Martin Kaymer produced one of the best performances in modern major history to claim his second major championship in the 2014 US Open at Pinehurst No.2.
Martin Kaymer produced one of the best performances in modern major history to claim the 2014 US Open at Pinehurst No.2.
The German seized the lead mid-way through the first round and never looked like relinquishing his advantage, despite the abundant potential for mistakes on a devilishly difficult golf course.
He entered the final-round six strokes clear, with the chasing pack well aware they needed a truly special round to usurp the brilliant German and wipe out the deficit.
In truth, that eventuality never, ever looked like materialising. Kaymer made two steady pars on the first two holes before driving the green of the short par-4 3rd and two-putting for birdie.
His command of emotion and resolve were hugely impressive. This is, after all, a man who holed a 15-footer at Whistling Straits in the 2010 PGA Championship to force his way into a play-off – one he’d go one to win – and the person who holed a six-footer to win the 2012 Ryder Cup with all the pressure in the world on his shoulders.
It wasn’t just his mental fortitude that was so impressive, though. You need to possess mental toughness and an exemplary all-round game to win the US Open. At Pinehurst, Kaymer was at his mental and physical peak.
He salvaged a bogey when a double looked highly likely on the 4th hole of the third round – the point at which things could have started to unravel – and followed it with a timely eagle at the next hole.
His third-round 72 was excellent given the conditions and circumstances, and his Sunday display was one of sheer brilliance.
He knew exactly what he needed to do and executed his game plan with consummate ease. Granted, those chasing didn’t have major-wining pedigree and the golf course was one that simply couldn’t be attacked, but that shouldn’t detract from what Kaymer achieved.
Over the course of the week, he ranked 9th in Fairways Hit, 18th in Greens in Regulation, 3rd in Total Putts, 1st in Birdies and 7th in Driving Distance.
Simply put, he was head and shoulders above the rest of the field from the get-go.
He became the first player in major history to open up with two consecutive rounds of 65 or better, the first German, and indeed continental European, to win the US Open and the 8th person to win the US Open leading from start to finish.
What’s more, he recorded the fourth-highest victory margin in US Open history and notched the second-lowest score (271) in the 114-year existence of the championship.
The conclusion? It was a simply sensational display in every sphere, and one that sits in the same bracket as Tiger Woods’ victory in 2000 and Rory McIlroy’s in 2011. That is some praise, given the nature of those other two performances and the players who produced them.
Kaymer looked back to his very best, and seems poised to mount another assault on the top of the Official World Golf Ranking. There can be no doubt that when he’s on top of his game – as he was at Pinehurst – he’s one of the finest players in the world.