“If you look at his backswing, where he’s taking the club away, where he’s putting the club at the top of the swing, it’s really good. It’s so on plane,” McIlroy said. “He’s close. He’s closer than people think, I can assure you that. I wouldn’t read too much into last week. I think Dubai this week will be a much better gauge of how he’s playing and shaking a little bit of that rust off, he’ll be fine.”
McIlroy, who has won seven tournaments on the PGA Tour over the last three years, knows all too well how it feels to go a couple of years without winning a major; he hasn’t won one since 2014. On a podcast with Chris Solomon, McIlroy made the point that the young guys like Spieth, Day, and Johnson are great, but if they want to be on his level they have to win two or three more majors whereas if he were to win three more majors he is on Arnold Palmer’s level.
McIlroy joined Solomon again on Tuesday and said he woke up in the middle of the night while in Dubai to watch Tiger, Day, and Johnson play. The Northern Irishman is only 27, but his honesty over the last few years has been very refreshing.
McIlroy said this prior to his swing analysis of Tiger:
(46 minute mark)
“He’s won 14 majors, he’s won (79) times on the PGA Tour, he’s won over 100 times worldwide. That is not a failure,” McIlroy said. “Unfortunately, people are going to see his career as a failure because he didn’t achieve what he set out to achieve, and that’s ludicrous. Absolutely ludicrous.
“He played the best golf of anyone in the world, ever, for like a 10-year stretch. It was golf that no one had seen before. It brought so many people to the sport, and it ignited a generation of golfers that you see now coming through,” McIlroy said. “He transcended the game of golf, and he is nothing but a success and a credit to the game of golf and I would love it he would give it just one last run because I would love to compete against him down the stretch of a major. Just for golf, just the fans it would be awesome.”
McIlroy isn’t the only player who has been optimistic about Tiger’s return to the game. Earlier this month Ernie Els also shared his thoughts on Tiger’s return and Phil Mickelson proclaimed on Alan Shipnuck’s podcast that, “Oh yeah, he’s too good not to.”
McIlroy also discussed his injury and how he feels while recovering leading up to his expected return at the WGC-Mexico Championship and his dream commentating group that does not include Brandel Chamblee.