22 Jun 2011

Europe on top of the golf world

12:15 pm on 22 June 2011

Rory McIlroy's stunning eight-shot victory at the US Open has helped Europe claim the top four spots in golf's world rankings for the first time in nearly 20 years.

The 22-year-old Northern Irishman's win at Congressional in Maryland has lifted him from eighth to fourth in the rankings behind Ryder Cup team mates England's Luke Donald and Lee Westwood and Germany's Martin Kaymer.

It is the first time Europeans have occupied the four leading positions since Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo, Jose Maria Olazabal, Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer were in the top five in February 1992.

Number two Westwood was denied by the narrowest of margins in his bid to knock fellow Briton Donald off top spot in the new rankings issued on Tuesday.

Westwood finished in a tie for third at the U.S. Open and would have leapfrogged Donald in the rankings if he had taken just one stroke fewer in his four rounds at Bethesda.

Australian Jason Day, joint second behind South African champion Charl Schwartzel at the U.S. Masters in April, climbed from 18th to ninth in the rankings after another phenomenal performance to finish second at Congressional.