By Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.COM
BETHESDA, Md. -- Martin Kaymer walked off the course amazed at Rory McIlroy's performance.
He didn't see a lot of shots, but he saw enough to call McIlroy's game fantastic.
"The way he plays golf, it's a different golf,'' said Kaymer, who won his first major last August at the PGA Championship. "It's close to perfect.''
". . . .It is great for him to win the event early in his career. He's only 22 years old and especially after what happened at the Masters, you know, all the eyes on him. And to finally to bring it home and to win not only, I would say, the biggest over there, anyway, besides the Masters, but it's the U.S. Open, if you are the champion of the United States, it's quite impressive. And to be the second Irish. I mean, I'm very happy for him and for his family, as well. He has great parents. It's great to see.''
Kaymer did say, though, that Congressional was . . . well, not Pebble Beach or Pinehurst.
"It's not really a U.S. Open golf course, to be honest,'' Kaymer said. "It plays softer. You have birdie chances the first nine It plays fairly easy. If you hit the fairways, you can go straight at the flags. And the greens, they roll along. Still, 16‑under, or wherever he'll finish today, it's very impressive and I'm very happy for him.''
McIlroy's expected win will also give the Internationals a string of five consecutive major championships for the first time ever. Internationals held four in a row in 1994 -- Jose Maria Olazabal (Masters), Ernie Els (U.S. Open) and Nick Price (British Open, PGA).
When asked what he thought that said about American golf, Kaymer said, "It says, I think, that the Americans struggle a little bit. Since Tiger (Woods) has been on a, how do you say, a little down.''
He added that the advent of the World Golf Championships have strengthened international golf, but that it was Padraig Harrington, who won three of six majors (2007, 2008 British Opens; 2008 PGA Championship) "gave us at least the belief that we can win here in America, as well."
BETHESDA, Md. -- With nine holes to go, Y.E. Yang has trimmed two shots off Rory McIlroy's early eight-shot lead.
Yang, the 2009 PGA champ, birdied the seventh and ninth holes to get to 5 under for the tournament. Heath Slocum is also making a move in the afternoon, making the turn at 2 under for the day and the event.
Two members of the Big Three pairing have tucked themselves just inside the cutline, as well.
Lee Westwood is 2 under for the day and in a big group along with Luke Donald at 2 over for the week. Donald, who ranks No. 1 in the FedExCup and the world rankings, is currently 1 under for the day.
Martin Kaymer is struggling, though. He's 1 over for the day and 4 over for the tournament. The projected cut is currently 3 over.
BETHESDA, Md. -- The top three players in the world are having a difficult time during the first round of the U.S. Open.
World No. 1 Luke Donald, who also leads the FedExCup standings, is 3 over while his playing partners, No. 2 Lee Westwood and No. 3 Martin Kaymer are 2 over and 3 over, respectively. The threesome started on the back nine.
Donald opened with birdies on his first two holes, but saw that hot start evaporate quickly starting at No. 13 as he made four bogeys and a double bogey at No. 18 to turn in 39. He did manage a birdie at the first hole and has parred his next four.
Westwood made the turn in 1 over and got it back to even with a birdie at the par-3 second, But consecutive bogeys at Nos. 3 and 4 have put him back over par with four holes remaining.
Kaymer, who won the PGA last year, also started positively with a birdie at the 10th hole. He bogeyed Nos. 11 and 12, though, added a birdie at No. 13 and bogeyed the 17th to make the turn in 1 over. Bogeys at Nos. 1 and 3 have added to that deficit.
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.