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Rory McIlroy survives Tiger Woods best-ever finish

Tiger Woods shot a 62 Sunday, his best final round ever. But it wasn't enough to catch Rory McIlroy in the Honda Classic. McIlroy is now the world's No. 1 golfer.

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, throws his ball after winning the Honda Classic golf tournament at 12 under par, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Sunday, March 4, 2012. McIlroy became the top-ranked golfer in the world.

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

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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 No. 1 ranked player.

Many had expected McIlroy to reach the top and the Northern Irishman fulfilled those prophesies when he officially became the world No. 1, 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 (62) only to finish tied for second behind McIlroy, has reached the top spot at a younger age than Woods did.

IN PICTURES: Tiger Woods through the years

McIlroy blew a four-stroke lead at last year's Masters and was suddenly under pressure again on Sunday, with Woods on the prowl.

But McIlroy showed much he had learned from his Augusta meltdown, proving he has the nerves and maturity to match his ball striking, holding off the best player of his generation and setting the stage for an epic rivalry.


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