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The first degree: McIlroy to receive honor

Rory McIlroy
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SYLVANIA, OH - JULY 03: Natalie Gulbis reacts to a birdie putt on the 17th green during the second round of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic at Highland Hills Golf Club on July 3, 2009 in Sylvania, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)  - 

Rory McIlroy is once again proving he is a golf master this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Champions, but the U.S. Open champion is about the become a doctor.

The University of Ulster will recognize McIlroy with a Doctor of Science degree for his contribution to golf. Last June, McIlroy became the youngest winner of the U.S. Open since Bobby Jones in 1923.

“Rory McIlroy has quickly established himself as a major force in international golf as a major winner and Ryder Cup hero,” the university said in a release, according to the U.K.-based Daily Mail.

He joins major-winning countrymen Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke as recipients of the honor.

McIlroy will be recognized alongside Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. The honorary degrees will be conferred during summer and winter graduation ceremonies.