Donald triumphant as Euro dominance strengthens
Dove Mountain, Arizona
Snow lay on the desert greens of southern Arizona; meteorological evidence perhaps that the axis of the golfing globe had been tilted further from its traditional American heartland.
Another indicator that it is all change in the golfing world was that Luke Donald graduated from being a perennial member of the supporting cast to having his own name up in lights after his victory in the WGC Match Play final over Martin Kaymer.
Donald was the dominant force of the week. Never behind in any of his six matches he demonstrated why he is always such an important figure for Europe in Ryder Cups as he claimed his first WGC crown and biggest title of his career to date.
Matchplay suits him so well, despite his comparative lack of length off the tee. When he can see his opponent he is a different animal.
Donald knows what he has to do and it gives him clarity. Sometimes you can feel that he can become distracted by what the rest might do when the format is 72-hole strokeplay.
American commentators are left scratching their head how a player like Donald, with only two wins in five years in the US, can climb to number three in the world. The answer is born out of consistency and riding the wave of European domination in the world game at the moment.
Donald has proved that raw power is not everything in golf
European Tour players have now won four of the last five World Golf Championships events and the last three majors with Kaymer claiming the US PGA, Louis Oosthuizen the Open and Graeme McDowell the US Open.
Kaymer is the game's new top dog. It was only a matter of time before the world rankings reflected what has become abundantly clear since August - that the 26-year-old son of a footballer from Dusseldorf is the best golfer on the planet.
A first major title was claimed when he won the play-off against Bubba Watson at Whistling Straits with an exemplary display of putting under pressure. That PGA Championship victory heralded eight straight rounds in the 60s as Kaymer swept to follow-up victories at the Dutch Open and Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
This hat-trick of autumnal titles on top of a seventh-place finish at the Open brought him the season long Race to Dubai title. His 2011 campaign began with an eight-shot victory in Abu Dhabi. Remember when it was Tiger Woods who used to dominate in this way?
Kaymer reflected: "I think after the PGA Championship that gave me so much motivation and so much belief that I can win any tournament that I play.
"And I think the most important thing is that I kept working on my game, that I didn't stop. I didn't want to be just win once and you don't hear about me any more."
Of course, we have heard plenty already and all the indicators suggest this will not be a brief stay at the top of the rankings. Kaymer's surge has coincided with teaming up with Glaswegian caddie Craig Connelly who took the German's bag in May last year.
Connelly, who had previously caddied for Paul Casey, knows exactly the qualities that give his boss an X factor to set him apart from the rest. "His coolness, his calmness. He plays very much within himself and his course management is fantastic. He's exceptional," Connelly said.
Kaymer has been recognised as the current best player on the planet
Kaymer recognises the importance of equable temperament. His hero has always been the unflappable Bernhard Langer and the new world number one said: "For me it helps a lot to stay calm. But of course I'm mad at times; I'm excited about some things."
Lee Westwood, the man knocked from the top of the rankings, will not be unduly concerned that his 17-week reign has ended. Quite rightly he has always seen the rankings to be the by-product of performance rather than his main priority which remains claiming an elusive first major.
As he embarks on a further fortnight of competing in America the Englishman knows that his work is truly aimed at being able to peak for the Masters in April.
The need to quickly rediscover a semblance of form is far greater for Woods, the man Westwood succeeded as number one. The 14-time major champion clearly remains some way from completing the "process" of revamping his swing under the tutelage of Sean Foley.
Woods desperately needed to win his first-round match in the Match Play against Thomas Bjorn, but having earned the opportunity by forcing a sudden death play-off was unable to capitalise. He was once the most deadly finisher in the game, not anymore.
Unless there is a rapid turn around Woods will continue to slide down the rankings - he's now down to number five, as points accrued in 2009, when he won seven times, diminish in value and drop away from his tally.
There is a frenzy of opinion over what is wrong. Most pundits are suggesting Woods should increase his number of tournament appearances to play his way out of trouble. Others say he should bin Foley and go back to Butch Harmon who gave him the swing that ruled the world.
Woods isn't one for U turns and in any case it is impossible to see the man who teaches Phil Mickelson taking back his former charge. The most likely scenario is Woods continuing with what appears an ever more lonely "process".
The fact is Woods and Mickelson now trail four Europeans at the top of the rankings. It was only one week of matchplay and many an American complained that too many ranking points were up for grabs for a tournament of this nature, but the current list accurately portrays the new world order.
There has been a discernible shift that remains ongoing. It's been coming for a while and is nowhere near as surprising as springtime snow in the Arizona desert.