Troubled Tiger Woods has sunk to his lowest world ranking in seven years thanks to Martin Kaymer, but the German player has no doubts about the American superstar’s ability to bounce back.
Kaymer, who moved into the world number two spot behind Lee Westwood after his eight-shot triumph at the Abu Dhabi Championship, still considers Woods the best player in the world.
“It’s quite nice to overtake somebody who is probably the best player in the world, perhaps the best player that ever lived,” said the 26-year-old.
“To be in front of him for a little bit — we’ll see how long it takes him to overtake me again. It makes me very proud to be better in the world rankings than the best player in the world.”
The German needed only a top-seven finish to depose Woods, but won comfortably with Westwood way back in 64th place, out-scored by 26 strokes.
The last time a pair of Europeans filled the top two positions in the world rankings was Nick Faldo and Bernhard Langer 18 years ago.
‘European golf — it’s getting better and better’
Woods, meanwhile, will start his season at Torrey Pines in California this week down in third spot for the first time since October 2004.
Kaymer believes golf in Europe is getting stronger, an opinion backed up by seeing Europeans occupying three of the top four places with US Open Champion Graeme McDowell now ahead of Phil Mickelson.
Masters winner Mickelson managed 37th place in Abu Dhabi in what was his first event since mid-November.
“I think for Lee and me, it’s a very nice position to be number one and two in the world,” added Kaymer.
“You can see how strong European golf became in 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 [McIlroy] 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.” — Sapa-AFP