Since then, the former world No. 1 has holed the clinching putt at Medinah, posted top-10 finishes in two of the past three European Tour events and now, captured his first worldwide title in more than a year with a two-stroke victory Sunday at the Nedbank Challenge. After rounds of 72-69-70-69, he finished at 8-under 280 at Gary Player Country Club, two shots clear of Charl Schwartzel. Bill Haas was another three shots behind.
“I’m just very happy to finally win this year,” Kaymer told reporters. “That was the important thing for me, because I’ve practiced very hard and played very well the last few weeks and months, but it just hasn’t happened for me on the golf course.
“I said to my caddie that we have to win one tournament every year and this was our last chance. Fortunately, we could bring it home.”
For Kaymer, who turns 28 later this month, it was a welcome end to the most difficult season of his young career, his last month’s results notwithstanding. He went without a top 10 from April to mid-September, when he tied for fifth at the Italian Open. During that time, he skidded to 35th in the world. (He is currently 32nd, but figures to jump a few spots with OWGR points at stake in South Africa.)
It was Kaymer’s first worldwide victory since the 2011 WGC-HSBC Champions. This title, in which he beat only 11 other players (including six of his Ryder Cup teammates), earned him $1.25 million.