Martin Kaymer, who was born in Mettmann (Germany) in 1984, clearly has an abundance of talent, but there is more than that to the best of the current crop of German golfers. It is primarily down to two other distinct abilities that Martin Kaymer has become the world-class player he is today.
The desire to work himself into the ground, to train more and harder than anyone else – that is the characteristic, with which Kaymer lays the foundation for his success on golf courses around the world. The second outstanding characteristic possessed by the man from the Rhineland region of Germany is the ability to thrive in pressure situations. To enter that infamous tunnel, in which he is able to shut out the outside world and focus purely on his body, the ball and his shot execution.
Anyone fortunate enough to watch Martin Kaymer in the play-off for the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits will have witnessed one of these special moments. Kaymer kept a cool head when America’s Bubba Watson, the last of his rivals for the title at the fourth Major of the season, risked everything. He resisted the temptation to attack the pin, wisely opting to lay up. It is this property that the separates the biggest names in the sport from the good golfers. Kaymer emerged victorious from the play-off.
At the 2012 Ryder Cup, which provided one of the most remarkable stories in the history of golf, it all boiled down to one moment, in which the destiny of the prestigious trophy lay in Kaymer’s hands. The Europeans were 6:10 behind going into the singles matches on the Sunday. Few had played well, and Kaymer had struggled to hit form during his doubles defeat on the Friday. However, the “Miracle of Medinah” gradually picked up pace, Team Europe won point after point, and Kaymer was ultimately left with a putt to secure the Ryder Cup for Europe. It was not a long putt, and the kind pros sink hundreds of every week – but not usually in this situation and pressure-pot atmosphere. However, Kaymer was once again calmness personified – and Team Europe had successfully pulled off one of the biggest and most exciting fightbacks in the history of the Ryder Cup.
That was the highlight so far of a career that began with daily duels against his brother Philipp on the golf course in Mettmann. His brother, Kaymer once said, was possibly the more talented golfer as a youngster. Nowadays Philipp is studying law, while his brother produced a breath-taking rise to fame that saw him progress from a young pro starting out on the third-level EPD Tour to number one in the world in just four years.
Martin could have been a very good professional footballer. Starting out at TSV Metzkausen, he switched to the youth team at Fortuna Düsseldorf and played as striker for the Niederrhein team. However, the effort of training for golf and football was simply too much, and the 15-year-old Martin found himself having to decide between the two – ultimately an easy choice. “I did not want to be dependent on the performances of my team-mates anymore, so I stuck with golf.” It has proven to be an excellent decision.