MARTIN KAYMER was triumphant at the Players Championship yesterday although he almost threw away a three shot lead after a 90 minute rain delay.
The German led from the front from the first round and although he was challenged by youngster Jordan Spieth and veteran Jim Furyk, the 29-year old managed to get over the line by just one shot.
Kaymer’s crumble began on 15 when he carded a double bogey after the rain delay which saw his lead cut to a single stroke. As he approached the tricky finishing trio of holes, Furyk was sitting pretty in the clubhouse and the local boy looked like he may have pulled off an improbably comeback.
But Kaymer showed the mettle that got him to No.1 in the world. On 17, he got a bad bounce and his chip shot left him with a tough 30-footer which he duly knocked in. When he managed to get up-and-down on 18, it was celebration time.
“(My caddie and I) worked so hard and we went through up-and-downs the last two years. It's very tough because as an athlete you always want it now, but in golf you just cannot force it,” Kaymer said.
“The mindset was fine,” he said of his near-collapse. “I was not very nervous. I didn't think that I would screw up anything here.”
His caddy, Craig Connelly, said: “His hands can bleed. He’s always on the range when he’s away from tournament play. The calluses can open up.
“You don’t get to No. 1 in the world for no reason, and I think he appreciates the good things a little more now. He’s a brand new Martin. He’s obviously a much-improved golfer, but the mindset is the old Martin.”
What’s in Martin’s bag?
DRIVER: TaylorMade SLDR 460 (9.5 degrees with a Graphite Design Tour AD DI-6 X shaft)
FAIRWAY WOOD: TaylorMade SLDR (14 degrees with a Graphite Design Tour AD DI-7 X shaft)
HYBRID: TaylorMade SLDR (17 degrees with a Graphite Design Tour AD DI Hybrid 85 X shaft)
IRONS: TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC (3-PW with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue shafts)
WEDGES: TaylorMade TP with xFT (54, 58 degrees with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue shafts)
PUTTER: Ping Karsten Anser 2
BALL: TaylorMade Lethal