DORAL, Florida (AP)—Martin Kaymer celebrated his rise to world No. 1 withoutever leaving America.
The 26-year-old German has a home in Scottsdale, Arizona, which is where hespent last week after his runner-up finish in the Match Play Championship thatallowed him to replace Lee Westwood atop the ranking.
His brother and a friend flew in from Germany, only to tell him the next daythey were leaving for the airport. Kaymer couldn’t figure out why they weregoing home so soon, but he found out when they got to the airport.
They were there to pick up Kaymer’s father, Horst, who joined thecelebration.FILE - In this Jan. 23, 2011 f…
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“He says, ‘Next time in Germany, who knows if you’re still No. 1, so I justwanted to take the opportunity to say congratulations,”’ Kaymer said. “Andyeah, the next day he flew out again in Germany. Not a lot of parents do that,and it was nice. I was a 30-hour trip for pretty much 24 hours he was there.”
Kaymer could have lost the No. 1 ranking had Westwood finished third at theHonda Classic, and the battle for No. 1 figures to continue all the way throughto the Masters. Westwood again will have a chance to get back the top spot atDoral.
“I really don’t care,” Kaymer said. “I’ve been No. 1 in the world atleast for seven days. No one can take it away from me.”
The celebration went beyond family.
Kaymer said he received a call last week from two-time Masters championBernhard Langer , who was No. 1 when the world ranking made its debut in 1986.Langer lasted three weeks at the top and never returned.
“He just said he’s very proud of how he kept everything together, that Ihave a very good family and people around me who keep everything in line, that Inever really lose my focus on things,” Kaymer said.
He said Langer told him that not many athletes have good people around him,and to keep his circle as small as possible. They also talked about playing apractice round at Augusta National.
TOUR DEPTH: Europe has the top four players in the world ranking. Thestrength of the PGA Tour might come from the likes of Mark Wilson , D.A. Points and Aaron Baddeley .
The PGA Tour still has the strongest fields, according to how many rankingpoints are allocated. Through two months, only twice has a European Tour eventoffered more points—Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Another statistic that might show depth of the PGA Tour comes from itswinners.
Seven of the 10 winners were ranked out of the top 100 in the world. Theexceptions were Bubba Watson (No. 33 when he won Torrey Pines), Luke Donald (No.9 when he won the Match Play) and Wilson, who was No. 91 when he won the PhoenixOpen. Wilson had been No. 237 when he first won this year at the Sony Open.
On the European Tour, all but two of its winners were ranked outside the top50—Thomas Bjorn (No. 134 when he won the Qatar Masters) and Shiv ShankarPrasad Chowrasia (No. 497 when he won the Avantha Masters in India).
“I think the fields are so deep nowadays,” Rory McIlroy said. “And thedifference between the top 10 players and the top 200 players … there’s notthat much difference. If you lined everyone up on a range, you couldn’t tell thedifference, really.”
It could be a case where Europe has strong fields among the top two dozen,while the PGA Tour is strong all the way to the bottom.
TIGER’S NEW DIGS: Tiger Woods says he is close to moving into his new homein south Florida, and it sounds as though the most exciting part of that is hispractice facility.
“It’s phenomenal,” Woods said on his website.
His design team built a short-game practice area that features four greens,six bunkers of various depths and sand, along with a video center and a puttingstudio.
Without any wind, the longest club he can hit is a 7-iron. Woods also saidhe can hit shots from his studio on the second floor.
ERNIE’S DILEMMA: Ernie Els was fitted for a Presidents Cup uniforms twoweeks ago at the Match Play Championship, although he still hasn’t decided wherehe will be playing Nov. 17-20.
The South African Open, where he is the defending champion, has been movedto the same date as the Presidents Cup in Australia, leaving Els uncertain,along with being a little irate.
Els said is spoke to PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem last week, and thatFinchem is meeting with European Tour chief George O’Grady and South Africanchief Gareth Tindall.
“It’s basically in their hands and it’s a bit of an issue to resolve,” Elssaid. “Somebody is going to have to move a date or something.”
But he at least recognizes the problem of such a crowded schedule at the endof the year.
The European Tour wants to end its season with the Dubai World Championship,which already has been pushed back because of the Presidents Cup. Previously,two South African events were held in December and were considered the start ofthe next season.
The top five players in the International team standings are South African,and all played in the South African Open last year.
“It could be quite something,” Els said.
LOCAL CADDIE: Alastair Presnell hired a local caddie for the Nationwide Tourevent in Panama two weeks ago, and it became somewhat of a distraction in thefinal round.
The Australian Associated Press reports that the caddie’s cell phone rangfive times during the first seven holes, and Presnell’s patience finally ranthin.
“On the eighth tee, Alastair told his caddie to throw it in the bush,”said Mathew Goggin , who played in Presnell’s group. “So the caddie literallythrew it in the bush and walked off.”
Goggin wound up winning by one shot over Presnell and Darron Stiles .
STAT OF THE WEEK: Of the four major champions from 2009, Y.E. Yang is theonly player to qualified for the World Golf Championship at Doral.
FINAL WORD: “When will I win again? Whenever it happens, it happens. I’mjust going to keep trying to progress.”—Tiger Woods.