Punch Shot: How many more majors for Kaymer?

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 17, 2014, 2:40 pm

Martin Kaymer now has two major championships - last week's dominant performance in the U.S. Open and the 2010 PGA Championship, a win that was overshadowed by the Dustin Johnson "what constitutes a bunker?" controversy.

At age 29, and with a Ryder Cup-clinching putt and a Players Championship victory also to his credit, Kaymer might be on the verge of a run of greatness. Or maybe last week was his peak. All of this got us wondering: How many career majors is the German star likely to win. Our writers weigh in.


I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer on the heels of such a dominant performance, but I've got Martin Kaymer winning one more major for an eventual total of three.

We - and by "we" I mean media, fans and others who observe the game - tend to place too much emphasis on the here and now. I've already seen debates as to whether Kaymer can take over Tiger's mantle as the game's biggest star. Um, the same Kaymer who was ranked 68th just two months ago? Slow down, people.

I feel like I write this about once per week, but I'm going to keep writing it until more people listen: Past performance should never serve as a predictor of future success. In other words, just because he won this past weekend doesn't mean he's going to win every weekend.

Don't get me wrong. I like the guy. I think he's going to be a very good golfer for a very long time. But some of my colleagues have predicted he'll win three more. Sorry, but I just don't see Kaymer catching Seve and Phil by the time he hangs up his soft spikes.


When you win major championships by eight strokes there is the inevitable rush to quantify not what you have just accomplished but what you could achieve in the future.

In Martin Kaymer’s case, his masterpiece at Pinehurst would lead some to figure the German’s future is limitless, but history suggests otherwise.

At his current pace Kaymer will win four majors, a total that would assure him a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame assuming he isn’t injured or distracted by life.

Only 27 players have won four or more major championships and only three of those – Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els – would be considered active. It’s a mark that Kaymer’s own mentor Bernhard Langer, who finished his career with two majors, didn’t reach.

Kamer has proven himself adept at extraordinary performances, as evidenced by last week’s display, not to mention his victory at the 2010 PGA Championship, and he has shown a remarkable resilience.

After climbing to No. 1 in the world golf ranking in early 2011, he drifted to 41st before reemerging last month with his victory at The Players.

But at 29 years old he will be limited by time and history.


Pencil in two more majors for Martin Kaymer, and that’s not just a hasty reaction to his blowout win at Pinehurst.

This is a 29-year-old entering the prime of his career, and he’s better equipped now to deal with the rigors and demands of being a top-tier player than he was four years ago, when he didn’t expect to win the PGA Championship or, for that matter, rise to world No. 1.

Overhaul a swing just to compete at Augusta? Poor plan and even worse execution, but you can be sure the power-fader won’t make that same mistake again. He’s a long, straight, consistent driver of the golf ball, and his steely putting stroke makes him a threat in every big event – after all, the guy has two majors, a Players and a WGC to his credit, in addition to 11 European Tour titles. No, he won’t win every major by eight, but you can bet on him doubling his major haul before his career is over. 


If Martin Kaymer remains as comfortable on courses as uncomfortable as Pinehurst No. 2 and the TPC Sawgrass Stadium, he’ll win all the majors over the next 10 years.

Yeah, it’s easy to get carried away when a guy looks as good as Kaymer has over the last five weeks, beating strong fields on such strong courses, but we know how players go in and out of zones, and how sometimes they never regain it in majors. All we know for sure right now is that Kaymer’s no one-hit wonder. Winning his second major had to be so much tougher than winning his first because of his swoon. Getting his mind and game to a place where he could dominate on a big stage must have required a lot of dogged work and honesty with himself.

It’s why I like him to win two more. Why? He's only 29, and his attitude seems perfectly suited now to dealing with the pain and frustration of going out of the zone. I don’t think he’s going to fret about it so much, and that’s a big deal. If he somehow wins the Masters, that will be the coup de grace, because that’s the course he re-worked his swing to win, the course that messed up his swing for awhile. If prevails at Augusta National, this guy’s an iron-willed machine who might win more than a couple more.


It’s easy to get carried away after watching a performance as dominant as the one Kaymer put on at Pinehurst, but it doesn’t earn you future majors. Just ask Louis Oosthuizen, who strolled to a seven-shot win at St. Andrews four years ago and is still looking for major No. 2.

Two of the more popular routes to winning a major are 1) getting a big break to fall your way, or 2) showing up and having a career-best week. Kaymer now has one from each category – how different things might be if not for Dustin Johnson’s BunkerGate at Whistling Straits.

Future majors can’t be allocated like candy: remember that in April we collectively locked in Bubba Watson for a couple more Masters, plus Jordan Spieth’s inevitable rise, Tiger Woods’ return, Rory McIlroy … after you start adding up all of the seemingly inevitable wins, and factor in the random winner from out of nowhere every couple of years, you’ve suddenly given away every major until 2025. It doesn’t work like that.

Kaymer is only 29 and he certainly has the game to contend in majors for years to come. But when he eventually strolls into the World Golf Hall of Fame, I think his major haul will look the same as it does today.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.