Sport Golf

Wednesday 29 January 2020

Holywood star joins elite club

Rory McIlroy holds the winner's trophy after winning the Honda Classic PGA golf tournament at PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens on March 4. The win meant Rory became golf's new world number one player. Photo: Reuters
Rory McIlroy holds the winner's trophy after winning the Honda Classic PGA golf tournament at PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens on March 4. The win meant Rory became golf's new world number one player. Photo: Reuters
Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, reacts 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. Photo: AP
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland kisses the winner's trophy after becoming golf's new world number one player on the 18th green with his win in the Honda Classic PGA golf tournament at PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens March 4, 2012. REUTERS
Claims: Tiger Woods. Photo: Reuters

RORY McILROY joined one of the most exclusive clubs in golf yesterday as he became only the 16th World No 1 since the official rankings were first formulated prior to the US Masters in 1986.

At age 22, McIlroy is the second-youngest player to reach the top of the world. Tiger Woods was 21 when he replaced Greg Norman at No 1 on June 15, 1997, two months after his Major championship breakthrough at the US Masters.

Woods has dominated the rankings, chalking up an unrivalled 623 weeks at the summit, though Lee Westwood signalled a new era of European supremacy by knocking Tiger off the top on October 31, 2010.

The top three slots were filled by Europeans, Bernhard Langer, Seve Ballesteros and Sandy Lyle, when the official rankings started.

Twenty six years later, McIlroy, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer rule the roost. McIlroy is the first Irish golfer to reach No 1.

The highest ranking achieved by three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington was No 3 in 2008.

GOLFERS WHO MADE IT TO THE TOP OF THE WORLD

Weeks Player (country) Major wins

623 Tiger Woods (USA) 14

331 Greg Norman( Aus) 2

97 Nick Faldo (Eng) 6

61 Seve Ballesteros (Esp) 5

50 Ian Woosnam (Wal) 1

44 Nick Price (Zim) 3

40 Luke Donald (Eng) 0

32 Vijay Singh (Fiji) 3

22 Lee Westwood (Eng) 0

16 Fred Couples (USA) 1

15 David Duval (USA) 1

9 Ernie Els (SA) 3

8 Martin Kaymer (Ger) 1

3 Bernhard Langer (Ger) 2

1 Tom Lehman (USA) 1

1 Rory McIlroy (Irl) 1

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