Martin Kaymer’s 2011 season went from decent to great in one short weekend.
The Germinator was five shots behind Sunday, before one great shot sent him sailing into another stratosphere.
On No. 7 Kaymer drained a deep sand shot for a birdie – the first of nine over the final 12 holes for a final-round 9-under 63 and a three-stroke win over Fredrik Jacobson at the HSBC Champions at Sheshan International.
Kaymer, the 2010 co-European Tour Golfer of the Year, was so good – he finished 20-under 268 – that he set two World Golf Championship records in the process – the biggest comeback (five shots) in the final round, and lowest final round score (63) by a winner since the tournament started 12 years ago.
Jacobson was second at 17-under 271 and Graeme McDowell finished third at 16-under 272. Charl Schwartzel, Paul Casey and Rory McIlroy finished T4 at 15-under 273.
After shooting 80 plus in the final two rounds last week in the Anadalucia Masters, McDowell finished strong with two birdies for a 67 to finish alone in third. McIlroy’s short birdie on No. 18 was huge – it gave him a three-way tie for fourth and past Lee Westwood to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Westwood ended up T13 with Ian Poulter and Xin-jun Zhang.
Kaymer who won $1.2 million became the ninth player to win a major (The 2010 PGA Championship) and a World Golf Championship event. The others on that list include Tiger Woods, Mike Weir, David Toms, Vijay Singh, Stewart Cink, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, and Geoff Ogilvy. Kaymer moved up to No. 2 on the European Tour money list and No. 4 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
It had been a long time between wins for Kaymer, who started the year with a convincing eight-stroke win over Rory McIlroy in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship – the third time in four years he had won that event.
Kaymer has played in 15 straight World Golf Championships tournaments since he finished T33 at the 2008 Accenture match Play Championship. He was runner-up at this year’s Accenture Match Play Championship and a T3 at the 2010 Cadillac Championship.
While he doesn’t receive a PGA TOUR exemption for winning the HSBC Champions, Kaymer does qualify for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in January. Watching him win the PGA Championship in person a year ago, I’m surprised Kaymer didn’t end up in the winner’s circle more often this year.
Last week Jacobson finished third in Kuala Lumpur at the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic. Jacobson's previous best World Golf Championships performances were a T9 at the 2003 Accenture Match Play Championship and a T11 at the 2011 Bridgestone Invitational ... McDowell has five straight rounds in the 60s at Sheshan International Golf Club dating back to last year’s HSBC Champions’ final round ... Schwartzel finished his final round with five straight birdies, much like he did when he birdied the last four holes to win the Masters earlier this year ... McIlroy posted his third straight top-five finish at the HSBC Champions. In 2009, McIlroy was fourth and last year he finished fifth ... Casey needed a win this week to retain his PGA TOUR playing privileges after not playing the required number of events this year and finishing No. 131 on the money list. Casey, who finished T4, would have received a three-year exemption … Casey and Poulter are the only two players to play in all seven HSBC Champions. Casey’s five top-10 finishes at this event are the most by any player ... What a difference a year makes. In 2010, Louis Oosthuizen finished T72. This week, he shot a course-record-tying 63 in the second round two and finished T7. His previous best finish in a World Golf Championships event was T9 at the 2010 Bridgestone Invitational ... Donald is the only player this year to record top-10 finishes in all the World Golf Championships events he played. Donald won the Accenture Match Play Championship, tied for sixth at the Cadillac Championship and tied for second at the Bridgestone Invitational ... Zhang Xin-Jun’s T13 in his first World Golf Championships event is the highest finish by a Chinese player in the series’ history … Brandt Snedeker is out for about six to eight weeks after surgery in an attempt to repair his degenerative right hip. Still, he had a productive year with seven top-10 finishes, including his second PGA TOUR win at The Heritage. He finished eighth in the FedExCup … Europe now has the first four spots in the Official World Golf Ranking led by Donald, who is trying to become the first player to win the PGA TOUR and European Tour money titles.
A big thumbs down to the bosses of the PGA TOUR and European Tour for not punishing caddie Steve Williams for the alleged derogatory comments he made last week about his former boss, Tiger Woods.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m usually good with the outspoken Williams. In fact, in a button-down sport whose participants are usually tight-lipped about most subjects, Williams has been a breath of fresh air. Sports are about entertainment and someone Williams would be a better fit with some of the characters, say, in the NBA or NFL.
This time he crossed the line.
I know that he apologized for his remarks. And I know that golf’s big wigs are certain he won’t utter similar words again. But how can they be so sure? My money says Williams will step over that dangerous line again.
But, really, the one who stands to lose the most in all of this is Williams’ current boss, Adam Scott. After all, it was Scott, who finished the HSBC Champions at T11, who was left to answer questions about his caddie’s remarks. That could prove to be a distraction down the road if this pattern continues.
Williams and Woods could bump into each other at upcoming Australian Open or the President’s Cup. More interesting will be to see where Williams’ foot ends up – in his mouth or somewhere else.