By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- For the first time this week on PGATOUR.COM, fans will be able to follow live streaming video of two groups at THE PLAYERS Championship for an entire round each day.
The morning group to watch on Sunday features a couple of major champions in Martin Kaymer and Charl Schwartzel. Both were under par through the first two rounds here but struggled in the third round, shooting 75 and 76, respectively.They teed off at 9:16 a.m. ET.
The afternoon group to follow features Lee Westwood and Marc Leishman. Westwood got off to a shaky start in the third round with two double bogeys in his first four holes, but he rallied with three birdies on the back nine to get within four of the lead entering the final round. Leishman, meanwhile, made three bogeys on the back nine, including one on the 18th. He's trying to become the first Aussie to win here since Adam Scott in 2004. They'll tee off at 1:48 p.m. ET.
MARANA, Ariz -- This was a battle of two players who have a wealth of match play experience -- and each were trying to go to the Accenture Match Play finals for the second time. Kaymer was second to Luke Donald in 2011, and Mahan won in 2012.
This match was over almost before it started, though.
Kaymer went 2 down after just four holes after he failed to birdie either of the opening par-5s at Dove Mountain. Mahan birdied them both, then birdied three consecutive par 4s starting at No. 6 to take a 5-up lead. The match was over when both played parred the 14th.
Mahan has now won nine consecutive matches at Dove Mountain, dating back to 2011. Kaymer was the last player to beat the American, ousting Mahan 2 and 1 in the third round in 2011.
The last time Mahan trailed in a match was the sixth hole in the first round a year ago, a span of 133 holes.
"Well, it's strange, I've always gotten off to good starts and get some leads and been hitting it well," Mahan said. "If you hit fairways and greens, you know you're going to put pressure on your guy. It's definitely nice to get a lead and that's the goal for everybody, but to do it, it's a good feeling for sure."
SCORECARD STATS: Mahan made six birdies and seven pars in 14 holes. Kaymer had 1 birdie, 1 eagle and 12 pars.
HOLES WON: Mahan won six holes. Kaymer won one hole.
NEXT UP: Mahan plays Webb Simpson, who beat Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano 2 up.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Martin Kaymer, who made the clinching putt in the Ryder Cup, never trailed in his match with Rafael Cabrera Bello, who had beaten him in the Volvo World Matchplay.
"It was a tough match," Kaymer said. "It's never easy against him. But he was very unfortunate with some putts today. He had a few chances to go back to all square, especially on the back nine, but I played very solidly. Hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens, hit good putts. Very similar to yesterday."
He took the early lead with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 second hole but gave that back with a bogey at the fourth. The German managed to head to the back nine 2 up, though, after a birdie at the seventh and a par to the Spaniard's bogey at No. 9.
Kaymer made an 8-footer for his final birdie of the day at the 11th hole to go 3 up. Cabrera Bello did cut into Kaymer's lead at the next par 5 but the two halved the next four holes with pars to send the German to the third round for the third straight year.
Kaymer reached the championship match in 2010, losing to Luke Donald 3 and 2, and was eliminated in the third round a year ago. He has a home in Scottsdale, which is about 90 minutes away, and is very familiar with desert golf.
"So this is golf that I play very often," said Kaymer, who joined the PGA TOUR for the first time this year. "I don't mind playing here. I like it, it's just really nice. That's why I always play very well in the Middle East, very similar conditions to here."
SCORECARD STATS: Kaymer made three birdies and two bogeys. Cabrera Bello made two birdies and two bogeys.
HOLES WON: Kaymer won four holes. Cabrera Bello won two holes.
NEXT OPPONENT: Hunter Mahan, the defending champion, who beat Richard Sterne 4 and 3.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Martin Kaymer, a No. 7 seed, said he was nervous during his first-round match against 10th-seeded George Coetzee. But the German overcame his nerves to beat the South African, 2 and 1.
