Kaymer Set to Supplant Woods as No. 1

Tiger Woods's long-time grip on the No. 1 world ranking is tenuous this week, as a young German is in a prime position to supplant the player who's held that exalted place for the last 281 weeks, and 623 weeks overall.

Though he's ranked third after Woods and England's Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer is the only one of the three playing this week. If the 25-year-old from Dusseldorf finishes no worse than in a two-way tie for second at the European Tour's Andalucia Valderrama Masters in Spain, he will be the new top-ranked player in the world.

The ranking system is based on points, which, according to the World Golf Rankings website (http://www.officialworldgolfranking.com/home/default.sps), are awarded according to the players' finishing positions in individual tournaments. The points system is weighted by the strength of the field, based on the number and ranking of the top-200 world-ranked players and the top-30 of the "home tour" players in these events.

The events involved are from the six professional tours along with the Canadian, OneAsia, Nationwide and European Challenge circuits. As of October 26th, five of the top-10 players on the World Golf Rankings are American and the other half Europeans.

The four major championships along with the Players Championship in the U.S., the BMW PGA Championship in Europe, the Australian, Japan and South African Open championships and the "flagship" events on the Asian and Nationwide Tours are allocated higher minimum points levels because of the strength of their fields.

Based on that formula, Woods averages 8.31 points per tournament, while Westwood 8.25 points and Kaymer, the reigning PGA champion, 8.03. Due primarily to his recent inactivity and desire to spend time with his family, former No. 2 Phil Mickelson has slipped to fourth with a 7.98 average. Rounding out the top five is Steve Stricker at 7.33.

In the Nos. 6 to 10 slots are Jim Furyk (7.19), England's Paul Casey (6.11) and Luke Donald (5.63), Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy (5.43), and Matt Kuchar (5.28).

If Kaymer doesn't finish high in the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, Westwood - even though he's idle this week due to injury - could overtake Woods, who's not returning to competition until November, at the end of October because of the complicated ranking system.

"We have always bowed to America's dominance of the world rankings, with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson one and two respectively," said winning European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie. "But now we don't just have Lee Westwood but also Martin Kaymer coming up as well.

"There is a changing of the guard towards Europe and also the European Tour."