Thank goodness for the Ryder Cup. If the K Club had not happened, Tiger Woods might have left Europe's top golfers in a state of depression on his return to America.

Once again, the world No 1 has made the best of the rest - not just the European contingent, either - look second-rate.

Once again, at the World Championship at The Grove in Hertfordshire, he dominated a tournament from start to finish.

He has won the European Order of Merit again - or at least, he would have done if he was on the list.

He does not play enough on the circuit and is not a member. However, if he was, Woods would not only be ahead of Paul Casey at the top, he would be ahead if you added the earnings of Casey and No 2 David Howell together.

Their combined winnings from 42 tournaments are just under £3 million. His, from a mere ten Tour events, are just over £3.5 million. If eligible, it would be the fifth time in eight years that he had topped the money list here.

Casey and Howell should consider that there is a player out there who is, in every sense, in a different league.

Since he is still only 30, that could be the case for another ten years at least. Adam Scott, joint runner-up with Ian Poulter to Woods on Sunday, said: "We're all up against it."

The Australian who, at 26, has risen to a best-ever fourth in the world, said jokingly: "I've got to start playing in the events he doesn't play in, that's for sure!"

European-based players have alternative schedules and Woods will not be back in Europe until The Open championship at Carnoustie next July.

But the stars will, of course, continue their globe-trotting and thus oppose Woods on a regular basis. There will be weeks when he is untouchable.

Poulter earned more than £320,000 at the weekend and should, among other things, return to the Masters next April, when Woods seeks a third successive major and a 13th in all. He believes he is hitting his irons better than in 2000 - when he won the US Open by 15, the Open by eight and the US PGA - and is hitting the ball 20-30 yards further.

He said: "I think it's interesting how I was getting ripped for making my swing changes, now here we are. That's why I made those changes.

"It's nice to have the opportunity to do the things I know I can do in this game of golf."

Woods is seventh in driving distance on the US Tour this year with an average of 306.4 yards but is way down in 143rd place in accuracy, with only 60.7 per cent of fairways hit.

He is first in greens hit in regulation with 74.1 per cent, but 141st in putts per round.

*Ian Poulter is back in the world's top 30 after his joint second place.

Poulter, 59th at the start of the year and now 29th, tied with Australian Adam Scott, who moves up to a career-best fourth, while fourth-placed Jim Furyk is back up to second ahead of Phil Mickelson. Woods, of course, is out in front.