Philadelphia, PA – "It was an okay year. But, now it's a good year."
Those were Martin Kaymer's own words after winning the WGC-HSBC Champions on Sunday.
He won in his first start of 2011 in Abu Dhabi, had four other top-fives since and reached the top spot in the world. But, it was only an "okay year?"
How many players that won nearly $4 million worldwide in a single year would say that? That is a great season for many, but for the second German to reach No. 1 in the world, it wasn't enough.
Kaymer first visited the winner's circle in 2008 on the European Tour. In his record-breaking come-from-behind win in Shanghai on Sunday, Kaymer earned his 10th tour title in four years.
His biggest win came last year at the PGA Championship, where he claimed the title in a playoff.
Just to prove he wouldn't rest on his laurels after his first major championship victory, Kaymer won each of his next two starts.
Once the calendar turned to 2011, he kept his foot on the gas pedal. Kaymer had four rounds of 67 or better in Abu Dhabi en route to an eight-stroke blowout. The guy who finished second was just starting a pretty nice season of his own, U.S. Open champ Rory McIlroy.
Kaymer had a solid year in match play tournaments as he lost to current world No. 1 Luke Donald at the WGC-Accenture Match Play, and he shared third place behind Ian Poulter and Donald at the Volvo World Match Play.
With his loss to Donald at the WGC, Kaymer took over the top spot in the world. Despite five worldwide top-10 finishes since taking over the top spot, Kaymer had dipped to sixth in the rankings.
He also missed three cuts, including at The Masters and at his title defense at the PGA Championship.
So you can see why he wasn't overly impressed with how his season has gone.
What better way to 'save' a season than with a late victory at one of the biggest events on the schedule. The WGC-HSBC Champions might be the weakest of the four WGC's, but it is still among the best events in the world.
And how exactly did Kaymer save his season? With a comeback never seen before in a World Golf Championships event.
He trailed by five strokes at the start of the day, making his comeback the biggest in history of the World Golf Championships, which started in 1999.
And what of that 63 he fired on Sunday? He birdied nine of the last 12 holes en route to breaking the lowest final-round score by an eventual champion by a stroke. Hunter Mahan closed with a 64 to win the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last year.
Kaymer is the ninth man to join an exclusive list of players that have won both a major and a WGC.
Because Kaymer is not a PGA Tour member, the victory is considered unofficial on that tour. However, he is the first person to make his first two wins in PGA Tour events a major and a WGC.
"I played brilliant golf in Abu Dhabi, and when I became the No. 1 in the world in February after the World Golf Championships event in Arizona, my life has changed a little bit - not only mine, for the people I work with, my family," Kaymer explained.
"It has been a little awkward sometimes, because I was just not used to being in the spotlight. It took some time to get used to it, and hopefully it will happen again, because I know what's going to happen, I know how to approach that."
Kaymer now understands the pressure that the No. 1 ranking brings and strives to get there again.
His victory on Sunday was the first step in that direction. With the title, Kaymer moved back to fourth in the world. There are three other Europeans ahead of him, and their season is a month from finishing.
There's no telling how high Kaymer will climb by the end of the year, and no telling how soon he'll get back to the top spot in the rankings.
WILLIAMS NEEDS TO GET A GRIP
On the record, off the record, who cares? Steve Williams needs to stop talking about Tiger Woods.
His reported racial slur and subsequent weak apology, are just another chapter in the Steve Williams book.
This is the same guy that threatened fans and took cameras away from people while working for Woods. Since the two officially parted ways earlier this year, it seems Williams has had a vendetta against his former boss.
The duo started working together in 1999. Williams didn't work every single event with Woods from that point until earlier this year, but he easily worked 95-percent of the time Woods teed it up.
In that time, Woods won in the upwards of $80 million just on the PGA Tour. Without adding whatever salary he earned, Williams conservatively cleared over $7 million for lugging Woods' bag around the best courses in the world.
Think about that for a second. Williams would be among the top 175 all-time leading money earners on the PGA Tour just for being Woods' caddie.
Yet, Williams acts like he was the only person wronged by Woods over the last few years, when Woods was cheating on his wife numerous times. Williams is who knows how far down the list of people Woods needed to apologize to in order to patch up their 'relationship.'
It would be great if Woods played Adam Scott, who Williams now caddies for, at the Presidents Cup next week. I'd personally love to see Woods give Scott the Stephen Ames 9 & 8 treatment, but common sense says they won't match up against each other.
Too much extra-curricular stuff there. And Williams is the one bringing all the extra stuff to the fore.
For a guy who earned more money carrying a bag than Raymond Floyd, or Fuzzy Zoeller, or Jack Nicklaus made playing on the PGA Tour, Williams needs to go back to caddying 101 and follow the old caddie code - "Show up. Keep up. (And most importantly) SHUT UP."
- The LPGA returns from the Far East for its final two events. Some of the players battling to keep their tour cards for next year via the money list haven't had much of a chance to play of late. The final six tour events are limited fields. The last full-field tourney was the Navistar LPGA Classic in mid-September.