McDowell: McIlroy showing 'Tiger-esque' abilities

Graeme McDowell makes a conservative guess that Rory McIlroy will win eight major titles.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A fellow Northern Irishman who has seen Rory McIlroy grow and is surprised by little that he can do, Graeme McDowell has been thoroughly impressed by his Ryder Cup teammate's recent run of success.

"It's beginning to look a little Tiger-esque I suppose. I said to the boys at The Open, I didn't think we were going to see the new Tiger era, as in someone creating their own kind of Tiger-esque era just yet," said McDowell after a 2-under 69 that left him at 2 under for the PGA Championship.

"I'm not eating my words, but I'm certainly starting to chew on them right now, with the WGC and a chance to win another major this weekend. When the kid is playing well, he's pretty tough to live with."

A year after the questions surrounding McIlroy were centered on whether or not he had been anointed the next Tiger a bit prematurely, this year the questions are now geared at whether he can chase down Jack Nicklaus' major record.

McDowell put the brakes on that – at least for now.

"You know, eight," McDowell said when asked how many majors he thought McIlroy would win in his career.

"Now it's probably a little low. You know, I can't look inside a guy and know what his number is. I mean, not many people are born with the type of focus Tiger Woods had, grow up with pictures of Jack Nicklaus on his wall and wanting to beat Jack's record," McDowell continued. "Knowing Rory as I have the last few years, that didn't seem to me – it didn't seem to me like he was trying to beat Jack's record."

McDowell pointed to McIlroy's physical shape as a huge bonus in his recent run back to World No. 1, and said it was different than what Woods did as a young pro, where his violent swing caused him physical damage later in his career.

"Like I say, to me, it's 10 percent staying healthy and 90 percent how many he wants to win," McDowell said.

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