Where does Kaymer’s performance rank among the most dominant showings in major championship history? Kaymer took control when the starting bell rang and he never looked back. His wire-to-wire victory of eight strokes can only be compared with performances of names like Woods and McIlroy in recent years. Kaymer’s recent surge has been swift, especially since much of the last three years were spent in the golfing doldrums. After winning his first major championship at the 2010 PGA Championship, which helped propel him to world #1, Kaymer decided to try and develop his game even further by adding shots to his repertoire. He felt he needed a few more shots to contend in majors on a regular basis, particularly a draw shot. These changes proved difficult and sent Kaymer into a steady slide from the top of the world rankings. But like any great German automobile, Kaymer has ironed out the changes and the engine is running as smooth as ever.
Like all success stories, Kaymer’s starts with hard work. As a young member of the German National Team, Kaymer was never the most awe-inspiring or talented. But his work ethic caught the eye of his teammates and coaches very quickly. “Kalle” as his German teammates called him, was always the fist to arrive and the last to leave. It was well known that Kaymer often took part in 6 AM swing lessons before heading to school. These 6 AM range sessions were paired with a strenuous fitness regiment, a very busy tournament schedule, and the work needed to fulfill the high academic standards present in Germany. His tremendous dedication to the game left no one to be surprised when he began to perform well at the professional level, as he won his inaugural event on The Challenge Tour. During his emergence onto the professional stage, his success struck many of his peers and members of the golf world with great admiration. But Kaymer, always humble and genuine, never let the sudden praise change his gentle appreciation for people. He continually deferred the accolades and attributed his good play to his golfing heroes and mentors, such as Bernhard Langer. This humble approach would serve as an asset during the struggles from 2011-2013.
- Audio Clip- Bernhard Langer discussing Kaymer’s US Open victory:
Kaymer’s dedication to his craft is most likely what allowed him to re-ascend to the top tier of professional golf, but a bit of a mental attitude change certainly helped as well. With the whirlwind of expectations that surrounded him after his first major and world #1 ranking, Kaymer got lost a bit in the surroundings. Frustration and un-realistic hopes were fueled by outside sources; consequently, the game declined. But, a re-dedication to the game and a more passive attitude while on the course were the foundation of the comeback that we have seen come to fruition in the last couple of months at TPC Sawgrass and Pinehurst #2. There is no doubt that Kaymer is one of those rare talents in a generation, and like so many of today’s young stars, he will be put to a higher standard. However, I believe he has the resolve to handle it.
Kaymer and Rory McIlroy have kind of thrust themselves forward as the leaders of the next generation/this generation. With two majors each, and world #1 rankings to compliment, they have done more in their short time on tour than many great players achieve in a career. For many golf enthusiasts, Kaymer has kind of snuck up on us, but for those who knew “Kalle” when he was just a young lad out at Mettmann Golf Club, his future success was well understood. It will be exciting to watch what the future holds for the likeable German star!