Big things ahead for Kaymer, Watson
Sunday, January 23, 2011
PGA Championship: Final round
Sights from the final round of the PGA Championship, played Aug. 15 at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wis.
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Expect to see much more of Martin Kaymer in the United States. Even before this victory, the 25-year-old German had plans to take up PGA Tour membership in 2011. You’ll see an impressive game – Kaymer entered the week at No. 12 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and has won five times on the European Tour – but not a lot of emotion.
“I’m a pretty normal guy,” Kaymer said. “If you know the Germans, most of the people in the world think that they are a boring people. I’m not boring, but I’m not a crazy, crazy guy.”
Kaymer clinched his spot on the European Ryder Cup team by winning at Whistling Straits. He should be an asset for the team. He’s a strong ballstriker – tied for sixth in greens in regulation this week – who’s also lauded for his mental fortitude.
“He’s just the most mentally strong person I’ve ever known, in every part of his life,” his girlfriend, Allison Micheletti, said. “He never complains, and just does what he needs to do.”
That’s exactly what he did Sunday, first with a 15-foot par putt on the final hole of regulation that earned him a spot in the playoff, then with a 15-foot birdie putt on the difficult par-3 17th in the playoff, which drew him even with Watson.
That mental strength will come in handy at the Ryder Cup, where Kaymer will be making his debut. He attended the 2008 Ryder Cup, but as a spectator, not a player. He was invited by captain Nick Faldo to experience the Ryder Cup atmosphere.
Watson, the playoff loser, earned a spot on his respective Ryder side with his runner-up showing.
Watson, criticized earlier this year for laying up on a reachable par-5 in the Bob Hope Classic’s final round, may have lost his chance at his first major by being too aggressive. Watson hit 6-iron from an awful lie in rough on the right side of Whistling Straits’ 18th hole into a hazard well short of the green.
“I made a bad swing and you can’t get mad at bad swings,” Watson said. “If I had to do it over, I’d do it again. I play to win, not to lay up”
Watson’s miscue allowed Kaymer to lay up from a similar lie, hit his third shot on the green and two-putt for bogey.
The playoff was a big moment for both players. Perhaps they’ll get a chance at a rematch at the Ryder Cup.