Rory McIlroy says he wants to be best European and international golfer ever

Rory McIlroy said this week at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship that he wants to be the best European golfer who's ever lived. At age 28, McIlroy has four majors as well as 13 wins categorized under the PGA Tour and 13 categorized under the European Tour (some wins, like his majors, count for both).

Unfortunately, 2017 was a bit of a lost year for McIlroy. Battling injuries all season, he is going to end the year without a win for the first time since he turned pro a decade ago. His long-term outlook hasn't changed much, though. He told Golf Channel this week of his desire to climb the mountain.

"There's the grand slam, that's the next reasonable goal on the agenda," McIlroy said. "Then try to become the best European golfer ever. Try to surpass Nick Faldo in that. If I had a career goal, it would probably be to be the best international golfer ever. Gary Player has nine majors. I'd like to think I'm going to give myself a chance to get close to that tally."

This is not exactly breaking news. McIlroy has said or insinuated this before, but it's still pretty cool to hear him say it out loud (also, he's already had maybe the best European season ever). We lose perspective because of Tiger Woods, and we forget just how much McIlroy has accomplished at such a young age. 

Is he going to surpass Faldo as the best European of all time? I have no idea, but I do think all it will take is one Masters win. If he wins the career slam, he would be the first European to do so, and that would solidify his spot either equal to or ahead of Faldo and Seve Ballesteros. There are other paths to get there, but that is likely the easiest. 

Whatever the case, I'm fascinated to see what McIlroy looks like in 2018 after a few months of rest and rehab and work on his short game. This past season was a bummer, but the runway is long, and McIlroy doesn't seem to have lost focus on becoming one of the greatest to ever play the game.

CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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