Kaymer, who reached the finals here two years ago, will now play Rafael Cabrera-Bello in the second round of the Player bracket.
Kaymer lost the fourth hole with a bogey and 1 down down through six. But he squared the match at the seventh hole when he stuck his approach shot to within 5 feet. He grabbed the lead with a birdie at the par-5 11th and extended it when he eagled the par-5 13th, rolling in a putt from inside nine feet after a spectacular second shot from 257 yards.
He lost the next hole with a bogey but won the decisive 17th after another great approach shot to inside two feet.
Asked why he felt nervous, Kaymer replied, "It was very strange. I never had that before, so I don't think it will stay like this. But I haven't played tournaments for two weeks and then I practiced a lot and my expectations were very high."
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: Martin Kaymer will be an official PGA TOUR member for the first time in his career, but the 2010 PGA champ, who has a home in Scottsdale, Ariz., figures to fit in seamlessly. He's tinkered with his swing over the last 18 months after spending eight weeks as world No. 1 but the real payoff will be when he starts contending in the big events again.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Kaymer ended the 2012 season on a positive note when he beat 11 others at the unofficial Nedbank Challenge. But his crowning achievement came in Europe's improbable come-from-behind victory at the Ryder Cup. After sitting out both sessions on Saturday, Kaymer reached out to fellow German Bernhard Langer for inspiration and then holed the 6-footer to win his Singles match with Steve Stricker that clinched Europe's record-tying comeback. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: I would expect a huge bump in confidence out of Martin following his Ryder Cup performance. He clinched the winning point for Europe after having a substandard season. The German will draw on that experience for a long time to come. Martin struggled the past couple years after attempting an ill-advised swing change in which he tried to hit a draw in an attempt to win the Masters. In 2010, Kaymer was 173rd on TOUR in strokes gained-putting. In 2012 he ranked 12th in SGP. That's an impressive leap in performance. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: It's ironic that the guy that was at the center of rumors that he'd forego his automatic berth into the Ryder Cup wound up converting the putt to clinch the victory for the Europeans. If you owned him in a keeper league, then congratulations on your timing. Not only has the German seemed to have ridden the wave of the euphoria at Medinah, but he's giving the PGA TOUR a go for the first time in 2013. That means that you can expect a career high in starts. He's also an automatic purchase in salary games at $576K. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finish||T-9th||WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 6
Rounds played: 24
Top-10 finishes: 1
Money List rank: N/A
Driving distance: 99th
Driving accuracy: 60th
Greens in regulation: 192nd
Strokes gained-putting: 12th
Scoring average: 75th
* -- Did not play minimum number of rounds to officially qualify
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
What is your prediction for Martin Kaymer in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know
By PGATOUR.COM staff
Five top international players will be joining the PGA TOUR for the 2013 season after playing as non-members in prior seasons.
Japan's Ryo Ishikawa, Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts, Sweden's Peter Hanson and England's David Lynn have committed to the TOUR next year after qualifying through the top 125 non-member money list.
In addition, Germany’s Martin Kaymer is joining the TOUR through his five-year exemption as the 2010 PGA Championship winner.
Colsaerts, Hanson, Kaymer and Lynn will be considered PGA TOUR rookies in 2013. Ishikawa’s 2012 season is considered his rookie season as he played in more than 10 events after joining the TOUR as a Special Temporary Member on March 19.
Here’s a quick look at each player:
|Has made 11 starts on the PGA TOUR, nine in 2012. Has two top-10 finishes. Leads European Tour in driving distance|
|Has made 45 starts on the PGA TOUR, 11 in 2012. Has seven top-10 finishes. Tied for third at this year’s Masters|
|Has made 44 starts on the PGA TOUR, 18 in 2012. Best finish on TOUR was second this year at Puerto Rico Open|
|Has made 47 starts on the PGA TOUR, eight in 2012. Has two wins – 2010 PGA, 2011 WGC-HSBC Champions|
|Has made two starts on the PGA TOUR. Finished second at the PGA Championship|
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MEDINAH, Ill. -- Martin Kaymer wasn't particularly happy when he found out he wasn't going to play at all on Saturday at the Ryder Cup.
