Dubai : Lee Westwood may have to deal with critics who question his worth as the world's number one player without having won a Major, but he can take plenty of solace in knowing his peers hold no such doubts about his status.
The Northern Irish duo of Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy fiercely backed the Englishman as the newly crowned king of golf at the Jumeirah Golf Estates yesterday.
Echoing Westwood's own thoughts on the subject, McDowell told XPRESS: "The world number one ranking is not about Major championships, it's about being the best player week in week out. Lee Westwood has come so close to winning Majors the last couple of years. To me he is the best player in the world."
Westwood had said earlier in the week: "If [winning a Major and becoming world number one] was the same thing, whoever won a Major championship would go straight to number one at the end of the week, and do they deserve that?"
McIlroy was also in agreement with Westwood's argument. "No disrespect to someone like Ben Curtis or Todd Hamilton, but because they have won a Major, does that mean they should have more right to be world number one than Lee Westwood?" said McIlroy. "The world rankings are based over a two-year period, and it's who is consistently the best performance-wise in those two years, and it has been Lee Westwood."
McIlroy also shared Westwood's disappointment at not being in contention for this season's Race to Dubai, but pledged his desire to make amends in 2011. "Playing a bit more in Europe next year, I'm really going to try and win The Race to Dubai because it's a goal of mine," said the 21-year-old. "I sort of let it pass me by last year and it would be nice to come back and try and win it."