Graeme McDowell says Rory McIlroy is the best player he’s ever seen after handing over his U.S. Open crown to his fellow Ulsterman at Congressional. The Official world Golf Rankings don’t quite reflect McDowell’s opinion, but McIlroy has moved up to No. 4 after his big victory at Congressional.
Europeans now occupy the top four places in the rankings after McIlroy moved up from eighth to fourth.
McDowell made a stout defense of his title, closing with a 2-under 69 to finish inside the top 15 on 2 under. However, McDowell was still an incredible 14 shots behind his compatriot -- who led from start to finish to become the youngest U.S. Open champion since 1923.
OFFICIAL WORLD RANKING
Europeans now occupy the top four spots in the world ranking.
1. Luke Donald
2. Lee Westwood
3. Martin Kaymer
4. Rory McIlroy
5. Steve Stricker
6. Phil Mickelson
7. Matt Kuchar
8. Graeme McDowell
9. Jason Day
10. Charl Schwartzel
"My hat's off to Rory," McDowell said. "It's been waiting to happen. He's been this good for a long time, and it's great to see him fulfill his potential. He's an awesome player.
"He's the best player I've ever seen and he's going to be a great ambassador for the sport,” he added. "Will he achieve what Tiger has? Can he be that good? Yeah. He's got that potential."
Meanwhile, Luke Donald owns the top spot for the fourth week, but his lead at the top has been cut to just 0.26 average points by Lee Westwood, who tied for third at the U.S. Open.
Reigning PGA champion Martin Kaymer remains third, with McIlroy up into fourth – the highest he’s ever been ranked.
Americans Steve Stricker, Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar hold down spots 5, 6 and 7, respectively. The U.S. trio was ranked Nos. 4, 5 and 6 last week, but were bumped down by McIlroy.
McDowell slipped from seventh last week to eighth this week as McIlroy leapfrogged him.
Jason Day vaulted all the way to ninth place from his perch at No. 18 last week, thanks to his runner-up finish at Congressional. Masters champion Charl Schwartzel moved from No. 11 to No. 10. And Tiger Woods, who sat out the U.S. Open as he continues to rehabilitate his ailing left leg, dropped two spots from No. 15 to 17.
The second 10 includes No. 11 Dustin Johnson, No. 12 Paul Casey, No. 13 Bubba Watson, No. 14 Ian Poulter, No. 15 Nick Watney, No. 16 K.J. Choi, No. 17 Woods, No. 18 Robert Karlsson, No. 19 Jim Furyk and No. 20 Hunter Mahan.