Kaymer’s summit climb deserved more attention
Monday, February 28, 2011
Hopefully, Martin Kaymer now will get the respect he truly deserves.
The 26-year-old German climbed to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking when he made it to the final of the WGC–Accenture World Match Play Championship. Anyone who scales that mountain should be showered with plaudits. However, Kaymer could be forgiven for thinking his world No. 1 status might not come with much fanfare. The Düsseldorf native has struggled to get full credit for his talent over the past few years.
Kaymer has spent the last couple of seasons in the shadow of Rory McIlroy. The young Irishman has garnered more column inches and more publicity by virtue of the parochial nature of the golfing press. With more journalists from the British Isles covering the European Tour than German writers, it’s no surprise McIlroy often is viewed as the better of the two players.
While there’s no denying McIlroy’s talent, he is not quite in the same league as Kaymer right now. McIlroy has two wins as a professional, one on the European Tour and another on the PGA Tour. Kaymer, meanwhile, has nine European Tour wins, including last year’s PGA Championship, his first major.
If there was any doubt about the gulf in talent between the two, then Kaymer dispelled the uncertainty when he defeated McIlroy by eight shots in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in January.
Not only is Kaymer one major ahead of McIlroy, he is only one behind Bernhard Langer, the greatest German to play the royal and ancient game. Kaymer becomes only the second German after Langer to hold the world No. 1 spot. Many in the game believe it’s a foregone conclusion that he will surpass Langer’s feats.
“It’s hard to see him only winning just the one major,” former European Tour pro-turned-analyst Mark Roe said. “He seems mature beyond his years. You have to think he will win many more. Langer was a great player and put Germany on the golfing map on his own, but Kaymer looks like he could eclipse Langer’s legacy.”
Ian Poulter finished runner-up to Kaymer in last year’s Abu Dhabi Championship and has watched Kaymer’s progress since he turned pro. He has no doubt about Kaymer’s skills.
“He’s just a truly, world-class player with no faults,” Poulter said. “He is going to be around for a long time. Not only does he have the game to win majors, but the temperament, too. He doesn’t get frazzled. It’s hard to think of him as being only 26 years old. He’s a massive talent.”
In other words, disrespect Kaymer at your peril.