Martin Kaymer | Player Profile | Nedbank Golf Challengeon October 25, 2011
When the Mettman Golf Club first opened its doors in this suburb of Düsseldorf, little did anybody think of the role it would play in shaping one of the greatest young talents of this generation. At the age of 10, Martin Kaymer wandered across the road from his home to the new golf club, and hit the first few balls that would shape an amazing career. One which he hoped would follow a similar path to his childhood hero – Ernie Els. By 15 was already a scratch golfer, and had started to shift his focus away from his other talent as a footballer and concentrate on golf.
After winning the Austrian Amateur and German Amateur, and a host of other events including a tournament on the European Professional Development Tour (EPD Tour) in Germany while still an amateur, Kaymer turned professional in 2005. He continued to play on the EPD Tour in 2006, winning five tournaments and the Order of Merit. One of those was the Habsberg Classic, where he shot 59 in the second round, which is the lowest round ever recorded by a German golfer in a professional tournament.
He graduated to the Challenge Tour, winning his first tournament there in the Vodafone Challenge. A good season here earned him his European Tour card for 2007. The move proved a difficult one for Kaymer to adjust to and he missed the cut in six of his first seven tournaments. But in October 2007 he opened with a 61 in the Portugal Masters and went on to finish seventh. A sixth-place finish at the Volvo Masters two weeks later, against one of the strongest fields on the Tour that season, seemed to settle him. The young German finished the season in 41st place on the Order of Merit – the highest placed rookie – and became the first German to receive the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award. He also broke into the top 100 on the world rankings, and has never looked back.
In 2008 he was the only player under 25 in the top 50 on the world rankings. A second-place finish behind Tiger Woods in the Dubai Desert Classic that year made the world sit up and take note.
He won twice on the European Tour in 2008 and 2009 and despite a brief layoff due to an injury sustained in a go-kart accident, he seemed to be building for greater glory. That moment came in 2010. The year began with victory in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. He missed the cut in the first Major of the year, the Masters. But he followed that with an eighth-place finish in the US Open. Then came a seventh-place finish in the Open Championship, and there was a definite feeling that Kaymer was becoming more and more comfortable at the highest level of the game. He confirmed this when in August 2010 he won his first Major – the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, becoming only the second German after Bernhard Langer to win a Major. It was a memorable year that was capped by the role he played in Europe’s victory in the Ryder Cup in Wales, and winning the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. He continued where he left off in 2011, winning a third Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in four years and displacing Tiger Woods at number two on the world rankings.
And with his second-place finish in the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship, he nudged Lee Westwood out of the world number one spot. Kaymer had become only the second German after Bernhard Langer to be ranked number one in the world. He later lost that ranking to Westwood again, but Kaymer has entrenched himself as a world top-10 golfer and seems set to stay there for many years to come.
He displays the typically stoic traits of a German, and doesn’t have the obvious star appeal of a Rory McIlroy. But Kaymer is not entirely unhappy about this. It gives him the time to be with his family, where he shares a close bond with his father Horst and brother Philip. Kaymer’s mother, Rina, died of cancer in 2008.
“I’m under the radar. Maybe it’s good for me that all of the attention is not on me all of the time.”
As a BMW Brand Ambassador, Kaymer is indeed Sheer Driving Pleasure in the world of golf.
Join the official Nedbank Golf Challenge Facebook page or follow us on Twitter to get access to exclusive content, updates on the event as well as the chance to enter exclusive competitions.