When Padraig Harrington captured the 2007 British Open at Carnoustie, it was seen as a welcome crumb of comfort for European golf in an era of United States domination of the eight key tournaments worldwide.
Instead, that first European success in a major championship for eight years has proved to be a catalyst for a steady shifting of power away from the Americans.
Only one of the four majors last year (the US Masters, won by Phil Mickelson) went under the Stars and Stripes banner and only one of the four World Golf Championships (WGC) supporting shows (the Bridgestone Invitational, won by Hunter Mahan) was won by an American.
The first WGC event of the new season - the Accenture Match Play - again featured an all-European final and had a yet another significant bearing on the world rankings.
Martin Kaymer's progression to the final of that 64-man knockout tournament enabled the German to jump above Lee Westwood into the top spot, and Luke Donald's overall victory in the Arizona tournament lifted the Englishman to No 3.
With Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell now in the fourth spot, it left Tiger Woods languishing at No 5 in the world, his lowest position since his breakthrough year of 1997.
Just when the US PGA called on their big guns to fire a warning to their overseas invaders as the Masters appears on to the horizon, those big guns were shot out of sight.
Woods was sent packing in the opening round, and Mickelson managed only one victory before being eliminated by Ricky Fowler by a 6 & 5 margin.
To see the two men who were for many months acknowledged as the best two players in the game jostling for the fifth and sixth place on the world ladder represents a worrying malaise for American golf.
Kaymer, the second youngest player to claim the No 1 ranking after Woods, acknowledged that his celebratory situation comes into being as much from the struggles of Woods as from his own consistently impressive play.
The German has said he believes he will not fully deserve the honour until Woods, his schoolboy idol, returns to top form.
Recent evidence suggests Kaymer might have to hold on to his position for a long time before Woods is ready to mount that challenge.
Kaymer is a worthy No 1, as was Westwood before him, and he should relish that status while it lasts - he could relinquish it to Westwood at the conclusion of the Honda Classic on Sunday.
Westwood set up the opportunity to climb to the top with an outstanding finish to 2009 which included the most emphatic of victories in the inaugural Dubai World Championship while Kaymer was the most eye-catching performer in the second half of 2010 which featured his US PGA Championship victory.
For the German to take that trophy-winning form through to the new season and claim the Abu Dhabi title for the third time in four years and then overcome all but Donald of his talented rivals last week, strengthens my long-held view that Kaymer will eventually surpass Bernhard Langer as the finest player in his country's modest history.
Rory McIlroy is another UAE champion (the 2009 Dubai Desert Classic) of whom great things are expected and the young Northern Irishman could easily have trodden a similar path as Kaymer if he had kicked on from that early promise. His failure to add more than one more title to that debut triumph is one of the mysteries of the sport but he still has many more productive years ahead of him.
A McIlroy victory in the Honda Classic in Florida would lift him from No 8 to No 5 in the rankings and give Europe's triumphant Ryder Cup men a stranglehold on the top five places for the first time since 1992.
That was Europe's last golden era when a quintet of Ryder Cup captains: Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo, Jose Maria Olazabal, Seve Ballesteros and Langer, ruled the roost.