RIGHT now must be the pinnacle for the European Tour. Luke Donald played beautifully all week to win the WGC Match Play Championship, meaning all of the top four world ranking spots are now occupied by Europeans.
Martin Kaymer, whom Donald beat in the final, heads the list for the first time in his short career after he overtook Lee Westwood this weekend and has surprised us all with how quickly he has risen to No1.
Westwood, Donald and Graeme McDowell are all closer to him than any non-European, and incredibly it could get better still at the weekend. Rory McIlroy will replace Tiger Woods in fifth place if he triumphs in Florida – and who would bet against that?
Europe’s dominance has nothing to do with the rest of the world underperforming; it’s all down to our good play. The standard of the Tour has improved steadily every year since the 1980s.
Could they monopolise the entire top 10? That would be very difficult as you’d always be likely to get one or two non-Europeans in there, but four out of the top six is enough for me.
Donald did not put a foot wrong while in Arizona and could not have asked for a tougher opponent in the final than Kaymer, fresh from ascending to the apex of the world rankings table.
The Englishman has been Mr Consistency. He hasn’t won the headline tournaments Westwood has but is a steady, strong player who you’d want on your side.
They all have a task in overhauling Kaymer, who I can see staying No1 for some time. The young German has been compared to Woods but is totally different. He has a much better demeanour on the course.
I think it’s very important people don’t start whooping and hollering and getting excited in play. Kaymer stays the same; nothing changes him. A birdie or a triple bogey he’ll just go to the next tee exactly the same. It’s a wonderful attitude to have.
I must also mention Miguel Angel Jimenez, who reached the last eight in Arizona. At the age of 47, that’s extraordinary.
Meanwhile I left for Brunei yesterday, where I am playing my first event of the year, and from there its straight onto China for back-to-back events.