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Rory McIlroy on what it's like to be a 'tour-harden veteran'

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

More Golf: Leaderboard | Rankings | Schedule | Equipment | FedEx Cup | Masters 2014

Rory McIlroy is returning to the scene of his first crime this week in Dubai. This time in 2009 he was the upstart Ulsterman with exactly zero career wins under his belt, on any tour.

Five years later he's probably the second-most popular golfer in the world, an 11-time winner worldwide, a two-time major winner, and one of the 10 best golfers alive.

He gave a great interview with The National a few days ago where he talked what's changed since 2009. In it McIlroy jokingly said he's turned into the golfers he looked up to as a kid.

"I'm now a tour-harden veteran and seasoned campaigner."

I know he was kidding and I don't know about the campaigner part, but he sure carries himself like a veteran.

He also opined on what that first win meant to him and how he's actually changed in the last 10 wins.

"Back then, it was all about securing the first victory and proving to myself and others that I had made the transition from amateur to professional; it was about providing evidence that my early potential had substance and depth when it mattered.

"Call it naivety, eagerness or being a little overzealous, but at 19 my desire to compete against the best in the world gave me a determination to succeed. I can say with complete honesty there exists very little difference between then and now, yet with one notable exception: patience."

Tiger Woods exuded that same attitude when asked about his major quest in Dubai.

"I think just being patient and putting myself there," said Woods. "You're not going to win them every year. Looking at my career, I haven't won them all each and every year."

Patience.

You hear it from everyone on tour but few put it on display like Woods and McIlroy.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

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