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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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.

Good time to hang up on viewer call-ins

By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 7:40 pm

Golf announced the most massive layoff in the industry’s history on Monday morning.

Armchair referees around the world were given their pink slips.

It’s a glorious jettisoning of unsolicited help.

Goodbye and good riddance.

The USGA and R&A’s announcement of a new set of protocols Monday will end the practice of viewer call-ins and emails in the reporting of rules infractions.

“What we have heard from players and committees is ‘Let’s leave the rules and administration of the event to the players and those responsible for running the tournament,’” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of rules and amateur status.


The protocols, formed by a working group that included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and the PGA of America, also establish the use of rules officials to monitor the televised broadcasts of events.

Additionally, the protocols will eliminate the two-shot penalty when a player signs an incorrect scorecard because the player was unaware of a violation.

Yes, I can hear you folks saying armchair rules officials help make sure every meaningful infraction comes to light. I hear you saying they make the game better, more honest, by helping reduce the possibility somebody violates the rules to win.

But at what cost?

The chaos and mayhem armchair referees create can ruin the spirit of fair play every bit as much as an unreported violation. The chaos and mayhem armchair rules officials create can be as much a threat to fair play as the violations themselves.

The Rules of Golf are devised to protect the integrity of the game, but perfectly good rules can be undermined by the manner and timeliness of their enforcement.

We have seen the intervention of armchair referees go beyond the ruin of fair play in how a tournament should be conducted. We have seen it threaten the credibility of the game in the eyes of fans who can’t fathom the stupidity of a sport that cannot separate common-sense enforcement from absolute devotion to the letter of the law.

In other sports, video review’s timely use helps officials get it right. In golf, video review too often makes it feel like the sport is getting it wrong, because timeliness matters in the spirit of fair play, because the retroactive nature of some punishments are as egregious as the violations themselves.  

We saw that with Lexi Thompson at the ANA Inspiration this year.

Yes, she deserved a two-shot penalty for improperly marking her ball, but she didn’t deserve the two-shot penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard. She had no idea she was signing an incorrect scorecard.

We nearly saw the ruin of the U.S. Open at Oakmont last year, with Dustin Johnson’s victory clouded by the timing of a video review that left us all uncertain if the tournament was playing out under an incorrect scoreboard.

“What these protocols are put in place for, really, is to make sure there are measures to identify the facts as soon as possible, in real time, so if there is an issue to be dealt with, that it can be handled quickly and decisively,” Pagel said.

Amen again.

We have pounded the USGA for making the game more complicated and less enjoyable than it ought to be, for creating controversy where common sense should prevail, so let’s applaud executive director Mike Davis, as well as the R&A, for putting common sense in play.

Yes, this isn’t a perfect answer to handling rules violations.

There are trap doors in the protocols that we are bound to see the game stumble into, because the game is so complex, but this is more than a good faith effort to make the game better.

This is good governance.

And compared to the glacial pace of major rules change of the past, this is swift.

This is the USGA and R&A leading a charge.

We’re seeing that with the radical modernization of the Rules of Golf scheduled to take effect in 2019. We saw it with the release of Decision 34/3-10 three weeks after Thompson’s loss at the ANA, with the decision limiting video review to “reasonable judgment” and “naked eye” standards. We’re hearing it with Davis’ recent comments about the “horrible” impact distance is having on the game, leading us to wonder if the USGA is in some way gearing up to take on the golf ball.

Yes, the new video review protocols aren’t a panacea. Rules officials will still miss violations that should have been caught. There will be questions about level playing fields, about the fairness of stars getting more video review scrutiny than the rank and file. There will be questions about whether viewer complaints were relayed to rules officials.

Golf, they say, isn’t a game of perfect, and neither is rules enforcement, though these protocols make too much sense to be pilloried. They should be applauded. They should solve a lot more problems than they create.

Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change

By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 5:15 pm

Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.

David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.

“Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.

Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.

“I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”

Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.

Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.

Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:

1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.

2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.

While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”