Kaymer crowned European Number One

11/28/2010 11:31:21 AM
Martin Kaymer - European Number One  (Getty Images)
Martin Kaymer - European Number One (Getty Images)

Martin Kaymer became only the second German to be crowned European Number One after Bernhard Langer by winning The 2010 Race to Dubai.

The 25 year old, the youngest Number One since Ronan Rafferty in 1989 and only the fourth continental European to win the Harry Vardon Trophy after Seve Ballesteros, Robert Karlsson and Langer, had just one hole of the final event, the Dubai World Championship presented by DP World, to play when the year-long Race to Dubai was officially decided.

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell, the only remaining challenger with a week to go, needed a top three finish to have any chance, but closing rounds of 69 and 68 were just too little too late.

Topping The Race to Dubai earned Kaymer an impressive bonus of €1,092,418 from a $7.5 million Bonus Pool that rewards the leading 15 money winners, taking his season’s earnings to €4,461,010 and surpassing Lee Westwood’s record of 12 months ago by over €200,000.

Kaymer said: "It's been a fantastic year I think.  All of the goals that I set for myself, for my career, everything happened this year.  To win The Race to Dubai, Number One in Europe, and to play The Ryder Cup, and to win a Major.

"And obviously when you win a Major you know that you can win any tournament in the world.

“I am very proud.  I am very satisfied with my year, and that round today, my goal was obviously to play as well as possible, to putt 100 per cent in there.  And that is what I certainly did.  It was not my best round of the week but I really enjoyed that week and I really enjoyed the last round that I played.

“As we walked up the 18th, the announcer was saying all the scores, the PGA Champion, currently Number One in The Race to Dubai, and it sounds pretty good to me.  It's a very proud moment.”

McDowell, unable to add the finishing touch he wanted to an incredible season in which he won the US Open Championship and helped regain The Ryder Cup for Europe, said: "It's been a dream season and it just so happened that Martin had an unbelievable season as well.

"It's just been a great year for European golf and I'm just very proud to be part of that.

"My greatest moment was the putt on the 16th (at The Celtic Manor Resort). There's nothing like The Ryder Cup.

"To give Martin a run for his money this week was very good, but things didn't really go my way - it's a golf course which continues to frustrate me.

"I played unbelievably well this weekend, but could barely buy a putt."

Kaymer might well have finished Number One last year but for an August go-kart accident in which he broke three toes and was put out of the game for two months.

He eventually finished third behind Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy, but started his season with victory at the Abu Dhabi Championship and then had a spell he will never forget.

Two months after McDowell had gone to Pebble Beach and become Europe's first US Open Champion since 1970 Kaymer won the US PGA Championship after a play-off with Bubba Watson, then added the KLM Open and Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on his next two starts.

The last of those came just six days after he had made his Ryder Cup debut - a winning debut, of course - so he could actually claim four triumphs in a row.

McDowell did well to make it a contest after that, but came up short in the final week.

Not that he allowed it to take the gloss off his year - and he now believes he could become World Number One.

"I know I can get a lot better when I see one of my friends and colleagues Lee Westwood as the world's best player of course I have to believe I can do the same thing."