Rory McIlroy is a fine golfer, a darling of the media in 2012, and often referred to as the next Tiger Woods. When he won the Honda Classic, in March, he rose to the world #1 ranking, but lost that position again only two weeks later. To see whether Rory belongs among golf's greatest players, I have compared his record on the PGA Tour to that of four member's of golf's elite, Phil Mickelson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods.
Rory McIlroy: McIlroy turned pro in 2007. Coming into the Masters Golf Tournament in 2012, five years later, he has a total of three wins on the PGA Tour, including one major (the 2011 U.S. Open). Some will say it is not fair to only look at McIlroy's PGA Tour results, because he is a European. Alright, when we add his European Tour victories, Rory McIlroy has a total of five professional wins.
Phil Mickelson: Mickelson has been a professional since 1992. Prior to the playing of the Masters in 1997, Mickelson had not won a major championship, but did have a total of nine wins on the PGA Tour. As of 2012, Phil Mickelson has accumulated a total of 40 PGA Tour wins and four major championships.
Arnold Palmer: Palmer became a professional in 1954. Five years later, before the playing of the 1959 Masters, he had won 13 times on the PGA Tour and had one major championship, the 1958 Masters. Palmer finished his career the winner of 62 PGA Tour events, including seven majors.
Jack Nicklaus: Nicklaus started his professional career in 1961. Prior to the 1966 Masters, he had already accumulated 17 wins on the PGA Tour and four major championships. Jack Nicklaus won the Masters in 1966, and went on to claim 73 wins on the PGA Tour and a record 18 major championships.
Tiger Woods: Woods turned pro in 1996. By the time the 2001 Masters came around, his record of victories already included 26 PGA Tour events and six majors. Tiger Woods won the 2001 Masters and now, prior to the playing of the 2012 Masters Golf Tournament, he has amassed a total of 72 wins on the PGA Tour and 14 major championships.
Rory McIlroy's record through his first five years as a professional pales in comparison to golf's greatest players. If he is to join the truly elite, the time is now for him to become a consistent winner and truly dominate the game. A good place to start would the the 76th Masters Golf Tournament, being played April 5-8, 2012, at Augusta National Golf Club.
Harold Andrews has played golf for nearly 50 years (competitively and recreationally) and considers Jack Nicklaus the greatest golfer of all time.