Rory on Tiger’s 82 wins: ‘I’ll never get there’

Rory McIlroy may be one of the best golfers in the world and be fresh off a dominant PGA Tour season in which he won his second FedExCup and the Player of the Year award.

Even he knows, however, that catching Tiger Woods is nearly impossible — not just for him, but for anybody.

Woods picked up his 82nd career PGA Tour win on Sunday at the Zozo Championship in Japan, tying Sam Snead’s coveted all-time wins record.

“You see that 82 number, I’ll never get there,” McIlroy said, via GolfTV. “I’m a realist and I know that 82 PGA Tour wins is something that in this day and age is probably not going to be surpassed.”

McIlroy, in reality, is probably right.

Woods is already so far ahead of the rest of the field with his win totals. Phil Mickelson is the closest active player on Tour to him with 44 career wins, an impressive feat in its own right. Yet Mickelson, at 50 years old, likely doesn’t even stand a chance to top Woods — especially with his recent struggles out on the course.

McIlroy has 17 wins on Tour himself, thanks to the three he picked up last season, and is now the No. 2 golfer in the world behind just Brooks Koepka — who only has seven career wins, albeit four of those came at major championships.

Yet when Woods was 30 years old, the same age McIlroy is now, he had amassed 50 wins on Tour.

“I feel like I’ve had a decent PGA Tour career, and I’ve had 17 [wins],” McIlroy said, via GolfTV. “The numbers are so different.”

While Woods’ numbers are (likely) unattainable, McIlroy has a slightly different set of goals in mind for the rest of his golf career — and, like so many other players in the sport, is using Woods as motivation to get there.

“I’ve played with him a lot and he’s obviously a great golfer, but I know on my day I can play just as good if not better,” McIlroy said, via GolfTV. “I’m never going to get to those numbers, but it motivates me to play well and to play better and to win more.

“I don’t know what that number is, but I’ve always said I want to be the best player to have come from the part of the world that I come from … That will be a good start. Then from there, just try to go on and play the best I can.”

Tiger Woods picked up his 82nd PGA Tour win Sunday, a mark that Rory McIlroy — who holds 17 wins himself — doesn’t think he can ever catch. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Tiger Woods picked up his 82nd PGA Tour win Sunday, a mark that Rory McIlroy — who holds 17 wins himself — doesn’t think he can ever catch. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Tiger Woods picked up his 82nd PGA Tour win Sunday, a mark that Rory McIlroy — who holds 17 wins himself — doesn’t think he can ever catch. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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