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Punch Shot: How many more majors for Kaymer?

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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.

By JASON SOBEL

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.


By REX HOGGARD

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.


By RYAN LAVNER

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. 


By RANDALL MELL

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.


By WILL GRAY

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.