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Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Honda Classic produces a new world No. 1

Tiger Woods tried to steal the show during the final round of The Honda Classic with his final round 62, but Rory McIlroy captured the headline.  Woods' birdie-eagle finish vaulted him to the clubhouse lead at 10-under-par 270, but McIlroy played steady on the back nine and wouldn't let Woods rattle him.

Here are some final round notes:
  • For much of the front nine, McIlroy played the role that Woods played in his prime of his career by sinking a number of medium-range par putts. 
  • Woods has shown signs of breaking out of his PGA TOUR drought at various points, but never like this on a final round Sunday with a chance to win.  His 62 was the lowest final round on the PGA TOUR this year and the lowest final round of Woods' career.
  • Tom Gillis had a career best finish with his tie for second, as did Brian Harman with a T12. 
  • Dicky Pride had a top-10 in back to back events for the first time in his 18-year PGA TOUR career.
  • Jimmy Walker (81) and Ryan Moore (82) each signed for snowmen in the final round.
As for McIlroy's ascension to world No. 1, this has seemed like something destined to happen; maybe as far back as his victory at Quail Hollow in 2010, but definetely since his 2011 U.S. Open win at Congressional.  Since Tiger Woods gave up his post atop the golf world on October 30th, 2010, Lee Westwood (twice), Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald have all rented space as the world's top golfer.  While McIlroy may have to fend off Donald and Westwood in the short term, it seems like he's the pedigree of golfer that could make a Tiger Woods or Greg Norman type run atop the golf landscape.

In the short term, it looks like Doral will see a battle like none before it with Rory, Tiger and Phil all in top form and recent Major winners like Charl Schwartzel and Graeme McDowell performing nicely as well. 

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