BETHESDA, Md. -- The caddy carousel is shaping up to be nearly as interesting as the way the players perform this week at the U.S. Open.
The big news, of course, is the temporary partnership of Adam Scott and Tiger Woods' caddy, Steve Williams. Scott split with his long-time caddy, Tony Navarro, in May. Navarro, who once caddied for Greg Norman, is now working for Angel Cabrera.
This week at Congressional will also be the first week that Christian Donald has worked for world No. 3 Martin Kaymer. Interestingly, Kaymer will play the first two rounds with world No. 1 Luke Donald, Christian's brother and former boss, and Lee Westwood, who ranks No. 2.
Christian Donald worked for his brother for eight years before taking over Paul Casey's bag about 18 months ago. Kaymer's former caddy, Craig Connolly, is now working for Francesco Molinari.
"I know that (Christian is) a very nice guy, a great personality," Kaymer said. "We get along very well. We will try out a few weeks and then see how it goes. But I think it's important that the personalities, that they fit.
"But obviously this is our first week, so it would be a little bit difficult to get used to each other straight away. But now we have three days. Today we will spend a lot of time together, talking, about distances, about how I approach a golf course, a little more aggressive or defensive. He just has to know me. And then I think, we just see how it goes."
BETHESDA, Md. -- Last year, Martin Kaymer won his first career major, the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. On Sunday, Dirk Nowitzki won his first NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks. Both players are sports heroes in their native Germany. So who's more famous back home?
"If you asked 100 people in the street who is Dirk Nowitzki and who is Martin Kaymer, they would know him better than me," a smiling Kaymer said Monday from Congressional Country Club. "But I'm working on it."
A win this week at the U.S. Open would certainly continue to raise his profile. Perhaps watching Nowitzki win NBA Finals MVP honors while leading the Mavs past LeBron James and the Miami Heat will inspire Kaymer, who is looking for his first win since early January when he won on the European Tour.
"What Dirk did last night and the last year -- I mean pretty much since he's in America since '98 -- I think's amazing," Kaymer said. "He came here with pretty much nothing. He made his way up there like to one of the best players ever in the NBA. ... I think you should have a lot of respect for that."
Kaymer said he watched with interest as Nowitzki left for the locker room as Sunday’s game ended instead of staying on the court for the immediate celebration. Nowitzki said later that he needed a moment alone, out of the spotlight as he cried tears of joy. Nowitzki eventually returned to raise the NBA and MVP trophies.
"I think he's not the kind of person like the very outgoing person," Kaymer said. "He's more enjoying it for himself. And for me he's a big role model. That's the way I am, as well, a little bit. I'm not very outgoing, so I can compare myself a little bit to him.
“Obviously it was huge for him and I think basketball in Germany, as well. That was the only championship that he hasn't gotten yet. And I hope those things will help to grow sports in my country."
Kaymer has never met Nowitzki but said one of his goals is to attend a Mavericks game next season if he can work it into his schedule.
"I would like to meet him one day and just talk to him a little bit because he's a very nice person," Kaymer said. "That's the way you want to be as an athlete, I believe."
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- TPC Sawgrass is playing soft and scores should be low for the rest of the third round and the final round today. There’s also a strong leaderboard with Nick Watney, Graeme McDowell, Lucas Glover, Steve Stricker, Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer, among others, all with a legitimate chance to win. There should be plenty of birdies Sunday. Discuss the final round here.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – David Toms is still 10 minutes away from teeing off in the third round, and it appears he’ll do so now as the co-leader.
Martin Kaymer has posted his fifth birdie since play resumed following the 4-1/2 hour rain delay and is now 10 under for the tournament to join Toms atop THE PLAYERS leaderboard.
Kaymer had just hit his tee shot on the opening hole when the siren blew to stop play. Once he returned, he and the other players in the field faced soft greens, allowing them to aim directly at pins. As a result, a slew of birdies followed, with Kaymer leading the way.
Kaymer birdied his first four holes, with three of his approach shots landed inside four feet. He then rolled in a birdie putt just inside 10 feet at the par-4 seventh to move to 10 under.
Other players who took advantage of the generous scoring conditions:
Charlie Wi, who birdied four straight holes and was at one point just two shots off the pace.
K.J. Choi, who birdied his first three holes.
Robert Allenby, who birdied the last four holes to finish with a third-round 68.
Ryan Moore, who holed out from 126 yards from the fairway for eagle at the par-4 fourth
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Martin Kaymer must like twilight rounds.
The German, who had just teed off when play was called at 1:02 p.m. ET, has now birdied his first four holes to move to 9 under and one shot off the lead held by David Toms. Toms doesn't tee off until 7 p.m. ET.
