Martin Kaymer has absolutely lit up Pinehurst no. 2, going 65-65 on a course where in 10 U.S. Open rounds, zero other golfers have posted that score even once. At 10-under, he’s got the tournament in a death grip, and even par the rest of the way would likely be good enough for his second major championship. He’s the story of the tournament, so it’s not surprise that the other players were asked about him as they finished their rounds on Friday. Here’s what they had to say.
Graeme McDowell (+2):
I feel like I’m miles back when I see Martin Kaymer at 10-under…Unbelievable. Just a great display of ball striking. Obviously peace of mind in order to keep the pedal down the way he has. From what I’ve seen, his putter is obviously smoking hot, as well. He’s doing all the right things. Yes, he hasn’t had a great two years for him, but he’s a world class player, always has been, and hasn’t shocked me at all winning THE PLAYERS championship and then putting up a lead at the U.S. Open. But 10-under par around here for 36 holes is awfully impressive….No one else is going to get to 10-under. That’s a fact. Martin, to me, he’s in control of the golf tournament right now, if he can keep it better than 5-, 6-under par, he’s got this thing sewn up, I believe, and can only beat himself from here.
Kevin Na (-3):
I heard he played No. 3 course. (Laughter.) Is that true? (Laughter.) It’s unbelievable what he’s done. Is 4- or 5-under out there? Yes. 10-under out there? No, I don’t think so. I guess it was out there for him. It’s amazing, I watched some of the shots he hit and some of the putts he’s made and he looks flawless.
Rory McIlroy (-1):
If I was Martin, hopefully I would be thinking about how to get seven ahead and then how to get eight ahead and then how to get nine ahead. It’s not something that you, especially on a golf course like this, you can go out trying to protect anything. You just got to keep — keep the foot to the floor, foot to the mat and just keep it going. If he’s comfortable out here and making birdies, then that’s what you should still be thinking of. 10-under par is an incredible total after 36 holes, and if he can hold on to that 10-under total, he’s going to win this tournament…He’s an incredibly hard worker. I see him all the time on the range. I see him all the time in the gym. ‘
The guys that hit the gym pretty hard on the TOUR, he’s always in there. So he’s put the work in there and I don’t think it’s a surprise that he’s back to playing the golf that we know that he can play…As I said, you need that mentality that you’re not trying to protect, you’re not happy with 6. You want to get to 7, you want to get to 8. That’s the sort of mentality you need when you have a big lead like that, because you sort of have to play as if you get too defensive. And I learned that at the Masters, the previous Major before Congressional, if you get too defensive, it’s detrimental.
Keegan Bradley (-2):
Yeah, I played with Martin these first two days, he’s playing so good. It’s fun to watch. I played well as well, but it was fun watching him hit every fairway, every green and make every putt, it was pretty awesome…He’s as dialed in as I’ve seen.
Henrik Stenson (-2):
Martin who? No, he’s — we know he’s a world class player and a Major champion, a former world No. 1, so I guess we’re not surprised. It’s great to see him back in good form, and like you said, I heard one of his interviews, he’s reaping the rewards of hard work and was playing great at the PLAYERS and playing even better here. I would imagine he would look at it that way, that he’s playing even better this week than he did at Sawgrass. So all credit to him and he’s the one everyone’s trying to catch. If we take him out of the leaderboard, it’s pretty exciting. But he’s potentially running away with this championship. If he does so, we’ll be one of the first ones to stand by the 18th congratulating him…I’m a pretty bad pal and I’m a bad analyst, because I didn’t think he was going to come back, even with what I’ve done, right? So we all go through ups and downs.
Jordan Spieth (-1):
So yeah, playing well here, playing a different course than Martin, but you know, you just never know what will happen with the golf course, as long as the rain holds off. I think if the course gets harder and harder, that’s the only way any of us will catch him, the way he’s playing right now…I typically don’t watch any, but today I wanted to see because I had heard that the greens were more receptive and that that rain really made a difference. So I turned it on and I saw a lot of shots coming into greens, obviously saw all of Martin’s shots for a few holes there. He’s just hitting it in the right spots and then he’s making putts. He’s not making any mistakes, he’s not missing many fairways, and from there he’s — if he misses a green, it’s right below the hole where he could get up-and-down…I never played on TOUR when Tiger was doing this, leading by six, seven, eight shots, but I imagine this is what it was like the way Martin’s playing this week.
Adam Scott (E):
It’s great golf for Martin. There are so many talented guys and he’s certainly one of them and he’s confident enough after winning a big event already this year. And when you’re playing like that, you want to just keep it going. So for him to come out today and back it up is super. If he does it for two more days, then we’re all playing for second spot. But we all know that U.S. Opens get very difficult and if I can just somehow put together two really good rounds, maybe slowly but surely I’ll creep my way up towards Martin.
Justin Rose (+1):
Take Martin out and there’s a great golf tournament going on at this stage, but as we all know there’s a long way to go. From that perspective, depending upon what he does, there’s a lot of guys in it…he’s always been strong under pressure. I think he’s always won quite a few golf tournaments. And he’s had a quiet few years, but at the PLAYERS Championship, that’s a golf course that tests your resolve as much as any other and he’s obviously came through that with flying colors. For just was a little bit, I’ve been watching him play and listening to him. He seems very clear and comfortable with what he’s doing. So obviously the next two days will really test him and find out how just how comfortable he is, but right now he looks great.
Brendon Todd (-4):
Kaymer’s performance has been incredible. He’s playing a brand of golf that we haven’t seen probably in a long time, since maybe Tiger. Yeah, probably, he might need to come back a little bit. I don’t think there’s too many — too much opportunity to shoot 6-under on the weekend or 8-under on the weekend if he were to get a couple more. We’re going to go out and do our best. We really have to capitalize on the holes you have a wedge or par 5, where we might get up by the green in two. And hope he doesn’t play his best brand of golf…I even watched a little bit of coverage this morning. He hit a shot on 17, par-3, and it landed 10 feet left of the hole and he was like, shocked. He was like mad. I mean, those were my good shots this week, so he was obviously playing a really good level of golf.
Dustin Johnson (-2):
Q. Does Martin Kaymer ever talk at all about 2010 and Whistling Straits and how that all fell out?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: No.