There's only one Tiger Woods but Rory McIlroy can still fill some of the void left by the world No 1 on the 2010 PGA Tour.

With Woods taking an “indefinite” break from the game to sort out his marriage problems, McIlroy is being tipped as one of the heirs to the throne.

The Holywood hotshot began his winter break last week but still jumped two places up the rankings to a career-high as World No 9.

That makes him the highest ranked 20 year old of all time (bettering Sergio Garcia in 2000) and there’s no reason why he can’t show the world that he’s more than just a Tiger cub.

Backing McIlroy’s decision to chase the American Dream, Darren Clarke said: “It will benefit him competing against the guys that are perceived to be the best players in the world on the PGA Tour. 

“Competing against Tiger on a weekly basis , whenever Tiger decides to play, will benefit him. If you want to improve, you have got to play against the best.”

Woods tipped McIlroy to take over from him as world No 1 and hoped that it wouldn't happen while he was still in the game.

Woods said: "He has all of the components to be the best player in the world, there's no doubt. It's just a matter of time and experience."

With Woods now damaged goods for blue chip sponsors like Accenture, PepsiCo and Gillette, a stellar year for McIlroy will create opportunities to add to his bulging bank balance.

And while the Irish starlet will be under massive pressure to live up to his billing, European No 1 Lee Westwood believes he’s got the game to triumph in the US.

Westwood said: “Rory flights the ball very high. He has got the type of game that is going to suit the States. I don’t see too many weaknesses in his game and I expect him to have a successful year over there.”

Playing more in America can he exhausting but McIlroy’s manager Chubby Chandler plans to cut out two of Europe's minor events to lighten the load.

Chandler said: “He has dreamt about it for the last ten years. He has watched the American golf on telly every night since he was a kid and wanted to be a part of the PGA Tour.

“He misses two European Tour events, Switzerland and probably the Wales Open and instead he will play the four American play-off events. That’s the big difference. So it sounds like two more events but we will chop two off somewhere.

“The best players are just not going to play in the smaller tournaments. They want to try and challenge themselves against the best players as often as they can and be as successful as they can.”