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.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.