Kaymer reaches the top with wins, not questions

By Associated PressMarch 1, 2011, 10:33 am

MARANA, Arizona (AP)—Four years ago in another desert, caddie Fanny Sunessonwas sitting near the putting green at Bighorn Golf Club waiting for her work dayto start when she mentioned her part-time job with the Germany team.

Bernhard Langer was approaching 50. There was no heir apparent in Germangolf.

Sunesson, filling in for Michelle Wie at the time, mentioned one youngprospect with natural skill and amazing poise who had recently turned pro. Hisname was Martin Kaymer .

“Didn’t I tell you to remember his name?” she asked playfully from behindthe 10th green last Saturday at Dove Mountain, where she watched Kaymer disposeof another opponent in the Match Play Championship on his way to becoming No. 1in the world.

Martin Kamyer of Germany studi…
AP - Feb 27, 5:19 pm EST

Stardom came faster for Kaymer than it has for any player this side of TigerWoods .

And there were early signs of greatness, even if not as many people werepaying attention.

Kaymer shot 59 on a mini-tour in Europe, a magic number at any level. Heearned his European Tour card without going to Q-school, then was rookie of theyear. After winning his first European Tour event in 2008 at Abu Dhabi, he threwdown a birdie-birdie-eagle finish in Dubai to finish one shot behind Woods.

Ernie Els wasn’t kidding three years ago when he said of Kaymer, “He’sgoing to be something, I promise you.”

Kaymer officially took over as No. 1 in the world on Monday. How long hestays at the top remains to be seen, for Lee Westwood will have a chance to takeit back this week at the Honda Classic.

This time, however, this is no debate over No. 1.

Despite critics of the world ranking system—most of them in the UnitedStates—Westwood earned his No. 1 ranking. Although he has not won a major, noone performed better and more consistently in the biggest tournaments over thetwo-year period that the ranking uses to measure players around the world.

So why the debate?

Westwood had only three wins during those years. One was the St. JudeClassic, a middle-tier event on the U.S. PGA Tour, and only because RobertGarrigus made triple bogey on the 18th hole. Adding to the skepticism, Westwoodwas home in England the day he reached No. 1, clinched when Kaymer didn’t finishin the top two that week at the Andalucia Masters.

Kaymer’s rise to the top was far more active.

The 26-year-old German has won seven times over the last two years. He won amajor with the kind of shots that suggest the U.S. PGA Championship won’t be hislast one. Kaymer holed a 15-foot par putt on the last hole that got him into aplayoff. After Bubba Watson birdied the first of a three-hole playoff, Kaymeranswered with a birdie on the toughest par 3 at Whistling Straits.

That was the start of three straight wins.

There already is a mystique about the “Germanator,” who has no glaringweakness and is determined to fix the flaws only he can see. When Europe’s best— not to mention Phil Mickelson —gathered at the Abu Dhabi Championship, Kaymerbeat the strongest field on the European Tour by eight shots.

And when Westwood was bounced out of the second round of the Match PlayChampionship, it opened up an opportunity for Kaymer to reach No. 1 if he couldget to the finalk.

He rallied over the final six holes to beat Hunter Mahan in the third round.He hit hybrid onto the 18th green to secure par and beat Miguel Angel Jimenez inthe quarterfinal, then calmly holed an 8-foot par on the 18th hole to beatWatson in the semifinal.

For sure, Kaymer did not back his way into No. 1.

It would have been even sweeter to win a World Golf Championship on his wayto No. 1.

But that wasn’t necessary.

There should be no argument about it. For now—and perhaps for awhile—Kaymer is the guy to beat, although the ranking is so volatile that a half-dozenplayers could be No. 1 when the Masters rolls around.

Woods has slipped to No. 5, his lowest ranking since the week before he wonthe 1997 Masters. Kaymer might be a solid No. 2 if not for Woods’ free fall,first with his personal life and then with his golf swing. Kaymer’s average inthe world ranking is 8.36. Woods was at 14.67 when the 2009 season ended.

So in that respect, Woods has as much to do with who’s No. 1 as the playerwho gets there.

What’s different this time around is that Kaymer is nearly a decade youngerthan Woods, polished but not quite refined. His best golf could still be aheadof him.

Kaymer might have been here even sooner if not for some emotional andphysical bumps along the way.

His mother died in 2008, just three weeks after Kaymer won the BMWInternational Open in Munich. A year later, he won the French Open and ScottishOpen in consecutive weeks and had a shot at his first Order of Merit beforeinjuring his foot in a go-kart accident and missing six crucial weeks.

Being No. 1 is not likely to alter his ambition.

“I want to go out and win tournaments. I want to compete, get myself in thelast group on Sunday and feel that heat, preferably against the best playersever, so that I can compare myself,” Kaymer said. “And if I compare myself, Ican see my weaknesses or strengths that I have, and I can move on and work onthat.

“But it’s always the vision of getting better and winning moretournaments,” he said. “That’s what keeps me going. And that is what I love todo.”

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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."

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Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:53 pm

Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.

Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member. 

The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.

In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.

"That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."

Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.

But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.

"Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...

"He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."