There have been times recently when the European Tour has felt like something of a one-man show such has been Martin Kaymer’s dominance.
The talented young German won the Abi Dhabi Championship in January before sandwiching his maiden major victory in the US PGA between wins in the KLM Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
That hat-trick of victories has catapulted the 25-year old close to €1 million clear of second-placed Graeme McDowell in The Race To Dubai standings. But Ulster’s US Open champion is refusing to give up the fight just yet.
Kaymer fired a closing round of 66 at St Andrews on Sunday to clinch the Dunhill Links title and take his earnings for the last three tournaments to just over €1,900,000, a run that began at the US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
Even though it would take a monumental effort to overthrow his Ryder Cup winning team-mate at the top of the rankings, McDowell still has ambitions to end the season as Europe’s number one.
Writing on his official website, McDowell said: “Obviously Martin played superbly to win the Dunhill and now has created a big gap in the Race to Dubai. My job of clinching the Order of Merit title has just become that bit harder, but there is still plenty of big events to play for.
“I played decent at the Dunhill in trying to get myself in positions to be physically and mentally ready for a big, big end to the season.
“I’m playing in Spain at the Andalucia Masters at the end of October and I’m really looking forward to going to Valderrama, that will start off a run of five great events for me leading up to The Race to Dubai which I’m targeting as a very important run for me.”
Victory over the Twenty Ten course at Celtic Manor in the Wales Open in June catapulted the Ulsterman into Race To Dubai contention, before his US Open win at Pebble Beach weeks later pushed him to the top of the standings.
A missed cut at the USPGA Championship proved costly with Kaymer going on to take the title, but with huge prize funds still to play for at the HSBC Champions event in China and season-ending Dubai World Championship the reigning US Open champion and Ryder Cup winner still has time to end his dream season in the perfect fashion.
McDowell has also backed European team-mate Lee Westwood to claim the world number one spot.
Either Westwood or Kaymer could replace Tiger Woods as the world’s best player in the coming weeks and McDowell believes the Englishman is the perfect candidate.
“I would love to see Lee get to No.1 in the world. I think it would cap what’s been a great year for European golf,” he said.
“If it was not for this injury, he would be No 1 already, I truly believe that, and it would be huge for European golf and just give us a continued boost.”