Be patient and the wins will come, Nicklaus tells McIlroy

MIAMI Tue Mar 9, 2010 5:02pm EST

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches his tee shot on the third hole during the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship golf tournament in Marana, Arizona February 18, 2010. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches his tee shot on the third hole during the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship golf tournament in Marana, Arizona February 18, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Matt Sullivan

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MIAMI (Reuters) - Jack Nicklaus has told Britain's Rory McIlroy that he needs to add patience to his armory if he is to continue his climb up golf's world rankings.

The 20-year-old from Northern Ireland has risen swiftly to ninth in the world rankings but has just a solitary win from the European Tour.

McIlroy, who has joined the PGA Tour this year, told reporters that he had lunch last week with 18-times major winner Nicklaus and received a few tips from the maestro.

"I think one of the biggest things that I took from it was patience, and just to learn to wait and learn to bide your time and know that if you believe in yourself that it will happen; it will happen one of these days so it's just a matter of waiting and staying patient. That was one of the big things I got from him," McIlroy told reporters after practice for this week's WGC-CA Championship.

McIlroy is to work with sports psychologist Bob Rotella, who has worked with a number of leading golfers, in an attempt to improve his mental approach to the game and the lunch with Nicklaus allowed him a chance to tap the 'Golden Bear' for suggestions.

"It was an unbelievable experience. He sort of got in touch with us and he heard that I was going to work with Bob Rotella just to sort of work out a mental approach to things.

"He's (Nicklaus) been the best at winning. One of the reasons why I wanted to go to Bob was to try to finish the job off a bit more and be a bit more clinical and Jack was probably the most clinical of them all.

"It was great to sit down and talk to him and see his approach to winning and what went through his head whenever he was in contention and what things he might have done differently than other people. You know, it was probably the best 90 minutes I've spent in a long time," he said.

McIlroy said that Nicklaus, who won 73 times on the PGA Tour, had indicated that a golfer needs to accept that sometimes the best performance doesn't always bring the best result.

"I think one of the biggest things he said to me, was that the best ever tournament he played, he didn't win. He said he played his best ever at The (British) Open in 1977 at Turnberry, the one Tom Watson won. He played the best he played and he didn't win. He said there were other times where he didn't play his best but he got the job done," said McIlroy.

"I felt very privileged to have lunch with him and just pick his brain. He's won 18 major championships and just to get some of that knowledge and to just learn from it was just incredible."

(Editing by Miles Evans)

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