Tiger Woods has climbed back up to 21st in the world rankings after finally ending more than two years without a victory.
Woods leaped 31 places after grabbing birdies at the final two holes of the Chevron World Challenge to beat Zach Johnson by one.
Luke Donald is in his 28th week as world No. 1, and cannnot be overtaken at this week's European Tour season-ending Dubai World Championship.
1. Luke Donald
2. Rory McIlroy
3. Lee Westwood
4. Martin Kaymer
5. Steve Stricker
6. Adam Scott
7. Dustin Johnson
8. Jason Day
9. Webb Simpson
10. Matt Kuchar
Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood were also winners over the weekend, and they remain second and third respectively in the rankings -- and still cannot catch Luke Donald even if they win this week's European Tour season-ending Dubai World Championship.
McIlroy, who sank a bunker shot on the last to take the UBS Hong Kong Open by two with a closing 65, does have a chance of overhauling Donald in the European Tour money list race. He would have to win again on Sunday, though, and even then Donald, already the PGA Tour No. 1 this season, would have to finish outside the top nine.
With Woods back in the top 50, Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano is down to 51st and needs to improve on that to clinch a Masters debut at Augusta next April.
Donald moves into his 28th week as No. 1, putting him well past Vijay Singh’s stretch of 26 weeks in the top spot between September 2004 and March 2005. That makes Donald’s current reign the longest since Greg Norman’s 96 weeks from 1995 to 1997 – apart from Woods, of course.
After Donald, McIlroy and Westwood comes No. 4 Martin Kaymer, keeping Europe in possession of the top four spots for another week. Australia boasts No. 6 Adam Scott and No. 8 Jason Day, while the American contingent includes No. 5 Steve Stricker, No. 7 Dustin Johnson, No. 9 Webb Simpson and No. 10 Matt Kuchar.
The second 10 includes No. 11 Nick Watney, No. 12 Phil Mickelson, No. 13 Charl Schwartzel, No. 14 Graeme McDowell, No. 15 K.J. Choi, No. 16 Justin Rose, No. 17 Sergio Garcia, No. 18 Hunter Mahan, No. 19 Paul Casey and No. 20 Bubba Watson.
After his victory in California, Woods joked that he is targeting being crowned the Comeback Player of the Year in 2012.
Asked whether the win set him up for 2012, when Woods will be setting out with the aim of adding to his 14 majors, he said: "Yeah, I feel pretty good going into next year.
"I think if I have a good year, I should be on the ballot for Comeback Player of the Year, so I'm excited about that," he smiled. "So hopefully next year I can get on that ballot."
Woods has made more than his share of comebacks in recent years, most famously from his late-2009 scandal. He returned for the 2010 Masters and finished fourth, and he repeated that finish at Augusta this year. But he mostly struggled to recover the form which that him the most feared player in golf, and at times his performances were embarrassing.
He took time out of the game, missing the U.S. Open and British Open last summer, and seeking treatment for the injuries that were preventing him from playing at full steam. Knee and Achilles issues were the main concerns, yet when he returned to action he missed the cut by six strokes in the PGA Championship.
But Woods has been steadily improving. He was third in the recent Australian Open, and helped the United States win the Presidents Cup.
"People don't realize how hard it is to win golf tournaments," Woods said. "I've gone on streaks where I have won golf tournaments in a row, but still, each one, I don't think I've taken it for granted."