At the same time, the German didn't make a birdie in his Four-ball match with Justin Rose on Friday so he could understand European Captain Jose Maria Olazbal's decision. So Kaymer, who is a methodical sort, used the experience as motivation.
"You want to prove that you can do better than what I showed on Friday, because on Friday, I didn't show good golf," Kaymer said. "... I definitely (wanted) to show him that I can win a match here."
Little did Kaymer know that he would not only get the chance to win a match, he would have the opportunity to win the Ryder Cup on Sunday -- and more importantly, deliver. Kaymer earned the decisive point when he holed a pressure-packed par putt at the 18th hole to preserve a 1-up decision over Steve Stricker.
Don't ask him what it felt like, though. Did the ball hit the back of the hole, or trickle into the cup on the final revolution? He won't know until he watches the highlight reel.
"I was so very controlled, because I know exactly what I had to do," Kaymer said. "But if you ask me now how that putt went and how it rolled, I have no idea. …
“When it went in, I was just very happy, and that is something that I will remember probably for the rest of my life and hopefully I can talk about when I have some grandchildren one day."
Kaymer, who spent eight weeks as the world No. 1, is also pleased with the way he responded to the pressure. Olazabal, who the German called a "great man," came to Kaymer, who was playing in the third match from the end, on the 16th green and told him how important his match was.
"'We need your point,'" Kaymer remembers his captain saying. "And I don't really care how you do it; just deliver.' But I like those; that's very straightforward. That's the way we Germans are. Fortunately I could handle it, and I made the last putt.
"But I think it will give me a huge push, a huge confidence for
the next few months, and definitely for next year; if you know you
can make those important putts ... I don't even know if important
is the right word, but it's probably more than that ... then pretty
much you can do anything.
"And then just knowing that, and getting the job done, not only for the team, but for me it was very important to get the trophy for José Maria, because I know how much it means to him, and I think we can be very, very proud and very happy to have such a strong man behind the team."
Another strong man – this one named Bernhard Langer -- contributed to the European victory. Kaymer texted his countryman, who played in 10 Ryder Cups and captained another, on Friday evening and asked if the two could chat the following day.
"I would say I was not as inspired as I should be, I thought," Kaymer said. "We talked a little bit about a bunch of stuff, and he has been a fantastic role model for me, and he's always there if I need him.”
Even more interesting, then, is the fact that Sunday's Singles and the chance to retain the Ryder Cup hinged on a 6-foot par putt by Kaymer. Langer faced a putt from similar distance and the same situation at the 1991 Ryder Cup at Kiawah Island -- and missed.
Did Kaymer think about that putt?
"I don't like the question, but it's true; yes, I did," he said.
"I did think about him, especially when I walked around the hole
and read the putt from the other side. ... There was a footprint in
my line, but it was not that bad. So I thought, okay, it's not
going to happen again, it's not going to happen again.
"And to be honest with you, I didn't really think about missing. There was only one choice you have; you have to make it."
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
When Rory McIlroy won The Honda Classic to take over the top spot in the World Golf Rankings, it gave Titleist bragging rights as the equipment manufacturer on the top bag in golf.
Those rights have switched hands as much as the top ranking has in the past year-plus.
McIlroy succeeded Luke Donald (a Mizuno guy), who supplanted Lee Westwood (Ping), who took the mantle from Martin Kaymer (TaylorMade). Westwood also had it for a period before Kaymer, then of course for years prior to that it was all Tiger Woods, and all those Nike swooshes.
Interestingly, bragging rights to the FedExCup have also been shared. Bill Haas won it last year as a Titleist guy, and before that it was Jim Furyk (Srixon hat, mixed bag), Woods (Nike) and Vijay Singh (Cleveland).
