Martin Kaymer displaced Tiger Woods as the world No2 after winning the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship for the third time in four years by an eight shot margin over Rory McIlroy.
The German needed only a top-seven finish to depose Woods, but won with ease over a field which included the other three current Major champions, and also Westwood, who ended up 64th, out-scored by a massive 26 strokes.
The last time a pair of Europeans filled the top two positions in the Official World Golf Ranking was Nick Faldo and Bernhard Langer 18 years ago – and Woods will start his season at Torrey Pines in California this week down in third spot for the first time since October 2004.
“I think for Lee and me, it’s a very nice position to be Number One and Two in the world,” said Kaymer.
“You can see how strong European golf became the last few years, and 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 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 the European golf, it’s getting better and better.”
Amazingly, Kaymer achieved the feat having not played a tournament since clinching The Race to Dubai crown in November – his victory in the desert providing the perfect start to his defence of that title, of course.
The 26 year old, five clear of McIlroy with a round to go, closed with a 66 for a tournament-record 24 under par total of 268.
“He’s killing us,” said Retief Goosen after a best-of-the-week 64 brought him into a tie for third with Graeme McDowell ten behind. “I never saw anything above 20 under round here.”
Kaymer did not have a single bogey in his final 60 holes – and he has had only two in his last 97 holes on what he now jokingly calls “my home course”.
He has finished first, second, first and first since missing the halfway cut on his maiden visit in 2007 – and is a cumulative 80 under par.
This was Kaymer’s 100th European Tour event and his ninth success. McIlroy, albeit five years younger, has had one in 82 starts.
The young Ulsterman, also emerging this week from a long winter break during which he suffered swine flu, will be delighted by three eagles and 18 birdies.
But he had eight bogeys compared to Kaymer’s one, which came when he shanked out of a bunker into water on the 12th hole of his opening round.