Martin Kaymer supplants Tiger Woods

Updated: January 23, 2011, 11:39 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Tiger Woods' reign atop the world golf rankings lasted five years. It took less than three months to knock him off the No. 2 spot.

Martin Kaymer, the 2010 PGA Championship winner who also won last year's European money title, blistered the field at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship to win by 8 shots Sunday.

Kaymer needed only to finish seventh to displace Woods as the second-ranked player in the world.

Kaymer closed with a 6-under-par 66 to finish at 24-under 264. It's his third Abu Dhabi title in four years.

"It's quite nice to overtake somebody who is probably the best player in the world, perhaps the best player that ever lived," Kaymer said. "To be in front of him for a little bit -- we'll see how long it takes him to overtake me again -- but you know, it makes me very proud to be better in the world rankings than the best player in the world."

Rory McIlroy was second at the Abu Dhabi Country Club after a 69. Graeme McDowell (67) and Retief Goosen (64) finished 10 shots back after the best round of the day.

Woods makes his 2011 debut Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Lee Westwood overtook Woods atop the world rankings on Oct. 31.

Sunday's was the biggest winning margin and lowest total score in the history of the Abu Dhabi tournament. It was Kaymer's 100th start on the European Tour, and the ninth win of his career.

Phil Mickelson finished 37th, meaning McDowell will move ahead of the reigning Masters champion at No. 4 in the rankings. Both started the week tied for fourth place.

Mickelson closed with a 70, and said he wasn't bothered by slipping to No. 5 in the rankings.

"I think it's interesting and it's certainly a goal of all players to get up on top of the world rankings, but I think it's more interesting to see how it plays out in the majors," he said. "I'm not as concerned with the rankings as some. ... I'm more concerned with getting my game ready for the majors."

Kaymer started his round with birdies on the second and third holes, and had extended his lead over McIlroy to 7 shots by the turn.

"I am very happy, especially with the way I played golf today," Kaymer said. "The most important thing for me was today that I had fun. If I have fun, then I play good golf. I played with Rory and we definitely had a lot of fun on the golf course. He struggled a little bit on the first nine. After nine holes, I think I was leading by 7 shots and then I pretty much knew if I just keep playing the way I do, I'm probably going to win."

McIlroy said he quickly gave up thoughts of challenging Kaymer, and played most of the round trying to stave off those behind him.

"After the first couple of holes today, I was just trying to consolidate second place, that's all you're really playing for," McIlroy said. "Martin played great all week and I don't think there was anyone in the world who could have topped him this week."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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