Martin Kaymer

Martin Kaymer (1 US Open, 1 USPGA, 4 Ryder Cup's.)

1985

Martin Kaymer (/kmər/; born 28 December 1984) is a German professional golfer. A winner of two major championships, he was also the No. 1 ranked golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking for eight weeks in 2011. Kaymer sank a putt on the 18th hole on the final day of the Ryder Cup in 2012, which retained the cup for Europe and successfully overturned a four-point deficit against the United States at the start of the final day's play. In May 2014, Kaymer won The Players Championship, the flagship event of the PGA Tour. A month later, he led each round of the U.S. Open and won his second major by eight strokes.

Born in DüsseldorfWest Germany, Kaymer turned professional at age 20 in 2005 and is a member of the European Tour. He has won eleven tournaments on the tour including four in 2010 to win for the first time the Race to Dubai, formerly the Order of Merit.[3] Among those wins was the PGA Championship in the United States, which made him only the second German (after Bernhard Langer) to win a major championship. He also won the WGC-HSBC Champions to become the tenth player to win both a major title and a World Golf Championship event.

Kaymer picked up his first professional win at the age of 20 as an amateur at the Central German Classic in 2005 on the third-tier EPD Tour. He shot a −19 (67-64-66=197) to win the tournament by a margin of five strokes.[4]

Kaymer played full-time on the EPD Tour in 2006 from February to August. He played in 14 tournaments and picked up five victories. He finished in the top 10 in all but two of the tournaments.[5] Kaymer won the Order of Merit on the EPD Tour in 2006 by earning €26,664.

Kaymer shot a round of 59 (−13) in the second round of the Habsburg Classic. This was his scorecard:[6]

Hole123456789Out101112131415161718InTotal
Par 4 3 4 5 4 4 4 3 5 36 4 5 3 4 4 4 3 5 4 36 72
Score 4 4 3 4 3 3 4 2 4 31 3 3 2 4 3 3 2 5 3 28 59

Due to his success on the EPD Tour, Kaymer received an invitation to compete in and then won his first event as a professional on the Challenge Tour, the Vodafone Challenge in his native Germany.[7] He played in eight events from August to October winning again a month later at the Open des Volcans in France.[8] Kaymer ended up finishing 4th on the Order of Merit list despite playing in only eight events. In all he earned €93,321.[9] He finished in the top 5 in six tournaments, and his worst finish was a 13th-place finish. Due to Kaymer's success on the Challenge Tour, he earned a European Tour card for 2007.

Kaymer made his debut on the European Tour in 2007 at the UBS Hong Kong Open, but he failed to make the cut. He missed the cut in his first five events of the season. In March, Kaymer made his first cut of the season at the Singapore Masters; he finished in a tie for 20th place. In his first seven events of the season, he only made one cut. All of those events were played outside of Europe.

Kaymer found immediate success once he started playing in Europe again. He finished in a tie for 15th at the Madeira Island Open, which was the season's first Tour event played in Europe. The following week, he finished in a tie for 3rd at the Portuguese Open. He made seven consecutive cuts from 23 March to 1 June. During that streak, his worst finish was a tie for 35th and he recorded five top 25 finishes.

From 7 June to 9 September, Kaymer played in nine tournaments but only made two cuts. In the two tournaments where he made the cut, he did very well. Kaymer finished in a tie for 7th at the Open de France. Seven weeks later, he finished in a tie for 2nd at the Scandinavian Masters.

Kaymer played in six of the last eight events of the season. He made the cut in all six of those events. On 18 October 2007 at the Portugal Masters, Kaymer shot a first round of 61 (−11). This round tied the lowest round of the 2007 European Tour season. It was also the new course record at the Oceânico Victoria Clube de Golfe. He went on to finish in a tie for 7th. Two weeks later at the year-ending Volvo Masters, he finished in 6th place. The Volvo Masters had one of the strongest fields on tour in 2007. He earned €140,000 for his 6th-place finish, which was Kaymer's largest payout from a tournament to that time.[10]

Kaymer earned €754,691 for the 2007 season, finishing as the highest-ranked rookie on the Order of Merit, in 41st position, and won the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award. He is the first German to win the award. Kaymer recorded five top 10s on the season. These performances took him into the top 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time. In November 2007 he moved into the top 75, overtaking Bernhard Langer to become the highest-ranked German golfer.[11]

On 2 November, Kaymer signed with Sportyard, a sports management company based in Sweden.[12] He represented Germany at the 2007 Omega Mission Hills World Cup with four-time European Tour winner Alex Čejka; they tied for sixth place.

