Kaymer takes top spot
Martin Kaymer has become the European Tour's youngest number one since Ronan Rafferty in 1989.
The German, 26 in a month's time, had just one hole of the final event, the Dubai World Championship, to play when the year-long race was officially decided.
Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell, the only remaining challenger with a week to go, needed a top-three finish to have any chance, but closing rounds of 69 and 68 were just too little too late.
Topping what is now known as the "Race to Dubai" earned Kaymer a staggering bonus of £932,024 from a £4.6million pool that rewards the leading 15 money-winners.
McDowell, unable to add the finishing touch he wanted to an incredible season in which he won the US Open and helped regain the Ryder Cup for Europe, said: "It's been a dream season and it just so happened that Martin had an unbelievable season as well.
"It's just been a great year for European golf and I'm just very proud to be part of that.
"My greatest moment was the putt on the 16th (at Celtic Manor). There's nothing like the Ryder Cup.
"To give Martin a run for his money this week was very good, but things didn't really go my way - it's a golf course which continues to frustrate me.
"I played unbelievably well this weekend, but could barely buy a putt."
Kaymer started his season with victory at the Abu Dhabi Championship and then had a spell he will never forget. He won the US PGA after a play-off with Bubba Watson, then added the KLM Open and Dunhill Links Championship on his next two starts with the last of those coming just six days after he had made his Ryder Cup debut.