Kaymer better suited to handle major spotlight

By Jason SobelJune 16, 2014, 2:09 am

PINEHURST, N.C. – Martin Kaymer won the 114th U.S. Open championship by a million and one strokes on Sunday, which should once again vault him directly into the spotlight.

He’ll become a household name. His Q-rating will skyrocket. Hey, maybe he’ll even get a bag deal.

That’s terrific news, right? Well, not exactly.

There’s a strange juxtaposition in the world of professional golf. Those who gravitate toward the game at a young age for its insular nature, spending so many lonesome hours on the range in solitary pursuit of finding a secret in the dirt, often become proficient enough that they are eventually thrust into the limelight.

We expect them to be congenial and affable. We expect them to walk in the confident footsteps of Arnold Palmer and Seve Ballesteros and Phil Mickelson. We expect them to act like superstars.

Kaymer has been in this position before. He won the 2010 PGA Championship and became the world’s No. 1-ranked player six months later.

And he hated it. Or at least, he didn’t really enjoy it.

Not the part about reaching the pinnacle of what every golfer strives for, but living life in that bubble. Absorbing attention when he never actually craved it.

He talked about this last year. It was during a quiet moment on a practice green, after his No. 1 ranking had ballooned to something more inconspicuous. After his major championship win had been surpassed by so many others.

“Everything you do, everything you say, all of a sudden becomes very important. You’re not really used to that,” he said at the time. “Tiger [Woods] grew up with it since he was a child –all the media, all the attention. But for the rest of us, it’s not normal. It really takes some time.”

It’s not that he’s unaccommodating. In fact, the very opposite is true. Kaymer is considerate to a fault. He’s been asked to address the swing changes which led to his downfall in recent years so many times that it would leave most other players spitting fire when asked again. He simply tries to explain it for the thousandth time in the same way as the first.

He deflects attention, rather than coveting it. He is humble, not boastful. He is unassuming, pleasant, cordial and attentive – basically, everything we hope our superstar athletes will be and nothing we expect.

All of that will be on display as he once again finds himself in the spotlight.

He will be asked questions that he wasn’t asked when ranked 68th just two months ago. He will be followed by cameras that didn’t follow him when he wasn’t winning tournaments.

And he believes he’ll handle the celebrity much better than he did before.

“Four years ago I didn't know what's happening,” he explained after Sunday’s runaway victory. “I was not expecting myself to win a major at 25. I was surprised about my performance. I was surprised about a lot of things. I couldn't handle a lot of things that happened in Germany, all the attention that I could get. And then becoming No. 1 in the world, that added another thing. And it was too much.”

At this point, the always sincere Kaymer allows a bit more into his psyche than most of his peers ever would.

“To be completely honest, it was very difficult to handle everything and to play good golf. So right now I am OK with talking to you in a very calm, normal, relaxed way, as if we were having a normal conversation. In the past, I always think I have to say something special and something that might be interesting. Now I just talk and it's a lot easier for me.”

Therein lies the secret as to why he might find more success in the wake of this major championship than he did after the last one.

Swing changes aside, his struggles following the PGA title might have been more directly correlated to spending time in the spotlight. They may have been the effect of a player achieving success in a solitary pursuit, then being forced to constantly explain it.

Kaymer is older now, 29, and wiser to the ways of the world. He’s endured attention thrust upon him and witnessed it being hauled away. He is better prepared for the perpetual glaze of eyeballs staring at him wherever he goes.

He understands this, too. When asked about this prospect following his U.S. Open win, Kaymer just smiled knowingly.

Then he answered: “It’s not exhausting for me anymore.”

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

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Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

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Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

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Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

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Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm