Less than a year since his Masters meltdown – a collapse many people thought would leave long-lasting scars – Rory McIlroy is golf’s new world No. 1.
And the way the 22-year-old held off a charging Tiger Woods to win the Honda Classic in Florida last night must have a lot of the same people believing he could be there for a long, long time.
Back-to-form Woods has never shot a lower closing round than his 62, but not even a birdie-eagle finish knocked the Northern Ireland off his stride to glory.
Nothing less than victory was going to be good enough to end Luke Donald’s nine-month reign and, with Woods in the clubhouse one behind, McIlroy birdied the 13th, twice got up and down from bunkers on danger holes and parred in for a fabulous two-shot win.
“It’s very special,” said McIlroy. “When I was ten or eleven I was interviewed and said I wanted to be the best player in the world and I wanted to win majors.”