October 24, 2020

McIlroy wins Honda and becomes golf’s new No. 1

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Rory McIlroy holds the trophy after winning the Honda Classic golf tournament in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Sunday, March 4, 2012. McIlroy became the top-ranked golfer in the world. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Rory McIlroy, the new No. 1 player in golf, is not easily rattled.

He didn’t see a scoreboard in the final round of the Honda Classic until he walked onto the eighth green, looked at the large video screen to his left and saw that Tiger Woods — who started the day nine shots behind — already was tied for fourth, four shots behind.

McIlroy buried a 10-foot putt for his first birdie of the day.

The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland finally played it safe at the end, making par on the last hole for a 1-under 69 that was meaningful in so many ways.

It made him the 16th player to be No. 1 in the world, and the second-youngest behind Woods, who was 21 when he first reached No. 1 after the 1997 U.S. Open.

It was his fifth career win, three of those on the PGA Tour, which includes his record-setting performance last year at Congressional to win the U.S. Open.

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