Karma for Kaymer as kind gesture gets reward
MARTIN KAYMER showed true Ryder Cup grit in the gloaming at Sawgrass but there's a lot more to the newly-crowned Players Champion than his ability to play exquisite shots or sink clutch putts under excruciating pressure.
Many will list his holing of an astonishing 27-foot downhill putt, across a whopping 15 feet of break, for par at 17 on Sunday as the outstanding moment of the German's one-stroke victory over Jim Furyk.
Yet during a week that stirred a few ugly Ryder Cup undercurrents, something happened on Saturday that helped explain why he's universally popular on the professional fairways.
As Jordan Spieth seethed after missing a four-foot birdie putt, Kaymer tapped Spieth on the shoulder during their march up the next fairway and said, "don't worry about it, Jordan. Just have some fun. After all, this is where you want to be."
"It was really cool of him to say that," said Spieth, who, after his own victory prospects expired during a final-round 74, visibly encouraged Kaymer during the tense closing stages.
The youngster was struck by Kaymer's response to rowdy 'home' fans who catcalled and cheered when he missed a par putt at the last on Saturday. "He handled it so gracefully, just took his hat off and smiled."
Kaymer has emerged stronger from two years of frustration after efforts to learn how to draw the ball caused the 2010 PGA champion and former world No 1 to lose his reliable fade and his confidence.
As he claimed the biggest (at $1.8m) and most prestigious prize outside the Majors with Sunday's 71, Kaymer rounded off a spectacular week for Europe in which Sergio Garcia finished third, Justin Rose shared fourth and Rory McIlroy was sixth with Lee Westwood.
Up in the Sky Sports commentary booth, Paul McGinley couldn't conceal his delight, while Kaymer underlined the synergy between the Dubliner and the players he'll lead into action at Gleneagles.
"I think Paul will be a brilliant captain because of the way he talks to you," said Kaymer. "He's a very respectful man and he really listens to you and he wants to help. He's not a selfish player and not a selfish captain."