Graeme McDowell has conceded defeat to Martin Kaymer in their battle to become Europe's number one.
And as that was happening Kaymer was re-igniting his attempt to take over from Lee Westwood as world number one as well on Sunday.
Needing a third place finish at the Dubai World Championship just to have a chance of grabbing the money list title, McDowell's three-under-par 69 lifted him only into 30th spot and with Kaymer in contention at the tournament the Ulsterman commented: "Barring the impossible Europe's number one is not a reality for me any more."
He added: "Martin is definitely going to do it unless I shoot 55, which unless one of you boys (a handful of reporters) putts for me isn't going to happen."
Kaymer probably has to win the final event of the European Tour season to have a chance of dethroning Westwood and when he birdied the 10th, 11th and 12th holes the 25-year-old German was up into the joint lead with Ian Poulter, Ross Fisher and Thongchai Jaidee.
Westwood had been third overnight, but he managed only a front nine 37 and as a result had dropped to joint ninth.
Poulter went three clear early in the round, but his bid to go through the week without a bogey ended when he three-putted the fifth and he had been reeled back in when he dropped another at the 10th after pulling his drive.
McDowell, down on two under with a day to go, was disappointed he had not been able to sustain a better challenge to Kaymer in the final week of the race.
But he said that a season of incredible highs - the US Open and the Ryder Cup, of course - has left him convinced he can go on to become world number one.
"What I've learnt this season is that I'm good enough," he said. "I know what room I have for improvement, but it was great to see that my best is good enough to compete. Two or three years ago the number one player in the world seemed untouchable, but I believe if I work hard enough the next few years I could be the best player in the world."