Rory McIlroy revealed he’s set his sights heading into the New Year looking to become the greatest European and also winningest International golfer in the history of the game.
The four-time Major winner is determined to surpass not only Nick Faldo’s European Tour victory record but the record of nine Majors won by South African Gary Player.
However, in looking ahead to 2018, McIlroy revealed two huge goals aside from becoming only the sixth player to capture the Grand Slam.
“The Grand Slam is the next reasonable goal on the agenda and then my goal is to become the best European Tour golfer ever and try and surpass Nick Faldo in that,” said McIlroy ahead of his opening round at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
“Then, and if had a career goal, it would be the best international golfer ever as Gary Player has nine Majors so I would like to think I can get close to that tally.
“Clearly, the Americans have dominated the world of golf for the last 100-years with Jack Nicklaus and Tiger (Woods) and Walter Hagen and all those guys but the next big goal in winning the Masters for the Grand Slam and then becoming the best European ever”.
In fact, McIlroy has won 13 European Tour titles but is still 17 wins shy of Nick Faldo’s record mark and with four Majors to his name, he has to win six more Majors to surpass ‘The Black Knight’.
Before all that however, McIlroy looked no closer to winning a first tournament this year, in his last event of 2017, after a frustrating 73 on day one at St. Andrews.
McIlroy had started birdie, bogey where he had shot a 63 in the 2015 Open (not British) Championship, and that set the tone for the day with a topsy-turvy mid part to his round that included two birdies but also three bogeys.
McIlroy’s effort is already six shots adrift of countryman Paul Dunne who shares the lead on five-under, and who brilliantly denied McIlroy success less than a week ago.
The World No. 6 brilliantly drove the green at the short par four, 18th on the Old Course where a decade ago he had finished third to secure his Tour card in only a second tournament as a pro.
But McIlroy was clearly disappointed when his eagle putt for a ‘2’ failed to even hit the hole.
“If was difficult to get any momentum going and that’s the big thing as you’re waiting around a lot and you’ve got no — don’t really have any rhythm or anything,” said McIlroy.
“It is a little easier when you get off to a good start. When you get off to a slow start, you’re waiting a lot and that can be quite difficult. It was okay”.
McIlroy in sharing 89th place after day one of the $US 5m event is staring at missing the cut if he fails to fire Friday at Carnoustie.
If so, it would bring to an end the worst season in his pro career in failing to win anywhere since 2009.
“I don’t think it will be quite as windy tomorrow, so we’re going to get Carnoustie maybe a little easier than the guys got it today, which is nice,” he said.
“I played Carnoustie on Tuesday and it’s actually quite soft. The greens are very good. They are running very nicely.
“So, it actually could be a good opportunity for some of the guys to score well”.