Rory McIlroy of United Kingdom holds 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, Florida, March 4, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]
* Born May 4, 1989, in Holywood, Northern Ireland
* Supplied early evidence of his golfing skills when he hit a 40-yard drive at the age of two.
* Represented Europe at the 2004 Junior Ryder Cup and capped a glittering amateur career by reaching the top of the world rankings and winning the European championship in 2006.
* Caught the eye with a superb opening 68 in the 2007 British Open at Carnoustie, the only bogey-free round of the day, before turning professional after the Walker Cup two months later.
* Made the cut in his first professional event, the British Masters, before finishing third in his next appearance at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
* Enjoyed a successful first full season on the European Tour in 2008 with six top-10s, including second place at the European Masters. In November of that year, he was beaten in a playoff by China's Lin Wen-tang for the European Tour co-sanctioned Hong Kong Open.
European tour breakthrough
* Played in 11 events on the 2009 US PGA Tour, tying for 10th at the US Open and placing joint third at the PGA Championship. Claimed his first European Tour title at the 2009 Dubai Desert Classic by one stroke over Justin Rose and finishing second behind Lee Westwood in the 2009 European order of merit.
* Tiger Woods tipped McIlroy as a future world number one while talking to reporters at the 2009 WGC-CA Championship in Miami. "He has all of the components to be the best in the world, there's no doubt," Woods said. "It's just a matter of time and experience in big events."
* McIlroy produced a storming rookie season on the PGA Tour in 2010 and clinched his first title on the US circuit after shooting a course record 10-under-par 62 to win the Quail Hollow Championship by four strokes.
* Opened the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews with a sizzling record-equalling 63 before ending the week in a tie for third and shared third place at the PGA Championship. Made his Ryder Cup debut later that year at Celtic Manor where he posted a 1-1-2 record.
* Blew a four shot lead in the final round of the 2011 Masters at Augusta, closing with an 80 to finish tied for 15th.
* Rebounded from his Masters meltdown to win the 2011 US Open by eight strokes with a record score of 16 under par.
* Won the 2012 Honda Classic in Florida to replace Luke Donald at the top of the PGA rankings, becoming the 16th player and second youngest to become number one.