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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Watch: Pieters snaps club ... around his neck

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 1:19 pm

After opening in 3-over 75, Thomas Pieters was in no mood for more poor play on Friday.

Unfortunately for Pieters, he bogeyed two of his first three holes in the second round of the BMW PGA Championship and then didn't like his second shot at the par-5 fourth.

Someone - or some thing - had to pay, and an innocent iron bore the brunt of Pieters' anger.



Pieters made par on the hole, but at 5 over for the tournament, he was five shots off the cut line.

It's not the first time a club has faced Pieters' wrath. 

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Woods would 'love' to see Tour allow shorts

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:59 pm

Players on the European Tour are allowed to wear shorts during practices and pro-ams.

The PGA of America permitted players to show some leg while prepping for last year’s PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods would like to see the PGA Tour follow suit.

"I would love it," he said Thursday in a Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf. "We play in some of the hottest climates on the planet. We usually travel with the sun, and a lot of our events are played in the summer, and then on top of that when we have the winter months here a lot of the guys go down to South Africa and Australia where it's summer down there.

"It would be nice to wear shorts. Even with my little chicken legs, I still would like to wear shorts."

Caddies are currently allowed to wear shorts on Tour, during events.

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Feasting again: McIlroy shoots 65 to lead BMW PGA

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:04 pm

Updated at 9:42 a.m. ET

Rory McIlroy made seven birdies and no bogeys on Friday for a 7-under 65 and the second-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship.

After opening in 67, McIlroy was among the early groups out on Day 2 at Wentworth Club. He made three birdies and no bogeys on the par-35 front nine on Friday, and then went on a run after the turn.

McIlroy made four consecutive birdies, beginning at the par-5 12th. That got him to 12 under, overall, and gave him a clear advantage over the field. With two closing par-5s, a very low number was in sight. But, as he did on Day 1, McIlroy finished par-par.

"I've made four pars there [on 17 and 18] when I really should be making at least two birdies, but I played the other par-5s well," McIlroy said. "It all balances itself out."


Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship


McIlroy has made 14 birdies and two bogeys through two rounds. At 12 under, he has a three-stroke lead over Sam Horsfield.

"The work has paid off, to some degree," McIlroy said of his practice with swing coach Michael Bannon. "I still feel like I'm hitting some loose shots out there. But, for the most part, it's been really good. If I can keep these swing thoughts and keep going in the right direction, hopefully this is the type of golf I'll be able to produce."

This event has been feast or famine for McIlroy. He won here in 2014, but has three missed cuts in his other three starts. This week, however, he’ll be around for the weekend and is in position for his first European Tour victory since the 2016 Irish Open and his second worldwide victory of the year (Arnold Palmer Invitational).

"I have the confidence that I'm playing well and I can go out and try to just replicate what I did the day before," McIlroy said about his weekend approach with the lead. "On the first tee box tomorrow I'll be thinking about what I did today. Trying to just keep the same thoughts, make the same swings. I went a couple better today than I did yesterday. I'm not sure I'll keep that progression going but something similiar tomorrow would be nice."

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Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

"I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

"I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."