Blog: Cool Kaymer outlasts the field at fabled PinehurstJune, 2014
The German displayed rare coolness at Pinehurst – what an asset he will be for Europe at Gleneagles
We kept waiting for Martin Kaymer to come back to the field.
It is impossible, surely, for a man who is not called Tiger Woods to lead the way from start to finish in a typically punishing US Open.
That 65 on the first day – not an easy one to follow up. And then he threw in the same again on Friday.
Shades of Gil Morgan, perhaps, who lapped the field for the first half of the US Open in 1992. He played the first 43 holes in -12 – and the remaining 29 in 17 over.
That was the year when Jack Nicklaus congratulated Colin Montgomerie on winning his first Major, only for Tom Kite (and Jeff Sluman for that matter) to finish ahead of the Scot.
But Kaymer plodded on and eventually birdied the last for a 72 that saw his six-shot halfway lead turn into a five-shot lead after 54.
Sunday was the same story. On the one hand, a lead in the US Open is the least secure in the game because every hole is treacherous.
On the other, every par the leader makes heaps pressure on the chasing pack who are obliged to push for ever more improbable birdies.
At least that was how it worked out here.
Kaymer, 29, is now halfway to a career grand slam, adding the US Open to the PGA he won in 2010. More importantly, his career is now back on track.
This was a man regarded as the weakest link in Europe’s Ryder Cup team at Medinah. Who had lost his way after reaching World No 1 in early 2011.
A swing re-build followed and eventually he concluded he was better with what what he had started with.
"This was a man regarded as the weakest link in Europe’s Ryder Cup team at Medinah"
(Sidenote: We should not criticise the attempt to make his game better, which is so often the critics’ reaction in such situations. The day you stop trying to improve as a professional golfer is the beginning of your decline.)
Wouldn’t you know, it was Kaymer to whom it fell to hole the crucial winning putt in the Ryder Cup.
And despite his game being a shadow of its former and current self, he drained his six-footer nervelessly like the serial Major champion he now is.
Still, little more than a month or so ago, not many observers had him in their Ryder Cup team for Gleneagles.
In fact, he’s only had two top 10s all year. They just happen to be Ws in the Players Championship and the US Open.
A third successive Ryder Cup appearance is now assured. But this will be different to Medinah, where he was omitted from the opening series and again not trusted for the second day’s foursomes.
Now, Kaymer will surely be one of Paul McGinley’s chosen eight come the first morning.
Europe’s team just got bolstered by the addition of a true champion.