Since a couple of late bogeys from Hunter Mahan helped turn a comfortable four-shot lead into a narrow one-shot advantage, all eyes have turned to a chasing pack headed by none other than current World Number One Martin Kaymer. Strangely, given the German’s stature in world golf, he’s made it to the thirty-six hole mark largely under the radar, abandoned by a local media more interested in the travails of one Tiger Woods and, to a lesser extent, Mahan.
But while Woods was snap-hooking his way to an early Saturday tee-time and Mahan’s second round was stuttering to a close, the German was playing imperious golf. His second round was one of only three bogeyless rounds carded yesterday. Though not that many people, fans included, were paying a huge amount of attention.
Geoff Shackelford, after hearing that fewer than 60 people were following the marquee pairing of the top three in the world on Thursday, posted this interesting exchange with Westwood from the first-round rain delay:
“I mentioned this to Westwood in the locker room after darkness cut short Thursday’s play. Said that I was a little surprised about the small size of the Kaymer, Westwood and Donald galleries…
“Really?” he said, smiling.
“You’re not?” I said.
“But it’s still 1, 2 and 3 in the world.”
“And it’s still from Germany, England and England.”
“So I’m being naive about this?”
Westwood’s resignation in the face of mass indifference Stateside is a little jarring, but perhaps understandable given his lack of major success. Kaymer, on the other hand, is young, a major champion, already a prolific winner and a new face at the summit of the world rankings. Surely, he’s a more exciting prospect than most of his contemporaries, Mahan included?
Yet, even the most cursory glance over the American previews of the weekend’s action make it clear that Kaymer’s presence in the mix is seen more as a dramatic complication in the story of Mahan’s emergence from the ashes of the Ryder Cup (Hollywood voiceover: “After the pain of the Ryder Cup, Hunter Mahan had one shot at redemption…”) than a worthy story in and of itself.
Partisanship carries a strong appeal, but what use is it if it leaves you mired firmly on the wrong side of History?