There's a lot to smile about for Rory McIlroy.
McIlroy's earned it, and anything else would be an injustice.
Since 1997, Woods has embodied Theodore Roosevelt's ideology, "speak softly and carry a big stick," and he's captivated the golfing world in the process.
However, the spotlight has now officially shifted to the curly-haired kid from Northern Ireland.
On the heels of his seemingly debilitating Masters collapse in 2011, McIlroy reassured us of his super-stardom by cruising to two major championship victories; the 2011 U.S. Open and the 2012 PGA Championship, winning both by an unheralded eight shots.
From the moment that Woods' scandal surfaced in November 2009, the PGA has been on a scavenger hunt for a new face of golf, in spite of their unwavering public support of Tiger.
Rory appears to be the golden boy that PGA commissioner Tim Finchem has been praying for.
When Tiger's 281-week reign at world No. 1 ended in October 2010, four guys took turns at the top.
Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald and most recently Rory McIlroy.
None of them managed to garner people's infatuation like McIlroy has.
Here are four validating reasons why McIlroy should be the next face of golf.
Tiger Woods off to the side as Rory McIlroy takes center stage.
For years, athletes, media and fans alike have tried to interpret what the "It" factor means.
However, part of the beauty of the "It" factor is this mysterious, indescribable distinction.
McIlroy is a marketing dream. Plus, he's got a serious, battle-tested game. He's not an overhyped unfulfilled talent like golfing counterpart Michelle Wie.
This kid is charismatic, unfettered, has a picture-perfect swing and a gorgeous girlfriend in tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.
His charm is ultimately personified in that genuine smile that only a 23-year-old can sport.
Whatever the definition of the "It" factor is; Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer clearly didn't have it.
Golf still has Tiger and his appeal, but McIlroy is ready to start carrying the sport on his youthful shoulders.
One of the biggest reasons why Rory can handle being the face of golf is because he's embraced being the world No. 1 and everything that comes with it.
Lofty expectations were set for McIlroy from the day he stepped on the tee as a 17-year-old in 2007, but he's always handled things in stride and never been intimidated.
His strong character and respect has got him through the ebbs and flows of the earlier years and prepared him for the future.
Fast-forward to 2012; when McIlroy plays at his best, there's nobody in the field who is as good as him.
He's just like Tiger at 23.
The same way that we know that birds fly south for the winter, we know that this kid is on an accelerated path for golf royalty.
Rory McIlroy posing after winning the BMW Championship.
About a month ago, when McIlroy won the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana, he did so by beating 11 other players in the hunt with a combined 25 major titles between them.
Among those that he edged out on that Sunday were Westwood, Mickelson and his childhood hero, Tiger Woods.
Tiger's comments that day cemented what many have been thinking (via Golf.com): "Rory's putting on a show out there."
That's high praise, especially when it comes from a man of few words.
McIlroy's personality, coupled with his talent, has catapulted him into the hot spotlight.
Ever since McIlroy started overshadowing Tiger, people are seeing that there's finally someone who can dominate the game every week and be very engaging.
Rory's youthful energy and magnetic persona only adds to the list of reasons why he should be the PGA's poster-child.