Kaymer's first birdie putt came from 7 inches. He hit his approach to the back left of the second green, then chipped to 5 inches for his second birdie.
The third came courtesy of another pin-point iron that landed 3 feet, 5 inches from the pin at the par-3 third. And Kaymer made it four in a row when he staked his approach to 18 inches at the fourth hole.
It’s even more impressive when you do the match. Kaymer’s four birdies have come on putts of a combined 5 feet, 11 inches.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- The first round of THE PLAYERS Championship certainly offered plenty of storylines on the opening day, beginning with Tiger Woods withdrawal due to injury to Nick Watney’s 8-under 64.
The latter leaves Watney one shot clear of Lucas Glover, who is in contention less than a week after winning the Wells Fargo Championship.
The most surprising name on the leaderboard Thursday? Mark O’Meara’s. The 54-year old shot a 66 to sit in a two-way tie for third with David Toms.
Five others, including Martin Kaymer and Rory Sabbatini, meanwhile, are another stroke back at 5 under.
By Ward Clayton, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Matt Kuchar reacted well to the change of pace he experienced on Thursday in the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship. The 32-year-old Georgia Tech graduate shared the front nine with playing partners Martin Kaymer and Tiger Woods and a large media and gallery contingent.
At the turn, an injured Woods was at 6-over-par 42 and withdrew. Kuchar and Kaymer continued their progress up the leaderboard. Kuchar shot 69 and Kaymer a 67.
“Tiger looked like he was in pain,” Kuchar said. “He was walking quite slowly, quite gingerly. It took him a lot of time to get to his ball. His putting and driving were great. But his other clubs were not so good. By the second or third hole he was really grimacing.”
As the trio left the ninth hole, Woods came up and said he was done.
“Have a good back nine -- play well,” was the message he delivered, Kuchar said.
Kuchar has been considered somewhat of a Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., product since his parents moved near to TPC Sawgrass 10 years ago.
Kuchar and his wife Sybi, who was a standout tennis player at Georgia Tech, lived in the beachside community for a while and now reside at St. Simons Island, Ga., just an hour north of Jacksonville. Matt and Sybi teamed in October 2009 to win the consolation title in the USTA National Husband/Wife Doubles Championship at the ATP Headquarters, located next door to TPC Sawgrass.
Kuchar said he played the Stadium Course two weeks ago and came back last weekend to give it another test run.
“It’s certainly a place I like,” said Kuchar, whose career-best finish here was a tie for 13 th last year. “I feel like I’m a good driver of the golf ball, and around here that’s one of the more important things to do. Put yourself in the fairway and have chances to hit and hold these greens.”
By Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- He calls it a change. Really, it's just an adjustment. A tweak.
A little here, a little there. Just getting better every swing.
Martin Kaymer spent the first three days of the week working hard on his latest adjustments, then let it fly in the opening round to open THE PLAYERS with a 5-under-par 67.
"I'm still working on it,'' he said. " . . . It's just something that I wanted to change anyways, and today it worked out fantastic, and I will keep working on it. Then one day when everything gets together, then I will play very well.''
Give or take a putt, 67 was good enough to leave him three shots off the early pace set by Nick Watney.
"Today, I just let it go,'' said the reigning PGA champion. "I thought about (the changes) this morning, then just went out and played.''
He did say playing the back nine was a bit different because it was just him and Matt Kuchar, who shot 69, after Tiger Woods withdrew after nine holes.
"You can chill,'' Kaymer said of playing a twosome. "You can walk very slow, your routine, you have plenty of time, and you're still waiting. Obviously it would have been nice if we wouldn't play in the heat; that would have been better. But it's always nice to play in a twosome. You don't have to wait; you just play your game. You have time to think about your shots sometimes if you need to. Nobody is rushing you. ''
In addition to the swing changes, Kaymer also changed TaylorMade drivers from an R9 to an R11.
"I was pleased with a lot of parts of my game today,'' said Kaymer, who went out in 33 and back back in 34. " I was driving the ball much better. . . . "So I hit a lot of fairways, and then I could finally go for some flags. It was fairly easy in the morning. It was soft. The pins were not too tough, so I just hit a lot of good wedges to the holes, and I could make the putts."
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Nick Watney has the clubhouse lead after two-putting from 23 feet at the ninth hole for a final birdie on the way to a 64.
Watney has a one-stroke advantage over Lucas Glover, who won last week’s Wells Fargo Championship. Martin Kaymer and Rory Sabbatini are another shot back after finishing with 67s.
Watney’s round of 8 under was one stroke off the course record. He made of nine birdies, one eagle, a bogey and a double bogey.