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McIlroy excites world with rise to the top

other Updated: Mar 05, 2012 23:28 IST
Reuters
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Rory McIlroy was proclaimed as golf's next truly great player after winning the Honda Classic on Sunday and taking over as the world's number one ranked player.

Many had expected McIlroy to reach the top and the Northern Irishman fulfilled those prophesies when he officially became the world number one, at just 22 years old.

"He's the real deal," said Johnny Miller, a 25-time winner on the PGA Tour and now a respected television commentator. "He is just going to get better, he could have a run now where he could separate from numbers two and three."

Only Tiger Woods, who produced the best final-round of his life on Sunday only to finish tied for second behind McIlroy, has reached the top spot at a younger age.

"I think it is great for golf. It creates a lot of interest and I'd love to be able to go down the stretch with him a lot more," said McIlroy.

"It was always a dream of mine to become the world number one, the best player in the world, whatever you want to call it. "But I didn't know what I would be able to get here this quickly. Hopefully I can hold onto it for a little longer."

McIlroy replaced Luke Donald as the top ranked golfer in the world. Neither Donald nor Lee Westwood have won a major championship but McIlroy rebounded from the Masters to win last year's U.S. Open, with a tournament record score of 16-under-par. His form of late has been the definition of consistency, he had finished out of the top five just once in the ten ranked events prior to the Honda.

"That's pretty impressive playing," said Woods. "That's what you have to do."

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