Nicklaus: 'McIlroy has to work hard'

Jack Nicklaus, golf's most decorated player with 18 majors, has termed Rory McIlroy a 'great' player, but has added that the Northern Irishman must work hard to become the world's greatest.

NicklausMcIlroy - Cropped

Jack Nicklaus (left)..."Rory McIlroy has established himself as one of the great players that has ever played the game."

Jack Nicklaus says Rory McIlroy must improve his game if he is to dominate the golfing world in the future. The Northern Irishman approaches the turn of the year as World No. 2 and with his best result at a major in 2016 having come at The Open, where he tied for fifth.

Nicklaus, golf's most decorated player with 18 majors, says it is up to McIlroy to display that he has the drive and determination to be considered the sport's greatest.

> Read: McIlroy balances sub-par 2016 with 'lifelong dream'

McIlroy has four major titles to his name, the last of those coming at the 2014 US PGA Championship, with the Masters the only one still to evade his grasp.

"Rory is one of those young men who has got a tremendous amount of talent," Nicklaus told BBC Sport. "He has won and played on his talent to this point. If he wishes to dominate and go forward then he's got to improve. He has to work hard, he's got to focus on what he is trying to do and it is up to him. Certainly, he has all the tools to be able to do it - it is just whether he has the desire and the willingness to give up some other things.

"And that's his call. I mean, whatever Rory does, he has established himself as one of the great players that has ever played the game. Whether he wants to be the greatest player to have played the game, that's his determination and it's his decision whether he wants to make that effort to try to do that."