Six of the best for Europe as Ryder Cup approaches

January 26, 2010

GOLF/Could the balance of power in world golf be shifting from the U.S. to Europe at the start of Ryder Cup year? Americans have traditionally dominated the upper echelons of the rankings but German Martin Kaymer and Briton Ian Poulter’s one-two finish in the Abu Dhabi Championship on Sunday lifted the pair into the world’s top-10 for the first time.

With Kaymer (sixth) and Poulter (10th) joining Lee Westwood (fourth), Padraig Harrington (seventh), Henrik Stenson (eighth) and Paul Casey (ninth), Europe now have a record-equalling six players among the leading 10.

With another heavyweight field assembling for this week’s European Tour event in Qatar, British pair Rory McIlroy (11th) and Ross Fisher (18th) and Spain’s Sergio Garcia (14th) will also be trying to bulldoze their way into world golf’s elite.

Because of the strength of the respective fields, more ranking points are up for grabs in the Middle East than at this week’s U.S. PGA Tour event, the Farmers Insurance Open in California.

Americans Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk may occupy four of the top five places in the rankings but it seems as though it is the European team rather than the U.S. holders who are landing the early psychological blows ahead of the Ryder Cup in Wales in October.

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