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McDowell hails Rory as 'best' he has ever seen

GRAEME McDowell congratulated Rory McIlroy for becoming number one in the world, saying: "He's the best player I've seen."

McIlroy, golf's man of the moment, yesterday held off a challenge from the sport's last big star, Tiger Woods, to win the Honda Classic in Florida and replace Luke Donald at the top of the rankings.

Woods carded an eight-under-par 62 but, coming from nine behind, it was not enough to stop McIlroy.

"He deserves it," said McDowell. "I think he's the best player on the planet right now. He's the best player I've ever seen tee-to-green."

McIlroy's putting has often been questioned, but it rescued him on the final day.

On the front nine he saved pars from 13, eight and 12 feet and all day he did not miss from under 10 feet.

McDowell added: "As soon as he learned how to putt, he was going to be a force, and you're starting to see that."