pga championship
August 06, 2020

PGA Championship 2020: A quick refresher on Martin Kaymer's incredibly up-and-down career

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Harry how

Martin Kaymer and Jason Day look on from the fourth tee during the first round of the 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park.

To say that Martin Kaymer’s career has experienced more roller coasters than a teenager at Six Flags would hardly be an understatement.

Consider: In 2011, he reached No. 1 in the world only to plummet to 175th less than eight years later. In between, he won a U.S. Open, Players Championship and sank the clinching putt for Europe in the Ryder Cup. There were injuries, the chip yips and swing changes along the way, too.

Coming into this week’s PGA Championship, the ride has been just as wild for the 35-year-old German.

Last week, in his first start since the PGA Tour resumed its season in mid-June because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Kaymer missed the cut at the scoring-friendly Barracuda Championship—after having strung together four top 10s in five starts on the European Tour before the break.

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What were his expectations for the opening round at TPC Harding Park?
“Expectations were very low, to be honest, because I didn't really know where my game was at,” Kaymer said on Thursday. “I knew I was playing OK, but on a golf course like this, OK play doesn't really get you far.”

Four birdies, an eagle and just two bogeys, on the other hand, does goes very far. That’s what Kaymer had on his way to a four-under 66 to sit just a stroke off the early lead.

What sparked the turnaround?

On Wednesday night, while looking for some positivity in his game, Kaymer’s search took him to YouTube for a replay of the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, where he opened 65-65 before cruising to an eight-stroke victory. While golf was on hiatus he also watched a replay of his 2010 PGA victory at Whistling Straits.

The good vibes appeared to help, especially on the greens. Three of Kaymer’s birdies came from outside 20 feet, with his eagle, on the par-5 sixth, dropping from 47 feet.

“That video from last night me winning the U.S. Open, that helped me to believe that my putting was good enough, that my ball-striking was good enough, even though it's a few years back,” he said. “It's always nice to remember those moments and feel the same that you felt that day.”

Since that victory at Pinehurst six years ago, Kaymer, whose only wins on the PGA Tour are wo majors, a Players and a WGC before he was a member, has just one top 10 in 18 major appearances.

He’s off to another good start to add to that total.

“It’s very rare to have days like this,” Kaymer said. “But something to build on to.”