Victorious Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie said on Tuesday that Europe was now the dominant power in world golf, but predicted China would have its first number one player within a decade.
The Scot, whose European side regained the Ryder Cup with victory over the United States at Celtic Manor, said it capped the continent's surge to the forefront of the game, while Lee Westwood is poised to become the top player.
Montgomerie was identified as the architect and driving force of the nail-biting victory earlier this month.
"We've always bowed to America's dominance in the world rankings," Montgomerie said in Hong Kong. "But we've had a fantastic year in Europe and that dominance is now changing.
"There is a changing of the guard towards Europe and also the European Tour."
But that dominance may not last too long, the 47-year-old said, as Asia becomes a force to be reckoned with.
When asked by AFP if he could see a Chinese player becoming world number one in the next 10 to 15 years, Montgomerie said: "Definitely, definitely, I'll be surprised if there wasn't with the talent that could well be found."
"There's no question, with the work ethic here," said Montgomerie, speaking at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club for the annual HSBC Champions Charity Golf Day.
"We've seen how hard the Koreans work and practise, especially in the ladies' game. The work ethic here is great.
"We've got a Korean major winner (Yang Yong-Eun) and a Chinese will follow suit, definitely."
Before then, Montgomerie said he fully expected a reaction from Tiger Woods to being imminently usurped from the top of the global rankings after a five-year reign at the top.
"Tiger Woods won't like being number two at anything and he will come out fighting," Montgomerie said.