Rory McIlroy, Ireland

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In a professional career spanning just less than five years, Rory McIlroy's sensational skill and accuracy have seen him acknowledged among the world's greatest golfers, despite the fact that he is only 22 years old.

The Northern Irishman's unprecedented and stunning performance at last year's US Open - which represented his first major title - was a sign of things to come for the hugely talented and promising young player.

During the event, McIlroy enjoyed an eight-shot lead over some of the world's best players - including Jason Day and Lee Westwood - to take the crown at the Congressional Country Club in Maryland.

He achieved the mean feat - which saw him become the youngest US Open winner since Bobby Jones in 1923 - by shooting a final round of 69 to end the proceedings on 16-under-par at the prestigious event.

The win came shortly after he suffered a blow at that year's Masters Tournament, where he forfeited a four-shot lead going into the last day's play.

Following his win, the Northern Irishman said: "The whole week has been incredible - I could not have asked for any more and I am so happy to hold this trophy."

"For such a small nation to win two US Opens in a row is pretty special. As Graeme [McDowell] said last year, there will be a lot of pints of Guinness going down."

Born in Holywood, County Down in Northern Ireland in 1989, McIlroy was introduced to the sport at the exceptionally young age of 18 months by his father Gerry, which resulted in him developing his talent early on - including a 40-yard drive at just two years old.

He became the youngest member at the Holywood Golf Club at the age of seven, beginning his early training with Michael Bannon - his current trainer and dedicated mentor.

Despite signing a letter of intent to play collegiate golf at East Tennessee State University in 2004, the 22-year-old forwent the scholarship following a win at the 2005 West Ireland Championship and the Irish Close Championship, where he became the youngest ever victor.

His astonishing success in such a short time has seen McIlroy catapult up in the official golf world rankings, despite being held of the top spot by English professionals Lee Westwood and Luke Donald on several occasions.

Following an impressive performance at last weekend's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship - where he came in second place to England's Robert Rock - the talented player has moved up to second on the prestigious list.

Career Wins 
September 2012 - BMW Championship
Spetember 2012 - Deutsche Bank Championship
August 2012 - PGA Championship
March 2012 - THe Honda Classic
Dec 2011 - UBS Hong Kong Open
June 2011 - US Open at Congressional County Club
2010 - Quail Hollow
2009 - Dubai Desert Classic

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