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Masters: Jack Nicklaus shares Rory McIlroy criticism for lack of majors

Jack Nicklaus knows what it takes to win a major championship — he has won 18 of them. If anyone could understand why Rory McIlroy hasn’t completed the career grand slam, it’s the Golden Bear.

During the opening round of the 88th Masters Tournament, Nicklaus joined Live from The Masters on the Golf Channel. He stated why he believes McIlroy hasn’t overcome his demons at Augusta National.

“I only have one criticism of Rory. You have to concentrate 100 percent of the time,” Nicklaus explained. “For some reason, Rory always has a little bit of a lapse somewhere around the tournament. He’ll find a double bogey or triple bogey that sneaks in there. I don’t know how he does it or why, but it happens.”

The legendary golfer isn’t wrong about McIlroy.

It seems he puts together three fantastic rounds, but there is always one that seems to fall off the rails. Or, he is putting together a really solid round only to find a big number waiting late.

Nicklaus isn’t bashing McIlroy, by any means. They are friends. The criticism is more constructive because he ended that segment on a high note.

“I like Rory. I root for Rory every week,” he said.

Since 2014, McIlroy has recorded seven Top 10 finishes at The Masters. His best finish came in 2022 when he went 73-73-71-64 to finish solo second behind Scottie Scheffler.

In 2020, when he finished T5, the 34-year-old opened with a 75, then went 66-67-69.

McIlroy did something similar in 2018, which was another T5 finish. He went 69-71-65-74 — the large score coming on Sunday instead of Thursday.

Nicklaus’ assessment appears to be spot on. McIlroy has what seem to be these lapses of concentration and it makes fans shake their heads.

The 24-time PGA Tour winner is making his 16th start this week at The Masters and his 10th attempt at the career grand slam. Augusta National is the only course that stands in the way of him joining the small group of golfers who have won all four majors.

Will this be the year?

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, be sure to follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social platforms. You can also follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.

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