Honda Classic 2012: Rory McIlroy Poised to Be No. 1

Immer Chriswell@@immerrangeCorrespondent IMarch 3, 2012

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - MARCH 03:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his tee shot on the fifth hole during the third round of the Honda Classic at PGA National on March 3, 2012 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The revolving door that is the top spot in the world may just be turned again. After holding onto the position for just short of a year as of now, Luke Donald seems to be less than stressed about losing his No. 1 ranking. He's enjoying time home with his daughters this weekend, and may watch Rory McIlroy take over golf's top spot should the young Irishman win.

Thus far, McIlroy is playing the most consistent golf of anyone at the tournament, shooting rounds of 66, 67 and another 66 today.

That is what he will need heading into tomorrow to prevail. With a two-stroke cushion, McIlroy can not afford to tap on the brakes. He has to drive home the win, and leave the field in his dust if he can.

The players chasing him, trying to play the spoiler role?

Harris English is one of them. English is a PGA Tour rookie, and last year won on the Nationwide Tour as an amateur. He is tied for third in greens in regulation, which means if his putter gets hot that he could easily hunt down Rory.

Tom Gillis is ranked tied for sixth for putts per round, and only two strokes off. With his strokes gained-putting stat at the No. 1 spot, he may just gain enough strokes on McIlroy to pull off a heavy underdog situation.

Keegan Bradley is sitting healthy at seven under par, however it would take a special round from him to pull off the four-stroke comeback. Bradley is one of the more consistent golfers statistically tomorrow, and he needs to improve upon that to be a mover on Sunday. Then there's Brian Harman, who we know can go low, as he now hold's PGA National's course record at 61.

Simply put, the golfers behind Rory all have something going for them that could bring them into contention. 

However, one can not help but think of last week's loss at the hands of Hunter Mahan. McIlroy, who had played so well up until the final, met his match, and never led for the duration of the match.

And then if you think back a little bit further, there's last year's Masters final round, which we all know ended somewhere near the patio of a person's house.

Tomorrow will be a day of immense pressure for McIlroy. He has won a major in spectacular fashion, yes. However, the ascension to the World No. 1 golf ranking is the culmination of his career's work (not too long a career thus far, but still).

However, given all the facts, all the experiences McIlroy has gained, it's hard to see him faltering tomorrow. It really is. Right now, in the opening weeks of the world golf season, he has been the best player.

I don't know how long his first stint will last as the world's top golfer, but rest assured knowing that tomorrow is the first of many times you will see Rory McIlroy associated with being ranked as the world's No. 1 golfer.