A simple fix has Kaymer back on track

By Rex HoggardMay 8, 2014, 11:13 pm

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – There was the “lost year,” the transition year and it seems we have arrived at the payoff point for Martin Kaymer.

On Thursday, he added a course-record, front-nine 29, a course-record tying 63 and a two-stroke lead over Russell Henley at The Players to the equation all thanks to a concerted effort to not think.

“Too much thinking is crap,” he said.

Thinking, he said, became the root of his problem after he’d climbed to No. 1 in the World Golf Ranking in 2011. It was at that point the German decided he wanted to expand his competitive portfolio, specifically he wanted to be able to work the ball from right to left after playing a fade his entire career.

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He then plunged to 63rd in the world.

“The first year (2012) I wasted a little bit I would say because I was distracted by too much that was going on off the golf course, with being No. 1 in the world and all those things,” Kaymer said. “Then the last 12 months, the second year, I was working very, very hard to get back, and then it took me maybe another six to eight months after that to stop thinking.”

Funny, because that’s exactly what he pulled off on a breezy Thursday at the PGA Tour’s flagship event.

Kaymer birdied his final four holes on his closing loop, Nos. 6-9, didn’t make a bogey and missed just one green in regulation (No. 13).

The change that culminated in Thursday’s record round began this off-season when he and longtime swing coach Gunter Kessler spent two weeks together back home in Phoenix. After two years of overthinking, Kaymer went back to what propelled him to the top of the World Golf Ranking – the fade.

“It’s the fade, it’s my shot. Just accept it,” he said.

Although it may sound simple enough, shutting off what is admittedly an overactive thought process wasn’t easy. Not for Kaymer, who considers himself a quintessential German.

“It’s because where I am from, Germany. We’re always looking for perfection,” Kaymer said.

Kaymer began the season with his first top-10 finish in three months at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China (T-8). He's missed just two cuts in nine events this season and finished tied for 18th last week at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Of all of Kaymer’s 63 shots on Thursday, perhaps the most impressive was his drive at the par-5 second hole, a towering draw that travelled 279 yards into the middle of the fairway and set up a two-putt birdie.

“I stood on the tee box and the wind is into off the left, and you need to draw the ball, so it's shocking,” said Kaymer, who capitalized on his stellar ballstriking round with 27 putts. “It's shocking, but I just told myself, you've done it many times before in Augusta. You need to draw certain shots. You have to. That's being brave.“

For Kaymer, that’s being mindless. Golf without thinking, go figure.

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Watch that time Tiger throttled Ames, 9 and 8

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 20, 2018, 4:54 pm

Nine and eight. Three words that live in golf lore. Just say them and any golf fan can tell you what they mean.

In the 2006 WGC-Match Play, Tiger Woods faced Stephen Ames in the opening round. Ames, when asked prior to the event about his chance of winning, infamously said, "Anything can happen, especially where he's hitting it."

What happened on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at La Coasta Resort & Spa, was the most lopsided result in tournament history: 9 and 8 Check out the highlights below:

After his win, Woods was asked if Ames' comment had motivated him. Woods replied, "9 and 8."

Woods eventually lost, 1 up, to Chad Campbell in the third round. He then won his next start at Doral and went on to finish the season with six consecutive Tour wins, including The Open and PGA. He also won his first start in 2007 to make it seven consecutive Tour titles.

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Schedule change, caddie change for Casey at Match Play

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 4:12 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Paul Casey originally planned to skip the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, opting for two weeks off before the Masters.

Those plans changed when he removed the Arnold Palmer Invitational from his schedule and returned home to England last week to attend the funeral of a family friend. That adjustment also prompted a caddie change this week, with Scott Vail stepping in for the Englishman’s normal caddie, John McLaren.

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“We looked at tickets and it just didn't make sense for Johnny to fly back. We try and base our schedule around playing the best golf possible, but also having quality family time,” Casey said on Tuesday at Austin Country Club. “For Johnny to break up a nice three-week break with his family, there was no point to ruining that.”

This isn’t the first time Casey, who won the Valspar Championship two weeks ago, has needed a replacement caddie. At last year’s Travelers Championship, McLaren took a similar break and was replaced on the bag by Shannon Wallace. Although it’s not uncommon for caddies to take a week off, McLaren does have one stipulation.

“The only rule we have is that if Johnny is not going to work, he picks my caddie. So he picked the caddie,” said Casey, who is 20-12-1 in 12 starts at the Match Play and has advanced to the championship match twice.

Westchester Country Club hosted the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship. (Getty) Getty Images

Westchester selected to host 2021 U.S. Women's Am

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 20, 2018, 3:20 pm

The USGA announced Tuesday that Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y., has been selected to host the 2021 U.S. Women's Amateur. The tournament will be held Aug. 2-8, 2021.

The club's West Course first hosted the event in 1923, and it boasts a storied history of professional tournaments as well. The PGA Tour hosted the Westchester Classic, later known as the Buick Classic and eventually The Barclays, at Westchester from 1967-2007, including the first-ever FedExCup playoff event, won by Steve Stricker in 2007.

The course was also the site of the 2011 Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship, won by Fred Couples, and the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship, won by Inbee Park.

"The USGA is thrilled to bring the U.S. Women's Amateur to Westchester Country Club for the second time," Stuart Francis, USGA championship committee chairman, said in a release. "One of the USGA's three oldest championships, the Women's Amateur consistently identifies the world's top female players, and we are confident Westchester will provide the ultimate test for the championship's 121st playing."

First held in 1895, the Women's Amateur is open to players with a USGA handicap index not exceeding 5.4. Sophia Schubert won last year's event at San Diego Country Club, while this year's tournament will be held at The Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston Springs.

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Stock Watch: Park rises again, under the radar

By Ryan LavnerMarch 20, 2018, 12:48 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


Rory (+10%): The massive drives, the fist pumps, the unmistakable strut – McIlroy finally found the spark that he needed to play confident, aggressive golf. Bring on Augusta and his shot at history.

Tiger (+7%): It was another forgettable end to a final round, but let’s not lose sight of the big picture: Five events into his comeback, Woods has now carded 10 consecutive rounds of par or better – all on tough tracks – and can be viewed as a legitimate threat at the Masters. Remarkable, really.

Inbee Park (+5%): Fighting injuries and questioning whether she should retire, the Queen ‘Bee routed a top field in just her second start back. Stud.

Bryson (+3%): When The Machine operates properly, he’s one of the best ball-strikers in the world. Yes, he’s still painfully slow, but there’s no denying his talent – his runner-up against a star-studded field should help him tremendously.

Laura Davies (+2%): Fifty-four years old and nursing an Achilles injury, she turned back the clock with one of the coolest performances of the young season, on any tour. She’s still got tons of game.


Henrik Stenson (-1%): Maybe he’s just destined to go winless at Bay Hill. In the past four years, he’s had three excellent chances to win there and came away empty-handed each time.

Rickie (-2%): Hanging near the lead, Fowler closed his third round bogey-double, then shot 74 in the final round to drop out of the top 10. Sigh.  

P-Reed (-3%): His whiny protest to a rules official about a free drop – “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth” – got even juicier when the Ryder Cup partners were drawn in the same group at the Match Play. Get your popcorn ready.

Ted Potter Jr. (-5%): His impressive victory at Pebble Beach over DJ, Phil and J-Day is looking more and more like a fluke each week. He’s now missed four consecutive cuts.

Fan behavior (-7%): Another week, another player complaining about increasingly hostile spectators. The Tour has (frustratingly) remained quiet on the issue, but the tipping point will come when one of these dopes affects the outcome on the 72nd hole.