Kaymer reaches the top with wins, not questions

By Associated PressMarch 1, 2011, 10:33 am

MARANA, Arizona (AP)—Four years ago in another desert, caddie Fanny Sunessonwas sitting near the putting green at Bighorn Golf Club waiting for her work dayto start when she mentioned her part-time job with the Germany team.

Bernhard Langer was approaching 50. There was no heir apparent in Germangolf.

Sunesson, filling in for Michelle Wie at the time, mentioned one youngprospect with natural skill and amazing poise who had recently turned pro. Hisname was Martin Kaymer .

“Didn’t I tell you to remember his name?” she asked playfully from behindthe 10th green last Saturday at Dove Mountain, where she watched Kaymer disposeof another opponent in the Match Play Championship on his way to becoming No. 1in the world.

Martin Kamyer of Germany studi…
AP - Feb 27, 5:19 pm EST

Stardom came faster for Kaymer than it has for any player this side of TigerWoods .

And there were early signs of greatness, even if not as many people werepaying attention.

Kaymer shot 59 on a mini-tour in Europe, a magic number at any level. Heearned his European Tour card without going to Q-school, then was rookie of theyear. After winning his first European Tour event in 2008 at Abu Dhabi, he threwdown a birdie-birdie-eagle finish in Dubai to finish one shot behind Woods.

Ernie Els wasn’t kidding three years ago when he said of Kaymer, “He’sgoing to be something, I promise you.”

Kaymer officially took over as No. 1 in the world on Monday. How long hestays at the top remains to be seen, for Lee Westwood will have a chance to takeit back this week at the Honda Classic.

This time, however, this is no debate over No. 1.

Despite critics of the world ranking system—most of them in the UnitedStates—Westwood earned his No. 1 ranking. Although he has not won a major, noone performed better and more consistently in the biggest tournaments over thetwo-year period that the ranking uses to measure players around the world.

So why the debate?

Westwood had only three wins during those years. One was the St. JudeClassic, a middle-tier event on the U.S. PGA Tour, and only because RobertGarrigus made triple bogey on the 18th hole. Adding to the skepticism, Westwoodwas home in England the day he reached No. 1, clinched when Kaymer didn’t finishin the top two that week at the Andalucia Masters.

Kaymer’s rise to the top was far more active.

The 26-year-old German has won seven times over the last two years. He won amajor with the kind of shots that suggest the U.S. PGA Championship won’t be hislast one. Kaymer holed a 15-foot par putt on the last hole that got him into aplayoff. After Bubba Watson birdied the first of a three-hole playoff, Kaymeranswered with a birdie on the toughest par 3 at Whistling Straits.

That was the start of three straight wins.

There already is a mystique about the “Germanator,” who has no glaringweakness and is determined to fix the flaws only he can see. When Europe’s best— not to mention Phil Mickelson —gathered at the Abu Dhabi Championship, Kaymerbeat the strongest field on the European Tour by eight shots.

And when Westwood was bounced out of the second round of the Match PlayChampionship, it opened up an opportunity for Kaymer to reach No. 1 if he couldget to the finalk.

He rallied over the final six holes to beat Hunter Mahan in the third round.He hit hybrid onto the 18th green to secure par and beat Miguel Angel Jimenez inthe quarterfinal, then calmly holed an 8-foot par on the 18th hole to beatWatson in the semifinal.

For sure, Kaymer did not back his way into No. 1.

It would have been even sweeter to win a World Golf Championship on his wayto No. 1.

But that wasn’t necessary.

There should be no argument about it. For now—and perhaps for awhile—Kaymer is the guy to beat, although the ranking is so volatile that a half-dozenplayers could be No. 1 when the Masters rolls around.

Woods has slipped to No. 5, his lowest ranking since the week before he wonthe 1997 Masters. Kaymer might be a solid No. 2 if not for Woods’ free fall,first with his personal life and then with his golf swing. Kaymer’s average inthe world ranking is 8.36. Woods was at 14.67 when the 2009 season ended.

So in that respect, Woods has as much to do with who’s No. 1 as the playerwho gets there.

What’s different this time around is that Kaymer is nearly a decade youngerthan Woods, polished but not quite refined. His best golf could still be aheadof him.

