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Rory McIlroy is just one of three players - joining Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods - to have won four men's Majors by the age of 25. The Northern Irishman last tasted Major success at the 2014 PGA Championship when he held off Phil Mickelson by a single shot at Valhalla.
It was his second consecutive Major championship having tasted success earlier in the year at the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.
The 33-year-old has found himself in position to once again add a Major title to his already impressive resume but hasn't quite been able to get it over the line; proving something that he didn't earlier on in his career - golf is hard.
McIlroy recently opened up about his Major drought on 5 Live Sport's All About: The Open podcast (opens in new tab), saying: "I think I haven't given myself enough chances. I think if I would have had more chances, and realistic chances, it's a bit like tournaments as well - the more you just keep putting yourself in those positions, the more comfortable you're going to feel up there. And sooner or later, if you keep knocking on the door, one of those doors is going to open for you."
The four-time Major champion recalled times where, if things had gone his way, he could have notched another Major victory: "I had a chance at Carnoustie in 2018, I played the final group with Patrick Reed in 2018 at Augusta. I was tied for the lead with nine holes to go at the US Open last year at Torrey Pines. I've had a few chances, and I just haven't capitalised."
From the outside, it's far too easy to be overly critical of McIlroy than it is to fully appreciate the talent of his competitors. McIlroy however, was quick to acknowledge the opposite: "I think players are getting better and better. Whenever I won my last Major in 2014 I had never heard of Collin Morikawa, I'd never heard of Jon Rahm, a lot of these young guys that are coming through are playing unbelievably good golf."
And it seems not only is the standard on McIlroy's mind but so is the depth: "I don't have to just beat five guys, there's 100,120,140 guys every week that you're trying to beat and they're all phenomenally good golfers. For me, I think it's just a matter of putting myself in position a few more times. As I said, you knock on some of those doors and eventually one will open."
Whilst without a Major since 2014, it hasn't been all doom and gloom for the Northern Irishman and it's refreshing to see him acknowledge that: "I haven't won a Major in the last seven years but I've basically won everything else there is to win in golf. I've won the Players Championship, I've won FedEx Cups, I've won Race to Dubai titles, World Golf Championships, I've won National Opens. I've done a lot in the last seven years.
"Yes, that hasn't included a Major championship but I've played good enough golf in those seven years to win one. I'm staying as patient as I possibly can and to just keep giving myself chances. If I do keep giving myself chances hopefully those chances end up turning into wins."
McIlroy enters the PGA Championship at Southern Hills after a career-best second place finish at Augusta National. The 33-year-old entered the final round ten shots adrift of Scottie Scheffler but fired a record-equalling 64 to post his best Major finish since 2014. All eyes will be on the Northern Irishman when he competes next week.
James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.