Kaymer takes over No 1 in the world

By Doug FergusonFebruary 27, 2011, 5:13 am

2005 WGC Accenture Match PlayMARANA, Ariz. – Stoic as ever, Martin Kaymer rolled in an 8-foot par putt on the 18th hole Saturday and treated it like another day at the office, removing his cap to shake hands with his latest victim.

Kaymer is not ready to celebrate becoming the new No. 1 player in golf.

Right now, he just wants to be No. 1 at the Match Play Championship.

The 26-year-old German outlasted Bubba Watson to end a long day at Dove Mountain and reach the championship match, assuring that he will be No. 1 in the next world ranking.

Kaymer becomes the 14th player to top the ranking and the second-youngest player to be No. 1. Tiger Woods was 21 when he first reached No. 1 in the world in June 1997.

But the celebration will have to wait. Next up for Kaymer is Luke Donald, who set an Accenture Match Play Championship record by needing only 73 holes in five matches to reach the final.

“When I hear those things, that I’m No. 1 in the world on Monday … I’m in the middle of a tournament,” Kaymer said. “It would be fantastic tomorrow if I could win. Then it really feels like I deserve to be No. 1. I’m not saying that I don’t deserve it, but it would make me feel better if I would win instead of finishing second tomorrow.

“So yes,” he said with a smile, “it’s a little strange.”

There should be no debate whether the “Germanator” deserves to be No. 1. He ends the 17-week reign of Lee Westwood, who only had three wins on his world ranking ledger when he became No. 1.

Kaymer has won seven times in the last two years, including his first major at the PGA Championship in August, when he holed a clutch putt on the final hole and beat Watson in a three-hole playoff at Whistling Straits.

Asked who he thought was No. 1, Kaymer replied, “Still Lee Westwood – until Monday.”

“When the rankings say that I’m the No. 1, then I’m the best player in the world,” he said. “And if they say so, then that’s the truth. Maybe on Tuesday or Wednesday, when I see my name up there, I’ll definitely take a picture of that moment.”

Kaymer is the second German to reach the top of the ranking. Bernhard Langer was the inaugural No. 1 when the world ranking was created at the 1986 Masters, although Langer lasted only three weeks.

“It’s a very proud moment,” Kaymer said. “Not only for me, for my family, for the people who helped me and for Germany.”

More hard work awaits.

No one has been more dominant at Dove Mountain than Donald, who has yet to trail in any of his five matches. Donald only had to play 27 holes in his quarterfinal win over Ryan Moore and his demolition of Matt Kuchar in the semifinals.

It marks the second straight year for an all-European final in this World Golf Championship. A year ago, Ian Poulter defeated Paul Casey in the championship match.

Watson, who came into Saturday having played only 43 holes in three matches, faced 37 holes in a long and wild day. Watson was 5 down with eight to play against J.B. Holmes when he staged an amazing comeback. Holmes hit into the desert at the wrong time and lost in 19 holes.

Kaymer and Watson were all square going to 15 when it turned in favor of the “Germanator.”

Watson tried to play a massive slice on the 334-yard hole with his driver, but it sailed far to the left and into a desert bush. He had to take a penalty drop and gave away the hole. Then with Kaymer long and right on the par-3 16th, Watson also missed the green and failed to get up-and-down for par, giving Kaymer a 2-up lead with two holes to play.

Watson made a 6-foot birdie putt on the 17th to stay in the match, but his shot from a fairway bunker on the 18th spun off the false front of the green. Kaymer went long, chipped to 8 feet and made the par.

“The matches I had were very difficult,” said Kaymer, who also went 18 holes in a 1-up win over Miguel Angel Jimenez in the quarterfinals earlier Saturday.

Not so for Donald, who headed to the gym during the final hour of the Kaymer match to work up a sweat. He hasn’t gotten too much of a workout on the golf course through five matches.

A win for Donald would move him up to a career-best No. 3 in the world.

“That would be an added bonus,” Donald said. “I’ll be concentrating on trying to beat whoever I’m playing against and trying to pick up a trophy.”

Donald has been nothing short of brilliant on his record-setting march to the final.

When he holed a short birdie putt on the par-5 13th to close out Kuchar, it was his 13th birdie in 27 holes he played in quarterfinal and semifinal matches. Donald has played only 73 holes in five matches, the fewest of anyone to reach the championship match in the 13-year history of this tournament. The previous record was 77 holes by Woods in 2003.

Donald became only the second finalist to have never seen the 18th hole in competition. Geoff Ogilvy in 2007 was the other. With the format change from 36 holes to 18 holes for Sunday, he could go the entire tournament without playing No. 18.

“Hopefully, I don’t get to it again tomorrow – the right way,” Donald said.

He has been so dominant that Donald has not trailed on a single hole all week – on only five of 73 holes has his match been all square.

“I’ve been stringing together a lot of good rounds, making birdies and not too many mistakes,” he said. “I’ve been tough to beat this week, and hopefully that can continue.”

Donald won three straight holes around the turn to build a big lead against Ryan Moore in the quarterfinals, winning 5 and 4. He looked even better against Kuchar, seizing the lead with a tee shot into 4 feet on the par-3 third hole, starting a stretch in which he won seven of the next eight holes.

“Had I got somebody else on today’s round, I may have still been able to come out with a win,” Kuchar said. “You face Luke Donald on a day he’s really hot, you pack your bags early.”

Donald has been hot all week.

Now comes Kaymer, whom he described as a steady, consistent player, as the last two years have shown.

“Like me, but hits it further,” Donald said with a smile.

There are a few other differences, too. Kaymer has a major, and he is about to be No. 1 in the world.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title


Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open


Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club


Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth


The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ


Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year


And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win


Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.