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Many golf fans have written off Rory McIlroy in his ongoing quest to complete the career grand slam, and it’s hard to blame them. The World No. 2 has had eight chances to accomplish the rare feat, and despite his six top-10 finishes in those eight Masters starts, he’s yet to secure the green jacket that’s escaped him for so long. At 33 years of age, he’s running out of time.

But McIlroy has at least one believer out there.

Tiger Woods, in his pre-Masters press conference on Tuesday, said that his good friend will “definitely” complete the career grand slam at Augusta National Golf Club.

History is against Rory McIlroy in his career grand slam quest

It’s the same story every time Rory McIlroy tees it up at Augusta National.

The Northern Irishman completed the first three legs of the career grand slam nine years ago. He won the U.S. Open in dominant fashion in 2011, the PGA Championship in 2012, and the Open Championship in 2014. Yet, despite his stellar course history at Augusta, McIlroy still hasn’t been able to complete the final leg at the Masters.

With each year that passes by, his chances to complete the career grand slam only worsen. McIlroy will be making his 15th career Masters start this week. Sergio Garcia, who won in his 19th start at Augusta, is the only player in golf history to win his first Masters title after his 15th start, per Justin Ray on Twitter.

McIlroy is still in his prime, but that won’t last forever. He better get going if he wants to join Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, and Gene Sarazen as the only winners of the career grand slam.

Tiger Woods is confident Rory McIlroy will complete the career grand slam at the Masters

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods embrace during a Masters practice round.
Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods shake hands on the 18th green during a practice round prior to the 2023 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club | Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Many golf fans have given up on McIlroy and his chances to win the career grand slam, but Tiger clearly hasn’t.

“He will [win the Masters]. It’s just a matter of time,” Woods told reporters during his pre-Masters press conference. “Rory has the talent. He has the game. He has all the tools to win here. It’s just a matter of time. A lot of things have to happen to win at this golf course. A lot of things have to go right. I think Rory has shown over the years he’s learned how to play this golf course, and you just have to understand how to play it.

“He’s been there. Last year, he made a great run, put himself there. But I think that it’s just a matter of time. Whether it’s this year or next or whenever it comes, he will get it done, and he will have a career grand slam. It’s just what year it will be; it will definitely happen.”

Definitely? I wouldn’t go that far, but I obviously don’t know McIlroy as well as Woods. Tiger paired up with McIlroy in a practice round Monday, so he must’ve seen something that tells him the four-time major champion is closer than he’s ever been to donning the green jacket.

Will this finally be Rory’s year? The clock is ticking.


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