MARANA, Ariz. -- Linguists are going to blurt out the obvious answer to this one.
How do you say one in German?
Don't bet your botton Deutsche mark on the answer, pal. The easy answer is Eine, but it's not the only one -- not after what the Dude from Dusseldorf accomplished over the past two seasons.
After winning four times globally last year and earlier this season in Europe, Martin Kaymer advanced to the finals of the Accenture Match Play Championship with a tight 1-up victory over Bubba Watson on Saturday, mathematically ensuring that he will overtake Lee Westwood at world No. 1 when the new rankings are updated Monday.
Whether Kaymer the Climber wins the match-play finale against Luke Donald on Sunday or not, he's already assured of becoming the 14th player to ascend to the vaunted top position, moving up from his present perch at No. 2.
As ever, the unexcitable boy wasn't exactly doing cartwheels when asked about the impact of his relatively quick climb up the game's ladder. Bernhard Langer is the only other German to top the charts.
"Definitely, I need some time to think about it," he said. "The good thing is, next week, I don't play a tournament, so maybe I can realize what happened. But I can say one thing for sure, it's a very proud moment. Not only for me, I think for my family, for the people who helped me and, you know, for Germany, as well."
Unlike with Westwood, who moved to No. 1 despite recording only one victory in 2010, there won't be any argument on whether Kaymer was a worthy holder of the crown. Kaymer has won seven times in the two-year period from which the rankings are drawn, and has four titles in the past six months, including the PGA Championship, which started the recent run.
That's really where the brilliant burst began. Ironically, he beat Watson in a playoff for the title, leading to three wins in as many starts last fall.
"The PGA Championship gave me so much motivation and so much belief that I can win any tournament that I play," he said. "I think the most important thing was that I kept working on my game, that I didn't stop. I didn't want to be, I don't know, just win once and kind of like you don't hear about me anymore."
There's no flash in this kid's pan.
"I kept playing and kept winning. I think it's just because of that. I really know that I can win any tournament that I can play in."
At 26, Kaymer is the second-youngest player to make it to world No. 1, behind only 21-year-old Tiger Woods. Don't be surprised if he stays there for a while, either.
They don't call him the Germanator for nothing. He's not prone to emotional outbursts, plays a steady game, and has the requisite 14-piece toolbox. If he has a weakness, nobody has spotted it. He seems to have the perfect temperament -- it never changes.
"I think it's very German," he said with a smile. "If you know Bernhard Langer, the way he is on the golf course, I think it's very good for golf. It helps me a lot to stay calm."
His caddie, Craig Connolly, who has worked for a variety of players, including Paul Casey, doesn't generally consent to interviews. But this was a special occasion. As Kaymer was conducting a post-round interview, Connolly watched like a proud parent.
"Basically, he's just an all-around decent guy," Connolly said. "He's very easygoing."
His golf game is easy on the eyes and steady, too.
"He's like me," Donald said, laughing. "But he hits it farther."
It's a fitting match-play finale, really. European stars Kaymer and Donald amassed the most world-rankings points in 2010. It also extends the notion that Europe has relegated the American contingent to second-citizen status. In fact, if Donald wins, the top four in the world rankings will be Europeans: Kaymer, England's Lee Westwood, Donald and Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell.
Americans have failed to advance to the Accenture finals in five of the last six years.
Watson pulled to all square on the 13th, then overcooked a cut driver into a bush on the short 14th, had to take a penalty drop, abd gave away the hole. The 32-year-old American fell 2 down, but birdied the 17th to stay alive before Kaymer closed him out with a seven-footer for par on the last.
In a country where golf doesn't often register on the radar, Kaymer becomes the second German to top of the rankings and the first since the inaugural list debuted a quarter-century ago. Langer last occupied the top spot on April 26, 1986.
Westwood held the No. 1 position for 17 weeks, but Kaymer has been piling on the wins.