Rory McIlroy is well on track to deliver a major tally that reflects his evident talent, according to Padraig Harrington.
The Northern Irishman, who has four majors to his name, will seek to end a four-year drought at Carnoustie this week, with a second Open title on his radar.
McIlroy has claimed top-five finishes on his last two outings at golf's oldest major and Harrington has no concerns over the 29-year-old's current barren patch.
"Clearly his career is now solely based on how he does in the majors. There seems to be no other yardstick for Rory and that's probably the yardstick he uses himself," said Harrington, a two-time winner of the Claret Jug who triumphed the last time the tournament hosted at Carnoustie in 2007.
"I think back in 2011 he had stolen a march on the field when it came to driving the golf ball, which brought tremendous confidence to his game.
"I think at this stage players have caught up. There's many players who drive the ball comparable and have certainly eaten into that advantage.
"Really in 2011 he was competing against himself, similar to how Tiger [Woods] would have been for most of his career, I think there's many guys he's competing against now and it's just a tougher ask.
"The beauty for Rory is he's still very young, he's still very capable, and with patience those majors will come."
Indeed, Harrington is confident McIlroy will put himself in the top echelon of golfing greats, insisting more time is needed before his career can be properly assessed.
"Rory is well on pace to get into double digits with majors, but it has got harder," he added.
"There's no doubt there's more players out there who are capable of having a big week and a big game for a major. It makes it tough.
"Some of the best players have still got one or no or two majors, so Rory's doing pretty well at four."
McIlroy will tee off alongside Marc Leishman and Thorbjorn Olesen in Thursday's opening round.
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