Rory McIlroy was hitting 40-yard drives at the age of two. By eight he was the youngest full member of the Holywood Golf Club, which sits just outside of Belfast, and by 11 he was shooting level par around the Club’s par-69 course. It is not entirely by coincidence that McIlroy’s story so closely resembles that of Tiger Woods’ legendary childhood. Growing up in Northern Ireland, he studied Woods’ career and aspired, from a very young age, to emulate the star player.
During this year’s Honda Classic at PGA National, which took place on March 4, McIlroy not only claimed victory over his childhood hero (Woods came in tied for second) coming in one-under-par 69 for a 72-hole total of 12-under 268, but was also named the No. 1 player in the world. At 22, he is the second youngest player to achieve the title – the first being Woods, fifteen years ago. McIlroy told the press, “It was always a dream of mine to become the world No. 1 and the best player in the world or whatever you want to call it, but I didn’t know that I would be able to get here this quickly … Hopefully, I can hold onto it for a little longer.”