When Andrew “Chubby” Chandler signed Rory McIlroy 18 months ago, he asked Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson for some tips on how to handle a teenage superstar.

“Try to keep them away from the press as much as possible and make sure they haven't got any hangers-on,” said Ferguson, who has had to deal with the hysteria surrounding players like Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo.

McIlroy has no hangers-on but any hopes Chandler had of keeping the press at bay went up in smoke at Doral on Saturday evening when Tiger Woods showered the 19-year-old with compliments and tipped him to become the world’s best player - hopefully after he has retired.

Asked if he could see the world number one spot in McIlroy’s future, Woods said: “There's no doubt.  There's no doubt.  The guy's a talent.  Hopefully while I'm not around, or while I'm around. Certainly he has the talent. We can all see it:  The way he hits the golf ball, the way he putts, the way he can chip, get up‑and‑down.

“He has the composure. 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, and then basically gaining that experience in big events, that takes time, and I mean, geez, he's only 19.  Just give him some time, and I'm sure he'll be there.”

Woods has not seen enough of McIlroy to know that his short game still needs work and Padraig Harrington was quick to point that out at Doral over the weekend.

“Rory hits the ball very well and he is confident," Harrington said. "That is a great combination. But does Tiger know what he plays like?  I haven’t played with Rory in a tournament so you can’t really tell.

“But there is no doubt that he is a fantastic talent and the fact that he works so hard at the game is a great sign. He definitely has it all.”

After receiving plaudits from Ernie Els, Geoff Ogilvy and Jim Furyk in recent days, McIlroy said that Woods' comments took some of the pain out of his Doral disappointment.

“That’s cool," McIlroy said. "He’s probably the greatest golfer that is ever going to live and for him to say that about me is pretty nice.”

The media feeding frenzy surrounding McIlroy has one upside for Chandler, who believes that his diamond in the rough will be bettered prepared now for the hype and excitement of the Masters.

"The up side is that he will go to the Masters much better prepared than he would have been,” Chandler said. “He will be ready for the hype of the Masters and the challenge of it now.”