CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. – Tension is climbing with the FedEx Cup racing toward its grand finale at next week’s Tour Championship.
Sunday’s finish to the BMW Championship will determine who goes to Atlanta for a chance to win the $10 million jackpot.
A long run of big events is testing skill, stamina, patience and even player-caddie relationships. The day started with news that Phil Mickelson had withdrawn from the tournament in the middle of the night, with fatigue an apparent issue. With the round beginning, news broke that Keegan Bradley was withdrawing, citing angst over a free drop that was "eating" him alive. It ended with Adam Scott and caddie Steve Williams engaging in a heated exchange outside the clubhouse after their round in clear sight of gathered media.
But then there was the unflappable Martin Kaymer, who coolly posted a 6-under-par 64 to get himself in the hunt to win yet another important title this year. He’s tied for third, five shots off the lead, attempting to add a FedEx Cup playoff title to the U.S. Open and Players Championship titles he won earlier this year.
“I needed a little bit of something today,” Kaymer said. “I felt if I shot 4- or 5-under par, it would get me a chance to win tomorrow.”
After winning The Players in May and the U.S. Open in June, Kaymer's play leveled off. He finished 70th at the British Open and missed back-to-back cuts at the PGA and Barclays, but he’s heating up again. He tied for seventh at the Deutsche Bank Championship last week and is in position to make a run at the FedEx Cup.
Kaymer said he's feeling the effects of a long year, too.
“A lot of people forget that it's very, very difficult for someone who is staying in hotel rooms every single week,” Kaymer said. “I've been in rooms now for five weeks in a row. I’ve played pretty much everything I should play, like the majors, the World Golf Championships, now here, the FedExCup. You can't really skip an event.
“After the U.S. Open, I had to play in Germany, so it was just very, very tiring. I didn't really have time to reflect on such big wins. I'm the kind of guy who would like to sit down and take some time and reflect on how good that win really was, and I didn't really have time for that. And then I didn't really have enough motivation as well, to keep going.”
As the intensity rises in the stretch-run to the playoffs, and the Ryder Cup approaches, Kaymer looks like he is finding his best form again.