 
Kaymer at the KLM Open in 2008

Kaymer started 2008 by winning his maiden European Tour event with a wire-to-wire victory at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. This achievement lifted him to 34th in the world rankings, making him the only player in the top 50 under the age of 25.[13] It also secured his entry into the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and the Masters. Two weeks after winning the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, he finished second in the Dubai Desert Classic. He finished the tournament with birdie-birdie-eagle but world number one Tiger Woods topped him by one stroke. Kaymer moved up to a high of 21st in the world rankings due to his runner-up finish.

Kaymer picked up his second victory of the year at the BMW International Open, becoming the first German to win the event in its 20-year history.[14] He held a six stroke lead going into the final round but then shot a 75 (+3) which resulted in Kaymer going to a playoff with Anders Hansen. Kaymer birdied the first playoff hole to win the tournament.

Kaymer came close to picking up his third win of the year at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, but he fell to Robert Karlsson in a three-man playoff that also included Ross Fisher. Kaymer recorded another runner-up finish at the Volvo Masters, finishing two strokes behind winner Søren Kjeldsen. Kaymer earned €1,794,500 in 2008 and finished 8th on the Order of Merit. Kaymer narrowly missed selection for the 2008 Ryder Cup, but European captain Nick Faldo invited Kaymer to assist the European side in a non-playing capacity which Kaymer accepted. Kaymer represented his country at the 2008 Omega Mission Hills World Cup with Alex Čejka. The pair finished in fifth.

In 2009, Kaymer almost defended his title at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship but finished in a tie for second, one stroke behind winner Paul Casey. He continued his success in the Middle East by finishing in a tie for fourth at the Dubai Desert Classic. Kaymer won his third European Tour event in July, the Open de France ALSTOM. He defeated Lee Westwood on the first hole of a playoff when Westwood hit his approach shot into the water.[15] The win moved Kaymer into the top 100 of the European Tour Career Earnings list.

He also won the following week at the Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond Golf Club in Glasgow, for his fourth career win. He came from a shot behind on the final day with a round of 2-under 69 to win by two strokes.[16] The win elevated him to 11th in the Official World Golf Ranking.[17] The week after that, Kaymer finished T-34 at the Open Championship, which was his best finish in a major to that time. He bettered this when he moved through the final round field to finish in a tie for sixth at the PGA Championship.

Kaymer suffered an injury in a go-kart accident and missed September and October. He returned to the final stages of the Race to Dubai on the European Tour and finished the season ranked third.

In January 2010, Kaymer won the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship by one shot over Ian Poulter.[18] After missing the cut at the Masters, Kaymer performed very well in the 2010 majors. He tied for eighth at the U.S. Open and tied for seventh at The Open Championship, after starting the final round in third place.

On 15 August in Wisconsin, Kaymer won the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits for his first major title.[19] Finishing regulation play in a two-way tie at 11 under par, he defeated Bubba Watson in a three-hole aggregate playoff.[20]

Kaymer was a member of the winning European Ryder Cup team in 2010. He won both four-balls (partnered with Westwood and Poulter), halved his foursome and lost his singles match. A week later he won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews with Danny Willett coming in three strokes behind. He was the first player since Tiger Woods in 2006 to win three successive tournaments in a year and the first European to achieve this since Nick Faldo in 1989.[21] The win took him to a career high of third in the Official World Golf Ranking.[22] Kaymer and Graeme McDowell shared the European Tour Golfer of the Year award.[23]

Entering the 2011 season, Kaymer turned down a chance to become a full PGA Tour member; he had gained exempt status with his win in the PGA Championship. He stated he would concentrate on the European Tour for 2011, but would play several U.S. events as well.

In January, Kaymer claimed his third Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship title in four years and displaced Tiger Woods as number two in the world rankings.[24]

After his runner-up finish at the 2011 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, Kaymer overtook Lee Westwood as the number one golfer in the world, making him only the second German (after Bernhard Langer) to be the top-ranked golfer in the world. At the time he was the second youngest to reach world number one behind Tiger Woods, soon surpassed by Rory McIlroy in March 2012, who gained the top ranking at age 22. In April, he relinquished his number one ranking after eight weeks to Westwood, who won the Indonesian Masters.[25]

After reaching the number one ranking, Kaymer decided to undergo a swing change to be able to move the ball both ways. Frustrated with his disappointing results at the Masters, Kaymer looked to better shape a draw, a shot he thought he needed to be able to contend at Augusta.[26] Kaymer missed the cut at the Masters for the fourth time in 2011 and later admitted that changing his swing for Augusta was a “big mistake.”[27] The rest of 2011 was relatively inconsistent for Kaymer.

