x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

No 1 spot Westwood's dream come true

England's Lee Westwood is the new world No 1 after Martin Kaymer faltered at the Andalucia Masters.

England's Lee Westwood is to take over as the world No 1 when the new rankings are published today after Martin Kaymer, his Ryder Cup teammate, finished down the field at the Andalucia Masters yesterday.

Westwood ended Tiger Woods's unprecedented 281-week reign at the top of the rankings after Kaymer finished with a closing 75 for a seven-over-par 291.

The German, who needed to finish in the top two in Spain to become world No 1, was always up against it after opening his campaign with rounds of 72, 74 and 70, and finished 10 strokes behind the winner, Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell.

Westwood did not play in Andalucia because he was at home resting his injured calf, but the celebration started as soon as he heard the news.

Asked if it was the most satisfying moment in his career, the 37-year-old said: "Yes I think so. It's a dream everyone has to say there is nobody better than me at the moment. You have to say it's a highlight.

"It's a great honour and a big responsibility. It certainly sounds and feels good right now.

"When you are growing up and people say what do you want to achieve, everyone says I want to be the best in the world. Right at this moment I can show people the world rankings and say I am the best on the planet."

Westwood will quickly come face to face with the man he deposed as world No 1, with Woods among the field at the forthcoming WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai. And the Englishman expects some good-natured banter from the 14-time major champion in China.

"I have a great relationship with Tiger," added Westwood, who travels to Shanghai today.

"We have mutual respect and have always got on well, on and off the course. I give him a little bit of stick and he gives me a little. When Tiger was in his pomp everyone thought it [being No 1] was unattainable. But form comes and goes - I'm a perfect example of that."

"Of course I'm disappointed," Kaymer told reporters.

"I thought if I had a fast weekend I could still play a role but I missed too many putts. You have to accept it isn't your week. I don't think trying to get to No 1 played any part.

"Lee deserves it, he's one of the greatest guys on the European Tour."

Westwood is the first European player to hold the No 1 position since Nick Faldo, his fellow Englishman, in 1994.

Westwood will be the fifth player to displace Woods at the top of the rankings, but the first since the American went back to the summit, replacing Fiji's Vijay Singh in June of 2005.

* Agencies