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Page last updated at 11:09 GMT, Wednesday, 2 June 2010 12:09 UK

Jack Nicklaus impressed by McIlroy Quail Hollow victory

Jack Nicklaus
McIlroy is competing in Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament this week

Jack Nicklaus says Rory McIlroy's win at Quail Hollow last month is one of the few times when he has been enticed to watch golf on TV this season.

Nicklaus has never been a keen watcher of golf on television but he has taken a special interest in McIlroy's career and met him earlier this year.

Nicklaus also sent McIlroy a letter of congratulations after his victory.

"I said, 'What I told you is to play within yourself, but this is ridiculous'," added Nicklaus.

McIlroy competes in Nicklaus' own Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village this week and the 21-year-old will play alongside Ernie Els and Sean O'Hair in the opening two rounds in Ohio.

It is rare for Nicklaus to sit in front of the TV even during the majors unless something grabs his attention, like good friend Tom Watson nearly winning the British Open at Turnberry last year at age 59.

Even when Tiger Woods was winning majors to move closer to Nicklaus' record 18, the Golden Bear only tuned in for an hour or so.

"It's not that I don't watch golf because I don't enjoy the game. I don't watch golf because I'm not a spectator.

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"Never have been a spectator in any sport."

However, Golf usually is on TV in his house, and there are times when Nicklaus will walk through the room and pause to see who is leading.

One tournament that made him stop was the Quail Hollow Championship, when he saw McIlroy, two days from turning 21, storm to victory by firing a final-round 62.

When McIlroy was at the Honda Classic in March, he arranged to have lunch with Nicklaus at his Bear's Club.

The Northern Irishman later said it was the best two hours he ever spent as he grilled Nicklaus about golf.

"We talked about how to finish and what to do and what you go through in the game and things like that. So I kind of took an interest in him."

McIlroy won by four shots from Phil Mickelson and Nicklaus, as he often does with younger players, wrote the youngster a letter of congratulations.



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see also
McIlroy aims for Irish Open win
25 May 10 |  Golf
McIlroy boosted by Portrush round
04 May 10 |  Golf
McIlroy clinches first PGA title
02 May 10 |  Golf
McIlroy buoyed by Nicklaus advice
10 Mar 10 |  Golf


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