In November 2011, Kaymer won his first WGC title at the WGC-HSBC Champions event in ShanghaiChina. He entered the final round trailing Fredrik Jacobson by five strokes, then shot a final round 9-under 63 to take the title by three strokes from Jacobson. After parring his opening six holes, Kaymer birdied nine of the remaining twelve, with four straight birdies at the start of the back nine. This was the biggest comeback win ever in the history of the WGC events, and the lowest final round by a WGC winner, topping a 64 set by Hunter Mahan in 2010. Kaymer became the tenth player to have won both a major and a WGC event, and the win took him back to world number four.[28]

Kaymer struggled for most of the 2012 season dropping to 32nd in the world golf rankings. Kaymer had only 6 top tens with no worldwide victories. During the 2012 Ryder Cup, European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal played the struggling Kaymer in only one team match before the Sunday singles matches. The European team completed a historic comeback from 10-6 down at the start of the final day. Kaymer won his singles match of the Ryder Cup against Steve Stricker by one hole. His putt on the 18th retained the cup for Europe and completed the historic comeback.[29]

2013 was another inconsistent year for Kaymer with no worldwide victories. Kaymer decided to join the PGA Tour for the 2013 season.[30]

In May 2014, Kaymer earned a wire-to-wire win at The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, finishing −13 for a one-shot victory over runner-up Jim Furyk. He started the week with a course record-tying 63 in the first round at the Stadium Course of TPC at Sawgrass, joining Fred Couples (1992), Greg Norman (1994), and Roberto Castro (2013). He played the front nine (his second nine) in 29 (−7). This was the first time ever, back or front nine, that a player shot below 30 through nine holes at The Players. The final round was delayed due to bad weather while Kaymer was playing the 14th hole.[31] He holed a difficult 28-foot (8.5 m) par putt (with a huge downhill left-to-right-break) on the 17th green to retain his one-stroke lead. His approach shot on 18 was short of the green but he holed the winning putt for par in near darkness and avoided a three-hole playoff. He became the fourth European to win this event (Sandy Lyle in 1987, Sergio García in 2008, and Henrik Stenson in 2009), and is the fourth to win a major, a World Golf Championship, and The Players, joining Woods, Adam Scott, and Phil Mickelson. Kaymer earned a winner's share of $1.8 million, the largest of his career, and re-entered the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking, rising 33 places from 61st to 28th.

In June, Kaymer started the U.S. Open at Pinehurst with consecutive rounds of 65 (−5) to set a U.S. Open record for 36 holes (130).[32] He finished at 271 (−9), eight strokes ahead of runners-up Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton, and became the first player in history to win those two championships back to back.[33] (Woods also held both titles concurrently, winning the U.S. Open in 2000 and The Players in March 2001; it moved to May in 2007.) With the win, Kaymer gained exempt status on the PGA Tour through 2019 and rose to eleventh in the world rankings. With his U.S. Open victory in 2014, Martin became the first non-British European golfer ever to win the U.S. Open, and one of few players to win two majors under the age of thirty.

In October 2014, Kaymer won the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, the annual 36-hole event featuring the year's four major champions.[34]

The season began with Kaymer's appearance at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. With scores of 64, 67, and 65, he held to a six-shot lead after three rounds. This extended to a ten-shot lead after five holes in the final round. Kaymer found trouble in the bunkers, resulting in a round of 75 and a fall to third place behind Frenchman Gary Stal, who secured his first European Tour victory, and world number one Rory McIlroy.[35] Speaking after the round, Kaymer told the media that he was "in shock" at the result: "I'm surprised and shocked," the German said. "I don't really know how to put it into words. It was very, very surprising today. It will take me a few days to reflect on this. I don't think I played that badly. I started well and just hit two drives which led to two bad holes."

In August, after failing to qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Kaymer lost his PGA Tour status for the 2015–16 season. He only played in 13 events, two less than the minimum for PGA Tour membership.[36]