They say numbers don’t lie, and right now the numbers are on the side of European golf. This week’s Official World Golf Ranking gave Europe much to celebrate. With the top four spots held by Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell, you can almost hear the cheering from European Tour headquarters.
Here are five reasons to celebrate Europe’s world dominance, and five reasons why we on this side of the pond shouldn’t get too carried away.
Reasons to cheer
1.) This is only the second time four Europeans have occupied the top spots, and it’s the first time since 1992, when Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo, Jose Maria Olazabal and Seve Ballesteros were the leading quartet. The beauty of the situation is the current four have lots of time to make a big impact in the game. Especially Kaymer, who is Europe’s best future prospect, and by far the best European in the game right now. He is fully worthy of top-dog status.
2.) Luke Donald got to No. 3 through great play, and he also did it off the back of a win. He hasn’t done enough of that. Hopefully this is the start of a winning streak for the personable Englishman.
3.) It should help the European Tour attract more sponsors, hopefully in more traditional markets inside Europe and not in the far-flung corners of the world.
4.) It should spur on younger Europeans. You could say the latest batch were inspired by Seve and Co. Hopefully there’s a host of youngsters out hitting balls right now dreaming of becoming the next Kaymer, Westwood, etc.
5.) And the best reason to celebrate four Euros in the top four? Hopefully it means the golf world becomes less preoccupied with Tiger Woods.
And five reasons for concern
1.) Woosie, Faldo, Ollie and Seve won 14 majors between them. The current four only have two, with Donald and Westwood majorless against Kaymer’s PGA Championship and McDowell’s U.S. Open.
2.) Kaymer’s success only heaps more pressure on Rory McIlroy. Unfairly. McIlroy is a great player but the last thing he needs is pressure to match Kaymer. Unfortunately he’s going to get it.
3.) If these things come in cycles, then the Euros better make hay while the sun shines because you can bet a lot of young Americans will be looking to displace them.
4.) The U.S. currently has no rival in amateur golf. For example, American golfers occupy the first 12 spots on the R&A/USGA World Amateur Golf Ranking. Scotland’s James Byrne is the highest ranked Euro at 14th.
5.) More concerning than the U.S. log jam at the head of the amateur rankings is that I don’t really see anyone coming through the amateur ranks in Europe who looks like a world-beater.