Golf’s coveted World Number One spot will be bestowed upon European shoulders at the end of this week, but will it be Germany’s Martin Kaymer or England’s Lee Westwood that takes Tiger Woods’ crown on Sunday afternoon?
Kaymer has to win, finish second on his own, or finish second with one other player at this week’s Andalucia Valderrama Masters to reach the summit of the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) and few would bet against the 25 year old given that he has won the last three events that he has competed in – the US PGA Championship, the KLM Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Should the German’s remarkable run of form come to an end however, then Westwood, who is ironically injured at the moment, will complete one of golf’s greatest comebacks having fallen out of the top 200 just a few years ago.
No matter which of the two European candidates officially becomes the best player on the planet, it will be a deserved achievement as a glance at their performances over the past two years indicates.
No two players have performed more consistently in the World Rankings over the course of the last two years than the German and the Englishman. Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker have been the other stand out performers in terms of accumulating World Ranking Points, but the European duo have been in a class of their own.
Since the middle of October 2008, when he was Ranked 37th, Kaymer has powered his way up the Rankings with superb results around the world, winning six times. No man has won more World Ranking Points than the German in 2010.
There can certainly be no argument towards the statement that Kaymer is the form player in world golf at this particular moment as four of those six victories have come in the last 12 months.
Westwood, meanwhile, has been golf’s most reliable performer for two years. The Englishman’s incredible levels of consistency are hugely impressive, winning three times over the past two years at the 2009 Portugal Masters, the inaugural Dubai World Championship and this year’s St Jude Classic on the US PGA Tour in addition to racking up 21 other top ten finishes.
Among those 21 top tens are outright second place finishes at this season’s Masters Tournament and The Open Championship, together worth 120 World Ranking Points –and a huge factor in him currently being Ranked Second on the OWGR.
The cases for both Kaymer and Westwood to become only the fifth European player after Seve Ballesteros, Sir Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Ian Woosnam to be Ranked World Number One since the OWGR was established in 1986 are compelling.
No matter which of the two standout players achieve the accolade and become the first European to reach the summit since Faldo at the end of January 1994, it will be thoroughly deserved.