Westwood to take over from Woods as world No. 1

LONDON Sun Oct 31, 2010 2:47pm EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Briton Lee Westwood will take over as world number one when the new rankings are published on Monday after Ryder Cup team mate Martin Kaymer finished down the field at the Andalucia Masters.

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

Speaking to a teleconference from his home on Sunday while he rests his calf muscle before next week's WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, Westwood was in no doubt this was his finest moment despite not actually being on a golf course.

"To be able to sit down and say there's nobody better right now, I think it has to be the highlight," the 37-year-old said.

"When you're growing up and people say 'What do you want to achieve?', you say 'I want to be the best in the world'.

"It's a planet isn't it? I'm the best on the planet."

The Englishman will have to keep a close eye on Woods and was expecting the American to come right back at him in China.

"That's the kind of relationship we have. I give him a little bit of stick and he gives it back," he said.

"We've always got on very well and have great mutual respect for each other."

Westwood thanked Ryder Cup team mate Kaymer for contacting him with his congratulations shortly after the German finished his final round.

"Martin Kaymer did send me a text, which was very nice of him. He sent it pretty much as soon as he had finished. That meant a lot."

MISSED PUTTS

Kaymer, who needed to finish in the top two in Spain to become world number one, was always up against it after opening his campaign with rounds of 72, 74 and 70.

"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 number one played any part.

"It was in the back of my mind but I didn't play differently, any more aggressively or defensively. I liked the challenge (of trying to get to number one) and I think I'll have another chance in the next few weeks," added Kaymer.

"Lee deserves it, he's one of the greatest guys on the European Tour. I played with him in the Ryder Cup (this month) and he showed me around. I'm very happy for him."

Although Westwood has not played since Europe's victory over the United States earlier this month, he said he was on the mend and is looking forward to defending his number one spot.

"Being number one and defending that will give me that extra urge if I needed it," he said.

"My ankle's as good as it's felt for three or four months. The muscle in the calf is healing so I'm not getting the swelling."

(Editing by Tony Jimenez and Sonia Oxley)

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