Abu Dhabi: Despite his meteoric rise to number two in the world rankings with victory at yesterday's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Germany's Martin Kaymer is still respectful of the two men who stand either side of him in the consistency list — first-place Lee Westwood and third Tiger Woods.
Speaking after his third Falcon Trophy win (2008, 2010, 2011), which leaves two Europeans in the world rankings at one and two for the first time since Nick Faldo and Bernard Langar in 1993, Kaymer who scored 24 under par (67-65-66-66) remained gracious despite winning by eight shots.
Speaking of Tiger Woods, he said: "It's quite nice to overtake somebody you think of as probably the best player in the world, or the best player that ever lived.
"To be in front of him for a little bit, we'll see how long it takes him to overtake me again, but it makes me very proud to be better in the world rankings than, for me, the best player in the world."
Asked if he viewed himself as the best, having beaten the top four Major winners for 2010 in Abu Dhabi, Kaymer said: "No, I think Lee Westwood; the way he played the Ryder Cup last year, the way he played the Majors — he got really unlucky a few times and couldn't pull off the win. It says in the rankings that he (Lee Westwood) is the best player in the world. It's about consistency, and he's played as consistently as you can imagine. That's why he's the number one in the world and for me the best player in the world."
Kaymer, the 2010 PGA Championship Major and Race to Dubai winner, which handed him Europe's No.1 spot, went 72 holes with just one bogey in Abu Dhabi. He's the first European Tour player to win with only one dropped shot since Tiger Woods at the 2002 WGC CA Championship.
"It doesn't get any better than that — obviously you can make no bogeys but I'm very happy," he said about the feat. "I've never had that and I think I never played as good golf as I played the last four days.
"Our strategy was really good, we were avoiding all the big mistakes. The only bogey I made was on a shank (par four, third hole, round one).
"It's wrong attitude to go into the last round just defending your lead. I think you have to keep playing, keep trying to make birdies," Kaymer said.
Indeed, that's what the German managed with day -four birdies on holes two, three, 10, 13, 16 and 18.
- 264 - Martin Kaymer (GER) 67-65-66-66
- 272 - Rory McIlroy (NIR) 71-67-65-69
- 274 - Retief Goosen (RSA) 70-71-69-64; Graeme McDowell (NIR) 66-70-71-67
- 276 - Gareth Maybin (NIR) 71-67-69-69; David Lynn (ENG) 69-68-67-72.