The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Martin Kaymer might be poised for the top more than he was already there

  • Print

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - Martin Kaymer reached the top of golf and wondered how he got there.

He won his first major at the 2010 PGA Championship. He reached No. 1 in the world six months later. And then he realized his game would not be good enough to stay there.

Kaymer wasn't much different from Tiger Woods, who overhauled his swing not long after a record-setting performance in the 1997 Masters. Kaymer was concerned about being a one-dimensional player — his primary shot was a fade — especially if he wanted to contend at Augusta National and other majors.

He just didn't realize it would take this long.

Halfway through his victory at The Players Championship, he thought back to the time he put in on his game.

"All that work, all the hours," Kaymer said. "When you are standing on the range for six, seven hours, hitting the same shot, the same drill, you feel like it should be enough. You just don't want to be there at one stage because it's so much. And it's a little boring as well. But you know long term, it will become something good."

It paid off in a big way last week at The Players, the next best thing to a major.

The 29-year-old German tied the course record with a 63 on Thursday and was never behind after any round the rest of the way. His biggest challenge Sunday was when he had to return from a 90-minute storm delay and finish four holes in which he had everything to lose.

Even with a double bogey that cut his lead to one shot, he didn't feel as if the tournament were slipping away.

About the only thing that annoyed him was that "soft egg" moment to the left the green on the par-5 16th. Kaymer had spoken all week about being confident enough in his swing to stop thinking about the mechanics and to start playing by feel. He talked about hitting the right shot — the brave shot — not the easy one.

He kept using the word, "wimp," until he jokingly was asked the German word for it.

"Weiches ei," he replied in his native language. And then he offered that polite smile and added the English translation. "It's 'soft egg.'"

Instead of chipping on the 16th, Kaymer decided to use a putter. He didn't hit it nearly hard enough, so instead of having a good chance at birdie, he had to two-putt from over 30 feet just to make par and keep his one-shot lead.

He wound up with one of the craziest pars ever on the island green at the par-3 17th, which ended with a 30-foot putt that broke some 8 feet to the right. And he collected the crystal trophy, along with the $1.8 million check from the richest purse on the PGA Tour.

But that wimpy decision on the 16th gnawed at him even in victory. He wants perfection.

"It's not the right thing to putt it. It's a soft egg," he said. "The swing is all good. I'm happy the way that it works out and the way I go. Everything is fine, and I'm really happy about this. But those things ... on 16, I was not true to myself, and that's painful. It really is. Because it's just not right.

"You can think, 'I won the golf tournament. I should be happy,'" he said. "And I'm very, very happy about this. But those are things I would like to improve for the future."

His future again looks bright.

Kaymer now has won 14 times around the world. Even as he was retooling his swing with longtime coach Gunter Kessler, he managed to win a World Golf Championship in Shanghai by closing with a 63. Having barely made a Ryder Cup team in 2012 when Europe would have been better off without him because of his form, Kaymer still had enough left to beat Steve Stricker in the match that assured Europe would keep the cup.

And he won at the end of last year in South Africa.

But it means more to have beaten one of the strongest fields in golf, and to have conquered a course on the TPC Sawgrass that punishes the slightest mistake.

Kaymer never really flinched all week. He put his name out front and stayed there. Darren Clarke noticed it in the second round. Kaymer didn't hit it his best that day, but he scored. That's the golf Clarke remembered.

"He's a proper golfer this one," Clarke said. "He's a finely tuned engineer."

Perhaps he is ready to take his place among the best in the game. The major season is just getting started.

"Now it's important that you don't stop," he said. "It's very easy to just be happy now, relax and let things happen. But now it's a time we have to work even harder."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Keri Latimer looks for beauty in the dark and the spaces between the notes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada goose makes takes flight on Wilkes Ave Friday afternoon- See Bryksa’s 30 Day goose a day challenge- Day 09- May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Geese fly in the morning light over Selkirk Ave Wednesday morning- Day 22– June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who are the real Bombers?

View Results

Ads by Google