I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so.
Actually I love saying it because this time I was so ahead of the curve, probably the first golf writer in the US to get on the Martin Kaymer bandwagon when I predicted, right here in this blog, that he was finally the real deal, the first of the new crop of players to challenge Tiger Woods for world dominance after fizzles by the likes of Sergio Garcia, Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas over recent years. (BTW, I know Lee Westwood just moved to world number one, but he’s had more than enough time to prove he is not, and is never going to be, the next big thing).
After the PGA Championship, in which he was the only contender not to fold under the pressure, I predicted Martin Kaymer would go on to more wins. He made me look smart awfully quick.
For those of you not paying attention, Kaymer won the Dunhill this weekend to become the first European Tour player in over two decades to win three straight starts. That includes Westwood, Harrington, McIlroy, Garcia, et al. Not bad for a guy who nobody on our shores heard of until a few weeks ago when he took his first Major in Kohler, WI – a resort I just wrapped up a detailed four part feature on.
So to recap quickly, here’s why I still think Martin Kaymer is the next big thing:
1. He was European Tour Rookie of the Year in 2007, which means he knows how to win, which is about the most important skill a pro golfer needs. All those guys hit great shots but many simply cannot close the deal – on any Tour.
2. He had five victories last year – which means he knows how to win. Again, that is a lot on any Tour.
3. The PGA Championship was no fluke – he went into that having played great in the other Majors, with top ten finishes in both the US Open and British Open. He also tied for third at the World Golf Championships.
4. He’s got the attitude of a winner. After the PGA Championship, he was asked how things would be different next year when he moves to full-time on the Big Show, the PGA Tour. His answer: He’s never played well on Bermuda, so he wants to play every Florida event and figure it out. Prevailing logic these days among the top players, even Tiger, who I admire greatly, is that if you don’t like a course or place you simply skip it. Cowards run, winner overcome.
5. More winning attitude? At the Dutch Cup, his last tournament before the Dunhill – and his first since the PGA – a reporter asked him how he felt and he said “I’m ready to win again.” And he did.
6. He’s still young, peaking at the right time, and might just keep getting better. My guess is if you ask Martin Kaymer before a lot of upcoming tournies, he’ll tell you he’s ready to win again.