Stars athletes come in all shapes and sizes.

When Tiger Woods burst on to the scene in the mid-1990s, there was a sense of anticipation. A sport that desperately needed an injection of youth and a spokesman appeared to have found one in a teenaged Southern Californian with a unique name.

Perhaps surprisingly, Woods not only lived up to expectations but in some ways exceeded them. He appeared unstoppable within the first five years of his career.

It's possible a new phenom in the mold of Tiger Woods has emerged, and that may be a far-reaching statement considering how hard it is to put anyone in Woods's class.

In the modern era, Woods has cemented himself as a golf legend, having won 14 Major Championships, and if he regains his form, that total may grow. But as new golf pros emerge, it's hard to pinpoint which ones will stand out.

Well one is standing out: Rory McIlroy.

The 21-year-old got off to an auspicious start at the Masters. His seven-under-par 65, placed him at the top of the leaderboard after the first round.

I truly believe this is the next superstar that we have in golf, said former U.S. Open champion Andy North. If he's not the number one in the world in a couple of years, I would be shocked.

The Northern Irishman is currently ranked ninth in the world. McIlroy has already had great showings in the past two years in Major Championships, placing in a tie for third three times. His worst showing was tying for 20th at the 2010 Masters.

This is certainly a talent to be reckon with. He already has one of the finest swings in golf.

From a personality standpoint, McIlroy has been consistently gracious and honest. Those are two qualities that will serve him well with his upcoming fame.

McIlroy's short game may need some work, though. He recently insisted that a short game isn't needed to win tournaments, a lesson he learned over lunch with the most successful golf champion in the sports' history, Jack Nicklaus.

One golf pro described McIlroy this way: He has all the components to be the best player in the world.

Curious to know which golfer said that?

Tiger Woods.

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