McIlroy crowned world number one

It’s been a long journey from his professional tournament debut at the 2005 British Masters as a 16-year-old amateur to becoming the new world number one with his victory at the Honda Classic today for 22-year-old Rory McIlroy.

In that first tournament appearance he crashed and burned to finish third last with rounds of 82 and 81 for a total of +19.

It would be more than a year until the kid from Northern Ireland, still an amateur at that stage, would make the cut in a Tour event at the 2007 Dubai Desert Classic.

Rory McIlroy Rory McIlroy has been crowned the new world number one following his two-stroke victory at the Honda Classic

It was perhaps fitting that the player that was chasing down McIlroy over the final round today was former world number one, Tiger Woods.

McIlroy is the 16th player to be crowned world number one and the second youngest behind Tiger Woods, who was 21 when he first went to No. 1 following his 1997 US Open victory.

A resurgent Woods fired a closing round of 8-under (62) to finish the tournament in equal 2nd place and just two strokes from McIlroy.

“It meant a lot to go out there and produce the golf that I needed to do to get the job done. It was always a dream of mine to become the world number one and the best player in the world or whatever you want to call it,” explained McIlroy.

“But I didn’t know that I would be able to get here this quickly. It’s taken a little bit of time, but you know, it’s fantastic to be here at the minute and hopefully I can hold onto it for a little longer.

Number One Ranked Players Since 1986

Weeks at #1PlayerCountry
623Tiger WoodsUnited States
331Greg NormanAustralia
97Nick FaldoEngland
61Seve BallesterosSpain
50Ian WoosnamWales
44Nick PriceZimbabwe
40Luke DonaldEngland
32Vijay SinghFiji
22Lee WestwoodEngland
16Fred CouplesUnited States
15David DuvalUnited States
9Ernie ElsSouth Africa
8Martin KaymerGermany
3Bernhard LangerGermany
1Tom LehmanUnited States