McIlroy won his maiden professional event in Dubai
Rory McIlroy has moved up to 16th position in the world rankings after his maiden European Tour win in the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday.
It is the first time that the 19-year-old from Holywood, the sixth teenager to win on the European Tour, has entered the world's top 20.
McIlroy said only a week ago that making into the top 20 was one of his goals for the year.
He lies one place behind Justin Rose, who was second to McIlroy in Dubai.
McIlroy's previous best ranking was 35th after finishing joint fifth in the Abu Dhabi Championship two weeks ago.
He was then ranked 39th after tying for 46th at the Qatar Masters last week.
The former Walker Cup player has been a professional for less than 18 months and at the end of August last year he stood 172nd.
McIlroy does not intend competing on the European Tour again until the Irish Open in mid-May and will take in several tournaments in the United States before then.
His World Championship debut will be at the Accenture Match Play in Arizona in three weeks' time and then he travels to Florida and Texas, before heading to Georgia for the Masters at Augusta from 9-12 April.
Having thought that a world top-20 spot was a reasonable target to have for the end of the year, not the first week in February McIlroy admitted he would have to "reassess his goals".
"I've moved up a step. Success only makes you more motivated to try to do better - I realise I've become a very good player and I've got a lot of years to progress still."
Meanwhile newly-appointed Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie has described McIlroy as "a superstar in the making".
"Along with Alvaro Quiros and Martin Kaymer we have some fantastic talent coming through in Europe and Rory, right now, is at the head of that group. He is doing fantastically well at 19," said the Scot.
McIlroy's manager Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler says his charge is "the most exciting talent the game has seen since Tiger Woods came on the scene more than a decade ago".
"He showed maturity beyond his years to beat a world-class field and claim his maiden European Tour triumph.
"It will, I am absolutely convinced, be the first of many - Rory is that good."