Honda Classic 2012: What It Means for Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods

James MaahsContributor IIIMarch 5, 2012

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 28:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and Tiger Woods of the USA during the third round of Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on January 28, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy is now officially the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world, thanks to a win at the Honda Classic on Sunday.

But aside from a Honda Classic title and a No. 1 ranking, it now means that Rory McIlroy is the man to beat, not Tiger Woods.

It was only a matter of time before the talented young kid took the reins as the best golfer in the world. McIlroy has been one of the most consistent golfers on the PGA Tour as of late.

Tiger has been heading in the opposite direction the past two years but has shown signs of finding his game. Carding a final-round 62 is a bright spot that Woods can take with him as he competes next week. 

But the question remains: What does McIlroy's win mean for both him and Tiger Woods?

For McIlroy it's another step closer to domination—domination of a game that once feared Tiger Woods. 

For Tiger it's another sign that his era is on the down turn. His time is almost over, and whatever punch is left will have to come up soon.

With the Masters around the corner, all sights are set on who the favorite will be heading into the tournament. Tiger at one point was nearly always favored, but with the emergence of golf superstar McIlroy, that seems to have ended. 

Clearly the favorite will be McIlroy, but that doesn't mean Tiger won't try to steal the show. Sure, he hasn't won in two-plus years, and time is not on his side. But from what we have seen not only on Sunday but in recent weeks, Tiger is getting his game back, piece by piece.

For now McIlroy will enjoy his ascent to the top, while Tiger is in a position that we have never seen: Tiger is the underdog. 

The tides they are a changing, and we are witnessing a younger generation of golf stars start to dismantle what was the best player in the world at one point.