridiculous.”

McIlroy now has 26 PGA Tour titles which is still 47 short of Nicklaus’ haul of 73.

But he’s hoping to add another one to his resume this weekend.

Later in his news conference, Nicklaus also told of how marriage impacted Woods’ career.

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