European 1-2 in World Ranking

1/23/2011 1:16:20 PM
Martin Kaymer  (Getty Images)
Martin Kaymer (Getty Images)

European golfers occupy the top two positions in world golf for the first time in almost 18 years with Martin Kaymer passing Tiger Woods following his victory in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

Lee Westwood remains World Number One with Kaymer now his closest challenger after winning this third Abu Dhabi title in four years. Woods is now third with Graeme McDowell moving up to outright fourth after finishing joint third with Retief Goosen over the National Course in Abu Dhabi.

When the Official World Golf Ranking comes out in the morning there will be six Europeans in the World’s Top ten with runner-up Rory McIlroy predicted to climb to seventh, Paul Casey in ninth and Luke Donald in tenth.

The last time two European golfers sat on top of the world was in July 1993, with Sir Nick Faldo first and Bernhard Langer second. Coincidentally, it is England 1 and Germany 2 once again with Westwood and Kaymer now the two best players on the planet.

Kaymer said: "It was 1993 when Langer and Faldo were leading the World Rankings.  I think for Lee and me, it's a very nice position to be; to be Number One and Two in the world. You can see how strong European golf has become the last few years.  And not only through The Ryder Cup, just if you have a look at the major winners last year, Graeme McDowell, almost every week he had a chance to win the tournament.

"It's just a matter of time that Rory wins a big, big tournament somewhere.  He won in Quail Hollow last year already, but I think he will win plenty of Majors in his career, so you can see in European golf, it's getting better and better, which is just nice to see.

"The PGA Tour in America is a fantastic tour, but I think our Tour, we don't have to hide anywhere."

Kaymer has now won four of his last eight events and nine of his first 100 tournaments, a phenomenal record for the 26 year old.

“He's a world class player,” said McDowell. “He'll move to Number Two in the world this week, and you know, just great for European golf to have Number One and Number Two in the world as European players, and I'll slip in there at Number Four which is very satisfying, also.”

Langer was the very first World Number One in 1986 and occupied top spot for three weeks when the World Rankings were first launched. In 1993, Langer moved to World Number Two behind Faldo at a time when the Englishman was top of the world for some 18 months following his Open Championship win in the summer of 1992, his fifth Major success. That Major success and five other victories helped Faldo stay top of the world for 97 weeks in his final spell as World Number One.