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What Happened to Martin Kaymer

By: | Mon 10 Jun 2024

When the US Open was last played at Pinehurst it was won in spectacular fashion by Germany’s Martin Kaymer.

Earlier that year Kaymer earned a wire-to-wire win at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. His 275 total gave him a one-shot success ahead of Jim Furyk.  

He started the week with a course record-tying 63 in the first round at the Stadium Course, joining Fred Couples (1992), Greg Norman (1994) and Roberto Castro (2013). He played the front nine (his second nine) in 29 (-7). This was the first time ever, back or front nine, that a player shot below 30 through nine holes at The Players. 

The final round was delayed due to bad weather while Kaymer was playing the 14th hole. He holed a difficult 28-foot par putt with a huge downhill left-to-right-break on the 17th green to retain his one-stroke lead. 

His approach shot on 18 was short of the green but he holed the winning putt for par in near darkness and avoided a three-hole playoff. He became the fourth European to win the event after Sandy Lyle, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson and only the fourth golfer to win a major, a World Golf Championship, and The Players, joining Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson. Kaymer earned a winner's share of $1.8 million, the largest of his career, and re-entered the top-50 in the world rankings, rising 33 places from 61st to 28th.

In June 2014, Kaymer started the US Open with consecutive rounds of 65 to set a record for 36 holes. He finished on 271 (-9), eight strokes ahead of runners-up Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton and became the first player in history to win those two championships back to back.

Martin Kaymer

With the win, Kaymer gained exempt status on the PGA Tour through 2019 and rose to 11th in the world rankings; he became the first non-British European to win the US Open, and one of a select band to win two majors prior to age 30 - he had also won the 2010 PGA. 

Kaymer was the fourth man to win The Players and a major in the same calendar year, joining Jack Nicklaus, Hal Sutton and Woods.

In October, Kaymer won the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, the annual 36-hole event featuring the year's four major champions.

He seemed to have the world at his feet but, as it turned out, the US Open was his last tournament victory.

Not only had he won the PGA in 2010 but he also climbed to the top of the world rankings in 2011 and was a key player for Europe at the Ryder Cup in 2010 and 2012.

The 2015 season began with Kaymer's appearance at the Abu Dhabi Championship. With scores of 64, 67, and 65, he held on to a six-shot lead after three rounds. This extended to a ten-shot lead after five holes in the final round. 

Kaymer then found trouble in the bunkers, resulting in a round of 75 and a fall to third place behind Frenchman Gary Stal, who secured his first European Tour victory, and Rory McIlroy.

Speaking after the round, Kaymer told the media that he was "in shock" at the result: "I'm surprised and shocked," the German said. "I don't really know how to put it into words. It was very, very surprising today. It will take me a few days to reflect on this. I don't think I played that badly. I started well and just hit two drives which led to two bad holes."

In August, after failing to qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Kaymer lost his PGA Tour status for the 2015–16 season. He only played in 13 events, two less than the minimum for PGA Tour membership.

And from there it has been downhill all the way. He is now plying his trade with LIV Golf, where his Cleeks GC team has just triumphed in Houston, and his world ranking has plummeted to 1,617th. 

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