124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

Armchair Captain: Why did Darren Clarke play Martin Kaymer twice?

September 30, 2016

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CHASKA, Minn. -- Each day, we'll examine a decision made by a captain at the 41st Ryder Cup. Sure, it's easy, to second-guess these guys, but the best part, is that we're always right!

Martin Kaymer. Hmm. Where do we begin? For starters, he was the most questionable out of all seven captain's picks who made the trip to Hazeltine. Yes, we know about his two major championships. Yes, we remember his Players title. And of course, we have been made aware of his German efficiency through many bad car analogies.

However, Kaymer hasn't won anywhere since the 2014 U.S. Open and he entered this week 48th in the Official World Golf Ranking. Russell Knox, on the other hand, is ranked No. 20. Just saying. . .

But Darren Clarke doubled down on that decision by playing Kaymer twice on Friday. And Kaymer rewarded his captain with two losses as Europe fell behind 5-3 after Day 1.

"For me it was a tough day," Kaymer said. "Obviously when you get a pick, you try your very best to contribute something to the team. That didn't really happen today. But in the end of the day, it's not only about me. It's about the whole team. Unfortunately, obviously, I am trying really hard but the putts didn't really go in for me today."

No, they didn't. In the morning, Kaymer and Sergio Garcia produced just one birdie through 15 holes of lethargic golf. They were two over as a tandem and got run off the course by Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson, who won the final five holes for a 4-and-2 victory. Kaymer also didn't do much to dispel the whispers from fellow pros that he has the chipping yips when he flubbed a pitch on the penultimate hole.

In the afternoon, Kaymer brought down Danny Willett in four-ball, failing to make a single birdie on his own ball as the duo got dusted by Brooks Koepka and Brandt Snedeker, 5 and 4. In total, he played 30 holes and was on the winning side for just two of them.

That is definitely not German efficiency. And Clarke definitely can NOT afford to play Kaymer two more times on Saturday.