Say this for Rory McIlroy, who's inexplicably riding in a balloon over Dubai: the dude's got to be the most confident 20-year-old on the planet not named Taylor Swift. At the Dubai Desert Classic, he confidently addressed the question of how fast and how far he can rise:
"I am gaining experience every year and by the time I'm 24, 25 I will have played in 20, 25 majors ... so hopefully by then I should know how to finish them off," he said in Dubai. "That's the ultimate goal ... to win a major championship and try and become the best player I can be." It's not McIlroy's style to be over-the-top brash, but when you're the ninth-best golfer on the planet and you're only 20, well, maybe you can afford to be a little confident.
Certainly, McIlroy has been in the hunt at majors; he was one of the few guys to make the cut in all four majors in 2009. His best finish was a tie for third at last year's PGA, but he's best known, majorly speaking, for his meltdown on Masters Friday. After surrendering multiple strokes over the final five holes, McIlroy fell apart in the greenside bunker, swatting the ball fruitlessly and kicking at the sand in frustration. That usually carries a two-stroke penalty, but he skirted the Augusta hammer. Even so, it destroyed his tournament hopes. Perhaps that's what he means by quotes like this:
"I haven't quite finished them off but I've learnt from those experiences and feel as if I'm a more-rounded player. I feel as if when I get myself into those positions now that I feel a lot more comfortable in final rounds and final groups."
McIlroy added that he wants the USGA and the R&A to reconsider those groove changes, while at the same time making courses tougher to play. "I don't see why they don't firm greens up and get the rough longer to bring scores down," he said. "They can make golf courses a lot tougher and turn 20-under winning scores into 12-under." Yes, I'm sure that your fellow pros would line up to sign off on that, Rory. But hey, props for manning up and offering to play tougher courses. I like this kid.