Proud Dad Gerry McIlroy reckons Rory’s Masters meltdown was the key to his rise to world No 1.
Now he believes his son can forget all about the world rankings and look forward to battling for more majors with Tiger Woods roaring back to form in Palm Beach.
Gerry said: “I have noticed Rory’s maturity over the last year. It’s since the Masters really. He learned a lot from that day.
“Seeing him go to No 1, it’s a proud moment. In the last year he has put so much work into it. Rory’s just so happy it’s happened and he’s No 1.”
The debate over when McIlroy would get to No 1 has been raging for three years.
Ernie Els, Geoff Ogilvy and even Woods tipped the Irish star to make it to the top in 2009 when he excelled in the WGC-Accenture Match Play by reaching the quarter-finals.
His ascent appeared inevitable following his eight-stroke win in last year’s US Open. But Gerry McIlroy is just pleased that his son has achieved the milestone and can now concentrate on bigger things.
“It’s done and dusted now and he can just get on with it,” Gerry said on Sunday night.
McIlroy Snr and his wife Rosie took multiple jobs to pay for Rory’s golfing “education.”
And he believes it was hard work that got his son to the top of the game - especially since he blew the Masters last year.
McIlroy led by four strokes with a round to go at Augusta National but imploded on the back nine and crashed to 15th place after a final round 80.
The Co Down man’s putting let him down that day but he’s improved massively since then, missing nothing inside 10 feet on Sunday.
He also got the ball up and down 21 out of 25 times during the week to top the scrambling statistics.
Gerry said: “His short game was great, but that’s just practice. Rory’s obviously believed that the more you put into it the more you get out of it.”
As for the future, former bar manager Gerry reckons the game is in a wonderful state of health with the likes of Lee Westwood, Phil Mickleson and now Woods all playing well.
He added: “Tiger was brilliant. It’s great for him and in a way it’s great for Rory and great for golf.”