LOB-STER: McIlroy said his up-and-down on the 14th hole at PGA National’s Champions Course was his best of the week – and he had a lot of them while leading the field in scrambling at 83.3 percent.
McIlroy had a shot of some 65 yards from rough so deep he could barely see the ball, yet he slid a 60-degree wedge under it to within four feet, then made the putt.
That new wedge, a Titleist Vokey Design with four degrees of bounce, first went in the bag the week prior at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play, where McIlroy was runner-up.
“He’s got such great hands, he can play a little less bounce than your average player,” said Titleist Vokey Tour Rep Aaron Dill. “He’s just a magician -- he hits it high, low, he spins it.”
HATSPEAK: If you’re wondering why TaylorMade staff players such as Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose and Johnson Wagner (right) are wearing hats with “17” on it at TPC Blue Monster, it’s for the company’s continuing RocketBallz campaign. The 17 is for the company’s claim of 17 yards extra distance over other 3-woods (your mileage may vary).
It’s the company’s second hat drive this year; at the Northern Trust Open its PGA TOUR players wore white hats with a simple red heart on the front, part of a “#driverlove” social media campaign.
SHAFT SWAP: Sang-moon Bae, No. 2 in PGATOUR.COM’s rookie rankings, changed shafts in his Callaway Razr X Muscleback irons from a Dynamic Gold S-400s to KBS Tour stiff, allowing for higher shots and an easier time drawing the ball. He finished T47 at The Honda Classic
WINNER’S BAG: McIlroy at The Honda Classic:
Driver: Titleist 910D2 (8.5 degrees)
Fairways woods: Titleist 906F2 (13, 18 degrees)
Irons: MB (3-9)
Wedges: Vokey Design SM4 (46, 54, 60 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron GSS Newport prototype with deep milled face
Ball: Titleist ProV1x
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MARANA, Ariz. -- Martin Kaymer didn't win the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship last year but he came away with a pretty nice consolation prize.
Kaymer, who was on the losing end of a 3-and-2 decision to Luke Donald in the finals, still managed to ascend to No. 1 in the world thanks to the strong run through the elite field of 64. The 27-year-old German held the spot for eight weeks -- five more than his countryman Bernhard Langer had done.
Turns out, though, that lofty position was something of a double-edged sword. While Kaymer still managed to post seven more top-10s, including a win at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, last year he admits his focus sometimes waned and the swing adjustments he made are still kicking in.
"I still think I play good golf," Kaymer said. "But overall, I understand the last year has been a little different for myself. I obviously was No. 1 in the world. It was not only a big thing for me but Germany as well and German golf. So a lot has happened and my focus has gotten a little bit away from golf, but then in the middle of the season I could focus back on golf.
"I was changing a few things. … I feel very good about my game. It is just a matter of time that it will happen that I have a good long time of good tournaments. I'm not too concerned. I still play good golf and I know I need to be on my top form in order to win.
“You need to keep working and improving. That is what at the moment I enjoy the most. I have a lot of things that I can work on and I see I can benefit from it. It will become better and better every month."
Kaymer, who has been called in some quarters "The Germanator," is now ranked No. 4 in the world and top-seeded in the Ben Hogan bracket. He plays Australia's Greg Chalmers in the first round at 1:25 p.m. ET.
Kaymer knows Chalmers is left-handed and a good putter but "that's pretty much it," the German said. Chalmer's two wins in a three-week stretch Down Under weren't lost on Kaymer, either.
"Geoff Ogilvy and me were at dinner yesterday," Kaymer said. "I asked him if he knows him. He said yeah, he is very good in short game, so you should be careful, never give up on anything, or think, okay, that's my hole, Which you should not do in match play anyways, especially with him. That's what I heard.
"At the end of the day, if I shoot one stroke better than him, I will be fine. I'm not Googling him or trying to look up things."