Skip to main content

Who will be Europe's No.1 golfer this year?

Martin Kaymer (left) and Graeme McDowell are in a two-man race for European Tour top spot.
Martin Kaymer (left) and Graeme McDowell are in a two-man race for European Tour top spot.
  • Martin Kaymer leads the Race to Dubai going into Dubai World Championship
  • Graeme McDowell can overtake the 25-year-old German at the top of money list
  • Kaymer can wrest the World No.1 spot from Lee Westwood
  • Westwood won last year's Race to Dubai but cannot repeat in 2010

(CNN) -- A vintage year for European golf is set to reach a thrilling finale this weekend with both the Race to Dubai honors and the World No.1 ranking up for grabs.

Germany's Martin Kaymer goes into the Dubai World Championship locked in a titanic battle with Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell for the honor of being crowned Europe's No.1.

But Kaymer can also deprive England's Lee Westwood of top spot in the global rankings with a top two finish on the Earth Course in the emirate.

Kaymer, who leads McDowell by € 290,910 ($388,000) in the Race to Dubai, is currently World No.3 after a magnificent season which has seen him win his first major at the U.S. PGA Championship and play a leading role in Europe's Ryder Cup success.

Obviously when you win a major you know that you can win any tournament in the world
--Martin Kaymer

If he wins on Sunday, Westwood would have to finish second to retain his status. A second place for Kaymer would leave Westwood needing to finish no worse than 27th.

"It's been a fantastic season for me," Kaymer told the official European Tour website.

"Obviously when you win a major you know that you can win any tournament in the world.

"If I win the tournament, then I will win The Race to Dubai automatically, and I think I will possibly be No.1 in the world then," he added.

McDowell's 2010 season mirrors Kaymer. He won his first major in the U.S. Open and scored the winning point as Europe triumphed over the United States at Celtic Manor.

He has been chasing down the German in recent weeks and a fifth place finish at the Hong Kong Open, won by Ian Poulter, has put him within striking distance of Kaymer at the top.

"I am very happy with my form and my energy levels going into Dubai. Of course I am within touching distance now and I've got to play well, simple as that," the 31-year-old told the official European Tour website.

"I can't control Martin's golf ball - only mine. I'm going to go and play my own game and see what happens."

But for a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a troubling calf problem, Westwood would also be in prime position to retain the Race to Dubai title which he claimed with a runaway 23-under victory at last year's European Tour finale on the Greg Norman-designed layout.

He cannot catch the two at the top of this year's money list, but knows a repeat performance of his heroics last year when he denied Rory McIlroy European top spot will be enough to retain his No.1 status.

"I have to be careful this week not to get caught up in trying to achieve what I achieved last year, because it was a fairly special tournament and I played obviously near flawless golf I think.

"Over the next day or so, I've got to formulate another game plan to try and make it as good as last year's.

"It's a new canvas I think, and have to try to put a new painting down on it."

The top 60 golfers on the European Tour will be battling it out for a $7.5 million prize fund when the tournament starts on Thursday, with Poulter, fresh from his victory last weekend, and McIlroy also expected to mount strong challenges.

European Tour members won three of this season's four majors, with South African Louis Oosthuizen, who triumphed in the British Open at St. Andrews, also in the field after recent injury problems.