Sunday, October 31, 2010

Westwood becomes world number one

Lee Westwood
Westwood is the first European since Nick Faldo to be number one

England's Lee Westwood became world number one golfer for the first time ending American Tiger Woods's 281-week reign at the top of the sport.

German Martin Kaymer needed a top-two finish at Valderrama to become number one himself but ended Sunday's fourth round seven over - well off the lead.

Kaymer fired a final round of 75, with the leaders in Spain yet to finish.

Westwood, 37, becomes Europe's first number one golfer since compatriot Nick Faldo achieved the feat in 1994.

Kaymer had started the day nine shots adrift of leader Graeme McDowell after opening with a 72 on Thursday and following that with a 75 and a third round 70.


The 25-year-old, therefore, required a sensational effort on Sunday to move up the leaderboard and claim top spot. But despite a birdie on the third Kaymer showed little of his recent fine form ending the day four over par.

For Woods it is a remarkable fall from grace having at one time seemed unstoppable in his assault on Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 Major wins. He has faltered badly after a knee injury and revelations about his personal life that saw him take an extended break from the game.

Westwood is currently recovering from a calf problem and does not intend to play again before the WGC-HSBC Champions event on 4 November.

His career has been in two phases, he spent 180 weeks in the top-10 between 1998 and 2001, winning the Order of Merit in 2000 and reaching world number four.

But he took a break from the game after the birth of his first child and rather lost his way, dropping outside the top 250 in the rankings.

His next victory was not until the BMW International Open in 2003, but when he won the Andalucia Open and British Masters in 2007 he moved back into the top 50 and by the end of the 2008 season he was back in the top 10.

The Worksop golfer won the inaugural Race To Dubai, the new European Tour Order of Merit, in 2009, when he was one shot away from being in a play-off for the Open Championship with Tom Watson and Stewart Cink.

At this year's Masters he was one stroke ahead going into the final day but was denied by Phil Mickelson's magnificent final round of 67 and was runner-up to Louis Oosthuizen, seven shots adrift, in the Open at St Andrews, before the calf injury hampered the remainder of his season.

Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood holes 30-foot putt at Ryder Cup

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