With his second consecutive win at a major, Rory McIlroy is starting to make people wonder if he actually has a better shot at breaking Jack Nicklaus’ career record than Tiger Woods.
McIlroy is the 17th golfer to win four career majors and the age of 25, he is also the third youngest. Woods won his fourth major when he was 24 and Nicklaus had just turned 25.
However, as Benjamin Morris of fivethirtyeight.com points out, McIlroy doesn’t need to be on pace with Woods now, noting that at the time, Woods himself was way ahead of Jack’s pace. McIlroy need only maintain his current pace and avoid the cliff that Woods fell off of.
What McIlroy has is the unusual combination of a quickly increasing collection of major trophies as well as still being young, a combination only seen previously with Nicklaus and Woods.
Here is a look at how those three golfers compare to the other 14 golfers with at least four wins at the majors. Many of the other golfers had similar meteoric rises, but they also happened later in their careers.
Morris goes on to estimate that McIlroy will win “around 12 majors — plus or minus six or eight” based on not knowing how much McIlroy’s career trajectory will inevitably regress. So it is still too early to put Nicklaus on notice.
But until Tiger wins one more major, we can probably stop speculating on whether or not he can win four or five more.
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