Rory McIlroy has long had potential of becoming the top ranked player in the world. Since his days as a curly headed teenage amateur from Northern Ireland, many have said it is only a matter of time before the young Ulsterman becomes a dominant force in the game. Praise from his peers has been bountiful, Hunter Mahan, immediately following his win over McIlroy in the WGC Accenture Match Play last week was quick to comment on McIlroy's play of late, " He’s (McIlroy) the best player in the world right now."
Final round playing partner Harris English, who was two strokes off the lead entering the final round stated, "I’ve definitely watched him play the last couple of years. He’s got a great game and he deserves. I think he’s the best player in the world right now, hands down, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. He’s very impressive."
McIlroy has not been oblivious to what he can accomplish with a win at the Honda, "I have to try to focus on what I’ve been trying to do all week, which is hit fairways and hit greens and stay in the present, and not think about everything that could happen."
Rory fulfilled all of his promise today by capturing the coveted top spot in the world golf rankings with a win at the Honda Classic.
Rory, gaming FJ SPORT and Pure Touch Limited, shot rounds of 66, 67, and 66 in the first three rounds to take a two stroke lead into the final day. Opening the day with a routine par, Rory had to scramble for par on the second, holing a 13-footer to remain in the lead. McIlroy continued to make scrambling pars, on the seventh after short-siding himself in thick rough, Rory showed some real toughness chipping on and holing the 12-footer for par to hold onto his one shot cushion over fellow FJ Staffer, Tom Gillis (DryJoys Tour and SciFlex).
On the next, McIlroy made his first birdie of the day to increase his lead. After a par on the 9th, McIlroy carried a three stroke lead into the back nine.
After dropping a shot at the 12th, McIlroy bounced back with a birdie at the next to again increase his lead. McIlroy's short game was sharp, converting difficult up and downs on 14, 15, and 17 to not give any shots back to the field. On the final hole with a two stroke lead, McIlroy hit a towering tee shot right up the middle of the fairway and hit a smart layup shot, leaving just a short wedge into the green. From there, Rory wedged his ball right where he was aimed and two putted for the victory and the world number one ranking.
Following the round Rory commented on his play, "I knew par golf would probably be good enough and that's what I was trying to do, so to shoot one under is very nice and I was able to get the job done. My short game all week has been very good and it's what you need on a tough course like this. You know you are not going to hit every green."
Rory has finished inside the top five in ten of his last eleven starts, two of those top five finishes being victories during his rise to the top.
McIlroy's next start will be the WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral, then McIlroy will take a few weeks off to prepare for the Masters.