The Northern Ireland golfer, who won the Race to Dubai, finished comfortably ahead of Luke Donald and Tiger Woods in the final rankings for the year.
Rory McIlroy finishes 2012 at top of golf world rankings
Rory McIlroy has capped off his remarkable year by finishing 2012 as the world's number one golfer for the first time.
The 23-year-old Ulsterman won four tournaments during the year, including his second major at the USPGA Championships in August and the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai last month.
That allowed him to break free of a year-long logjam atop the rankings involving himself, Donald and Lee Westwood.
Charl Schwartzel and Sergio Garcia end the year 14th and 16th in the world respectively after their weekend wins in South Africa and Malaysia.
Dane Thorbjorn Olesen held on to 50th spot by 0.01 ranking points from Australian Geoff Ogilvy and so earns himself a US Masters debut next April.
Top 10 (end of 2011 position in brackets):
1. (3) Rory McIlroy (NIR) 13.22pts
2. (1) Luke Donald (ENG) 8.62
3. (23) Tiger Woods (USA) 8.53
4. (18) Justin Rose (ENG) 6.42
5. (5) Adam Scott (AUS) 6.21
6. (40) Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 6.14
7. (2) Lee Westwood (ENG) 6.03
8. (21) Bubba Watson (USA) 5.30
9. (33) Jason Dufner (USA) 5.29
10. (38) Brandt Snedeker (USA) 5.23
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