Martin Kaymer played fantastic golf on Sunday in Shanghai — which has unfortunately been somewhat overshadowed by the ongoing controversy over Steve Williams’ comment directed at ex-boss Tiger Woods — and it deserves a tip of the cap. Kaymer rallied from a five-shot deficit, making nine birdies in his last 12 holes to win by three strokes.
The 26-year-old German holed out a bunker shot on No. 7 that propelled his amazing run.
“It started off a little slow,” said Kaymer in his post-victory presser. “But then I holed a bunker shot on 7 for birdie, and pretty much since then, I didn’t miss a lot of golf shots. I didn’t miss a lot of putts.”
What’s more, he missed a kick-in birdie putt on No. 9 and parred one of the par-5s on the back nine, along with a short par-4 reachable with a 3-wood from the tee. But that didn’t matter because everything else went in the hole.
Kaymer set two World Golf Championship records on Sunday — it was the largest comeback in the final round and 63 was the lowest final round score since the series kicked off in 1999.
He won the 2010 PGA Championship, followed by the European Tour’s season-long Race to Dubai, to highlight his breakout season. After capturing the 2011 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in January, his runner-up finish at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship gave him the No. 1 world ranking.
Then, Kaymer decided to make some swing changes in preparation for Augusta because he had convinced himself that he couldn’t contend at the Masters without being able to draw the ball more. The result was another missed cut (the fourth in a row) at the year’s first major. He fell out of the No. 1 ranking, and quite frankly, off the map until his magnificent performance in Shanghai. (Admit it, some of you weren’t sure he was still playing golf!)
Kaymer acknowledged part of his slump was due to the demands that accompany being the world’s best golfer.
“Let’s say, for me, it was a tough stretch of months, because it’s not normal that at my age you become No. 1 in the world,” he said on Sunday. “All of a sudden, you have more attention. Doesn’t matter really where you go. In my own country, I became the German golf face. In America, a lot of people recognised me because obviously golf is a little bit bigger in America than in Germany.
“But it has been a little awkward situation sometimes, because I was just not used to be that much in the spotlight. And it took some time to get used to it, and hopefully it will happen again, because I know what’s going to happen, I know how to approach that thing.”
The win boosted Kaymer to No. 4 in the world rankings.
(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)