This eclipses the end-of-season record of 17 established in 2002 and equalled in 2003, and further demonstrates the strength in depth following the European Teams victory in the 35th Ryder Cup Matches in Michigan.
Ian Poulter, a member of the winning European team, became the 14th European in the top 50 following his victory in the Volvo Masters Andalucia and the number has been bolstered by the presence of six international European Tour members.
As at Oct. 31, Vijay Singh and Ernie Els, who have successfully defended their PGA Tour money list and Volvo Order of Merit titles respectively this year, were Nos. 1 and 2 with Retief Goosen, winner of the 2004 U.S. Open, fifth; Padraig Harrington, eighth; and Sergio Garcia, ninth.
A number of European Tour members have emphasized the continuing strength of the European Tour International Schedule by making significant progress highlighted by the superb achievements of Luke Donald, Joakim Haeggman and Miguel Angel Jimnez.
Donald won 88.46 points from 17 US PGA Tour events but while securing a place in The Ryder Cup Team he collected 80.24 points from only six events on The European Tour International Schedule ' averaging 13.37 points for each event compared to 5.2 in the United States. Having started the year outside the World Top 100 in 130th place the 26 year old finds himself in 25th place.
Haeggman was the highest mover, climbing from 327th to 46th during a 29-tournament campaign on The European Tour International Schedule, and Jimnez, who played 45 events on the US PGA Tour between 2000 and 2002, has since returned to a full-time schedule in Europe and moved from 255th to 17th in the Official World Golf Ranking in little more than 12 months.
Jimnez stands out as a shining example of what can be achieved in Europe, earning 189.27 World Ranking points in regular European Tour events, more than any other player other than Singh on one particular Tour. The figure, for example, compares to 173.88 points won by Phil Mickelson and 158.23 points won by Tiger Woods on the US PGA Tour before the Tour Championship.
Garcia has focused much of his season on America and by October 31, with two victories on the US PGA Tour, accumulated 156.65 points compared to 62.09. Whilst at first glance this looks to heavily favour the US PGA Tour, his average points per tournament is almost identical ' 15.6 on the US PGA Tour and 15.5 in Europe.
Prior to the Tour Championship, Goosen won more World Ranking points (76.44) from his eight regular European Tour events than he did from his ten US PGA Tour events (68.31). Ernie Els, another truly global player, played nine regular events on both Tours, winning twice on each Tour in addition to the WGC ' American Express Championship, and won a similar amount of points - 155.86 in Europe versus 168.50 on the US PGA Tour.
Looking solely at regular European Tour events and US PGA Tour events by excluding the Major Championships and World Golf Championships which count towards both Tours, the figures reveal that the World Ranking points won by European Tour Members in regular European Tour events after the Volvo Masters Andalucia totalled 1654.05 compared to 1498.92 on the US PGA Tour, a figure which includes a staggering 548.78 points won by Vijay Singh alone.
David Howell, Thomas Levet and Nick OHern have also moved up from outside the World Top 100 to inside the top 50 through playing almost solely on The European Tour.
The goal of many players around the world is to climb into the World Top 50, and as of October 31, 16 players had advanced since the start of the year from outside the top 50 into the fold, eight of which are European Tour Members who have made their gains by playing The European Tour International Schedule.