MARANA, Ariz. – Lost amid the Sunday shootout between Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship is the historic shakeup that will occur in Monday’s World Golf Ranking.
With his victory, Donald jumped from ninth to third, the highest ranking of his career, and with his trip to the final, Kaymer overtook Lee Westwood to become the second German to ever hold the top spot in the world.
Even more noteworthy will be the European hold on the top four spots in the ranking marking the first time since October 1996 that an American has not been counted among the world’s best foursome (Tiger Woods dropped to fifth following his first-round loss at Dove Mountain) and the explosiveness among the world’s best players.
“It’s a lot more compact now,” Donald said. “I think the fans kind of find that a little more interesting. There is some volatility . . . Tiger Woods isn’t way ahead and no one has a chance to catch him now.”
To Donald’s point, when Woods won the 2008 Match Play he held a double-digit lead over No. 2 Phil Mickelson (21.244 to 10.117). Kaymer’s lead over Westwood is currently .2 point. In fact, Kaymer’s lead over No. 429 Jason Gore (eight points) doesn’t match Woods’ margin in 2008. Which explains why it took him so long to fall from the top spot and why the battle for world No. 1 is best defined as a week-to-week quest.