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Kaymer would reach No 1 with Andalucia Masters win

VALDERRAMA, Spain – Martin Kaymer is downplaying thoughts of replacing Tiger Woods as the world’s top-ranked golfer if he can finish high in the Andalucia Masters starting on Thursday at Valderrama.

Kaymer will end Woods’ five-year run as No. 1 if he wins the tournament or if he finishes in second place tied with no more than one other player.

But no matter the result in southern Spain on Sunday, Woods’ reign will end.

If Kaymer does not finish high enough, Lee Westwood will replace Woods even though both aren’t in action this week, because the Englishman’s average of ranking points gained over the past two years will go above Woods’ on Monday.

Kaymer says his priority all year has been on winning Europe’s second Race to Dubai money list.

It’s within the grasp of the 25-year-old German.

With five events remaining on the European Tour, Kaymer has a €995,561 lead over Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell in the money list.

“I know that I can become No. 1 this weekend,” he said. “But for me at the moment it’s just important that I play well and win the Race to Dubai. And I don’t want to change my goal in the middle of the season.

“My most important goals are to win tournaments like majors and World Championship events, because if you do that and play well then almost automatically you will become No. 1 eventually.

“Yes, if I could win here in Spain at the weekend and become No. 1 in the world then fantastic. But it is not a priority.”

Kaymer, who won his first major at the PGA Championship, disputes whether he deserves the ranking more than Westwood despite his recent run of winning three straight strokeplay tournaments.

“Lee is the best player in the world right now,” he said. “If he had not been injured in recent months he would probably be world No. 1 by now.

“Who deserves it right now? That’s difficult to say because both Lee and me have played fantastic golf this year and he deserves it as much as me.”

McDowell, the U.S. Open champion, is at Valderrama with his own Race to Dubai ambition. That gives the new tournament in Spain two major champions in the field chasing the €500,000 ($690,000) first prize.

However, even if Kaymer wins his fourth straight strokeplay event in Spain to add to the PGA, Dutch Open and Dunhill Links titles, the Race to Dubai will not be settled until next month.

Three of the final four tournaments of the season in Shanghai. Singapore, Dubai carry a winner’s purse in excess of €700,000.