by Jeff Skinner
The week at The Accenture Match Play Championship gave us plenty to remember. While the weather was a bit less than perfect the play on the course was spectacular. Luke Donald played magnificent golf, never falling behind in any match and fought through the cold and snow and Martin Kaymer to win in America for the first time in five years.
Donald, a PGA Tour veteran, is well known by most golf fans but Martin Kaymer is a relative newcomer to American golf followers. It wasn’t only a big weekend for Donald it wasn’t that bad for second place finisher Kaymer. With his win over Bubba Watson in round five Kaymer supplanted Lee Westwood as world number one in the Official World Golf Rankings.
It seems that Kaymer’s big moments always happen in the shadow of something else. Kaymer’s win at The 2010 PGA Championship may have been overlooked by the masses as the PGA will forever be remembered for Dustin Johnson’s debacle in the bunker. But Kaymer has proven to be a very worthy champion with five worldwide wins in the past year with the most recent at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on the European Tour.
Kaymer has been given the nickname the “Germanator” for the machine-like style of his play but Kaymer is anything but stiff or robotic off the course. Considered by all of his colleagues as likable and congenial Kaymer has earned a place as “just one of the guys.” He’s about as nice a professional athlete as you can find and is as accommodating with the press and fans as anyone could imagine. Bones Mackay is a member at Kaymer’s home club in Scottsdale’s Whisper Rock and has played with him. Mackay says of Kaymer,” He kind of redefines ‘down to earth.’ He is a regular, regular guy. He watched me shoot 200 (in an especially tough Whisper Rock tourney) and afterward he had a few beers with us in the clubhouse, just like he was one of the guys.”
Kaymer hasn’t come to grips with his new station as the world’s best golfer. “I definitely need some time to think about it and let it sink in – the good thing is next week I don’t have a tournament, so maybe then I’ll be able to appreciate what I’ve done. But what I can say for sure is that it’s an incredibly proud moment. Not only for me, but also for my family, for the people who have helped me, and obviously for Germany and also The European Tour. To be only the second German after Bernhard Langer, who was my role model when I was growing up, is a very special feeling.
“Like I say, it probably won’t hit me until Monday, but when the new World Ranking is published I’m definitely going to take a picture with my name at the top. It doesn’t feel real to me at the moment, but maybe when I see it in writing then I’ll start to believe I’m the best golfer in the world. Not many people can say they’re the best player in the world at their sport, so I feel very honored and privileged. It’ll feel extra special if I manage to beat Luke in the final, because then I will really feel that I deserve it.”
Next up for Kaymer is to win another major and The Masters is his is target. He has placed in the top ten in four of the last five majors but has missed the cut at Augusta in all three tries. He expects to do better this year. “My goal is to play the majors better…especially The Masters.” That may be bad news for Westwood and the rest of the boys that had their eyes set on the world number one ranking. There’s a new sheriff in town, he’s the Germanator, but he’s just one of the guys.