McIlroy can win more Majors than Tiger - Els
Veteran reckons 'sky's the limit' for World No 1 as he backs him to beat Woods' haul of 14 titles
Ernie Els is backing Rory McIlroy to beat Tiger Woods' haul of 14 Major championships over the next 20 years.
That's how much the 45-year-old South African winner of two British Opens and two US Opens rates the world No 1.
McIlroy only turned 26 on May 4, and like Els has won four Majors.
His age profile, and the class he displayed in claiming two top titles - the WGC-Cadillac Championship and the Wells Fargo - recently, have made a big impression on Els.
"At the moment he's in a good place, and he's been in a good place for over a year, and when he's in a space like that, he normally does quite well," said Els.
"He's happy. He's sound with a lot of things in his life, and if he keeps that up, the sky's the limit.
"In 20 years' time, if he won ten (Majors). . . I think he can do that.
"You know you're going to have some downs here and there, but I think he can win more than 14."
Els also felt that McIlroy's move to America is a loss to the European Tour, and likened him to the great Seve Ballesteros as a potential iconic figure for the Tour.
"If I was head of the Tour, I would have made some plan to keep Rory McIlroy in Europe. I would not have let him go to the US," he said.
"I would have kept him here and made him like Seve because he's so exciting to watch.
"He's a pretty happy kid, he does good things off the course, he's got his stuff together.
"To have a person like that on the European Tour for most of his career is something that I would absolutely have made happen."
Els made a special effort to show up for this Dubai Duty Free Irish Open as a personal favour to McIlroy.
"Rory and myself are good friends. He asked me quite a few months ago and it was an easy yes, although I missed my daughter Samantha's 16th birthday yesterday," he said.