Kaymer wins, but Woods still looms large
It may sound a bit insulting, but Martin Kaymer was neither mine nor any of the bookmakers' picks to win at TPC Sawgrass this past weekend - not by a long shot! The former world number one had been on a slippery slope for several months and had fallen outside the top 50 to number 61. In fact, his spot in the 145-strong field was only achieved off the back of having won the PGA Championship in 2010.
But Kaymer then blitzed the Sawgrass layout, at golf's so-called 5th Major, in a dominant display of accurate golf especially over the first two days when he returned rounds of 63 and 69 to sit well ahead of the field at 12 under par before day three. It looked ominous for the rest of the players who appeared only to be playing for second place. However, Kaymer then struggled on Saturday (along with the rest of the field to be fair) and eventually signed for an even par 72.
But come Sunday morning and it was still Kaymer's to lose although Jordan Spieth was lurking in wait as was one of the stars of day three, Sergio Garcia. Sergio had won at TPC Sawgrass before and is on record as saying that this is one of his favorite courses - well, he was showing just how much he liked the layout as he sat just three shots off the Kaymer lead at the start of the 4th round.
But sometimes in pro sport and in golf in particular, it comes down to one moment of magic or luck (or both) that makes the difference between victory or just a hearty pat on the back for a top five finish. That moment came for Kaymer late in the round on day four at the short 125 metre par four 17th hole. His tee shot doing just enough to cover the aerial distance from tee to green, took a bizarrely fortuitous bounce onto the green, but then started spinning towards the fringe and the watery depths just beyond. Somehow though, the ball managed to stay up and was heard to breath an audible sigh of relief…or maybe that was Kaymer!
Kaymer would go on to save par, when he surely would have lost one, maybe two shots if his ball had gone into the hazard, and one hole later was celebrating a one shot win over…Jim Furyk. The American had played one of the rounds of the day, firing an amazing six under par 66 and settled for second place.
Spieth would not have been a happy camper after his final round 74 and T4 finish. Like a true champion in the making, he does not enjoy losing, but this would have been doubly upsetting given that he was right there in the mix going into the 4th round. But let me assure you that Jordan Spieth will win soon. He is way too good, way too competitive and way too determined not to collect some Major silverware possibly even this year.
Martin Kaymer suddenly sits at 28 in the world, Sergio Garcia and Jordan Spieth swop places with Garcia moving to seven in the world and Spieth the new number eight.
And even though he didn't play, Tiger Woods amazingly still sits at the top of a pile of the world's best golfers, all who actually seem scared (not of Tiger) but of the number one ranking tag. Can someone please just overtake him already? He's making you all look bad…and he's not even playing!
As for reflecting on my own scorecard in terms of the players I earmarked to watch: Garcia was 3rd, Spieth was T4, McIlroy was T6, Kuchar ended T16 and Ernie Els ended at the back of the class in T72 (but still collected almost R200,000 for his troubles). Next time, just remind me to actually bet on these guys!
Jeremy Harris is the sports anchor at 94.5 Kfm on its award-winning Breakfast Show. He is a keen golfer and plays off a 6 at his home club, Arabella. You can follow him on Twitter: @jeremyharris55
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