This past weekend's Accenture Match Play set off one of the most tumultous weeks at the top of the Official World Golf Rankings in recent memory. (Yes, some people moved up and some moved down. This is what qualifies as "tumultuous" in golf.)
As we noted Sunday, Martin Kaymer is your new world No. 1, and unlike Lee Westwood, the guy he displaced, Kaymer has done so by winning, winning and winning some more. And Luke Donald (above), who absolutely cruised in this week's match play, never trailing, jumped up to No. 3. That means there are now Europeans in the top four spots: Kaymer, Westwood, Donald and Graeme McDowell.
Golf Digest's Ron Sirak notes that the last time four Europeans led the rankings was nearly 20 years ago, on March 15, 1992. Back then, Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo, Jose Maria Olazabal and Seve Ballesteros were atop the rankings. This is also the lowest Woods has been ranked since before the 1997 Masters.
Of greater interest: note here how the future rankings are going to shake out. The rankings work on a rolling two-year schedule, and players who had success in 2009 -- Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and others -- are going to find it harder and harder to hold onto their rankings. Note that in 2011, Westwood and Woods have both managed only single-digit points totals, while Kaymer has outplayed them by a factor of double figures. So, yes, American golf fans: it's not good now, and without some better play by the hometown boys, it's not getting any better.
- Official World Golf Rankings