Kaymer wins, leapfrogs Tiger in rankings

Germany's Martin Kaymer holds the trophy after winning the Abu Dhabi Golf Championships in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for the third time in four years, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011.

Germany's Martin Kaymer holds the trophy after winning the Abu Dhabi Golf Championships in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for the third time in four years, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011.

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – The Europeans are coming.

Again.

If you didn’t know it already, the world order has shifted across the pond toward European shores. That became true last November when Lee Westwood replaced Tiger Woods at the top of the world pecking order.

It became more emphatic with Martin Kaymer’s win in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Kaymer’s victory allowed him to move to No. 2 in the world, leapfrogging Tiger Woods.

“It’s quite nice to overtake somebody that you think is probably the best player in the world, or the best player that ever lived,” Kaymer said. “We’ll see how long it takes him to overtake me again, but it makes me very proud to be better in the world rankings than, for me, the best player in the world.”

It’s been 18 years since Europeans occupied positions one and two on the Official World Golf Ranking. Coincidentally, back in 1993 it also was an Englishman and a German at Nos. 1 and 2, with Bernhard Langer playing running mate to Nick Faldo.

Currently six Europeans occupy the world top 10, with Graeme McDowell in fourth, Rory McIlroy 7th, Paul Casey 9th and Luke Donald at number ten.

No wonder the talk at the end of the Abu Dhabi event was on the strength of European golf.

“For Lee and me, it’s a very nice position to be in,” Kaymer said. “To be No. 1 and 2 in the world, you can see how strong European golf became the last few years. Not only through the Ryder Cup, just if you have a look at the major winners last year.

“It’s just a matter of time before Rory wins a big, big tournament somewhere. I think he will win plenty of majors in his career. European golf is getting better and better.

“The PGA Tour in America is a fantastic tour, but I think our tour … we don’t have anywhere to hide.”

Kaymer, of course, already has a major under his belt, last year’s PGA Championship. He will enter all four this year as a favorite.

“I always struggle at the Masters, but I’m trying to get my swing to the right direction, to shape the ball right to left. I have never played the golf courses in Atlanta (PGA Championship) and Washington (U.S. Open). But I am looking forward to the British Open. That’s always been one of my goals – to win the British Open.

“The way I played last year through my win in the PGA gave me the belief that I could win any tournament that I enter.”

He’s not the only player on this side of the Atlantic who feels that way.

Look out. The Europeans are coming.

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