Martin Kaymer has that gene. The gene athletes looks for when they can channel an inner focus under extreme pressures, where the biggest events evoke their best play. Martin Kaymer has the clutch gene.
It was on display again Sunday at the PLAYERS Championship, as Kaymer claimed his first win since 2011. After a weather front disrupted Kaymer’s rhythm and threatened his championship, Kaymer’s finish was one for the ages. As sunlight waned and his closest competitor Jim Furyk sat in the clubhouse with -12 posted, Kaymer was forced to navigate the newly dampened TPC Sawgrass in the dark, needing pars the way in.
Here was our preview before the week of this stretch of golf:
Kaymer’s putts on the 17th and 18th holes were reminiscent of his cold-blooded execution of the American hopes in the 2012 Ryder Cup. The putt on 17 will live in TPC Sawgrass lore for years along with Tiger’s “better than most,” among others. The spotlight was on the former world number one and he needed to prove his mettle. He may have just done it in more impressive manner than anyone expected.
The win was a special one for the stoic German. It was 6 years ago when he lost his mother, Rina, to her battle with skin cancer. Kaymer’s encouraging words during the trophy presentation made everyone around want to squeeze their mothers a little bit harder on this day dedicated to them. He remained strong during a question-answer when being asked about his family and the loss of his mother, the same way he remained strong fighting down the stretch to win the 2nd biggest event of his career.
We wrote this weekend of what the number one ranking in the world truly means. Kaymer is a former world number one. After his PGA Championship in 2010, Kaymer’s ascension to the top of the world was fast and viewed by many as undeserved. He was a mere 26-years old with less than 10 professional victories. His golf had been quality, yes, but it seemed as though Kaymer was more the beneficiary of a the Official World Golf Rankings system, less “best player in the world.”
But if Kaymer keeps winning events of this caliber, with these types of fireworks– I can promise you, his next time around at the world’s number one throne will be viewed differently.