Kaymer might have been here even sooner if not for some emotional andphysical bumps along the way.

His mother died in 2008, just three weeks after Kaymer won the BMWInternational Open in Munich. A year later, he won the French Open and ScottishOpen in consecutive weeks and had a shot at his first Order of Merit beforeinjuring his foot in a go-kart accident and missing six crucial weeks.

Being No. 1 is not likely to alter his ambition.

“I want to go out and win tournaments. I want to compete, get myself in thelast group on Sunday and feel that heat, preferably against the best playersever, so that I can compare myself,” Kaymer said. “And if I compare myself, Ican see my weaknesses or strengths that I have, and I can move on and work onthat.

“But it’s always the vision of getting better and winning moretournaments,” he said. “That’s what keeps me going. And that is what I love todo.”

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 3, Tiger Woods

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:45 pm

After returning to competition at the Hero World Challenge in December 2016, Woods started the new year with an ambitious slate of tournament starts as he eyed his first full season since 2013. But he made it only three rounds, looking rusty en route to a missed cut at Torrey Pines before withdrawing abruptly in Dubai.

The “spasms” that led to that withdrawal turned out to be something far more serious, as Woods underwent his fourth and most invasive back surgery in April, a lumbar fusion. It brought with it an extensive rehabilitation, and at the Presidents Cup in September Woods humored the prospect that he might never again play competitive golf.

At Liberty National he also faced some scrutiny for an off-course incident from months prior. In May he was arrested for suspicion of DUI, an incident that produced a startling roadside video of an intoxicated Woods struggling to follow instructions from the arresting officer after driving erratically.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


While he was not drinking at the time, Woods was found to have a mix of several prescription medications in his system, including multiple painkillers. He checked himself into a private drug treatment program in July to address his dependency issues, and in October he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving.

But the incident was barely a memory when Woods again made a return to competition in the Bahamas at the tournament he hosts. This time around he exceeded nearly every expectation, twice shooting 4-under 68 while tying for ninth among the 18-man field. Having re-tooled his swing following fusion surgery, Woods appeared relaxed, happy and healthy while briefly taking the lead during the tournament’s second round.

What lies ahead for Woods in 2018 remains uncertain, as the stop-and-start nature of this past season serves as a cautionary tale. But after a harrowing arrest and another serious surgery, he seems once again focused on his game, intent on chasing down a new crop of elite talent, some of whom are barely more than half his age.

Woods' initial comeback short-lived, leads to another back surgery

Article: Woods undergoes "successful" fourth back surgery

Article: Woods (back spasm) withdraws from Dubai

Article: Players disappointed Woods withdraws from Dubai

Really, again: Tiger undergoes fourth back surgery

Begay on Tiger: Future is 'extremely uncertain'


Woods arrested for DUI, enters diversion program after getting "professional help"

Article: Woods arrested for DUI in May

Article: Police say Woods had 5 drugs in system when arrested

Article: DUI affidavit states Tiger asleep in parked car

Dashcam video released of Tiger's DUI arrest

Begay, Rolfing: Tiger's arrest needs to be wakeup call

Photos: Tiger Woods' car during DUI arrest

Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

Photos: Tiger Woods in court for DUI hearing

Article: Tiger gets 'professional help' for prescription meds

Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

Article: Woods pleads in court guilty to reckless driving


Woods goes from unsure of his pro golf future to resuming full golf activities

Article: Doctor clears Woods for full golf activity six months after back surgery

Article: Tiger doesn't know what future holds

Article: Woods back to making full swings

Woods admits he might never return to competition

Making progress: Breaking down Tiger's driver swing


Woods returns to competition for first time since February at Hero World Challenge

Article: Hero comeback a success for healthy Woods

Article: Woods discusses his back: 'No issues at all, none'

Tiger Tracker: Woods finished T-9 in return to competition

Chamblee: 'I was wrong' about some of my Woods skepticism

Tiger, if you were hurting, would you tell us? 'Yeah, I'd tell you'


Woods out and about in 2017

Article: Video, images of Tiger's round with Trump

Article: Woods posts photo as 'Mac Daddy Santa'

Article: Tiger at U.S. Open sitting in Nadal's box

Article: Shirtless Tiger holds up a massive lobster

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:30 pm