'Germanator' Kaymer adds luster to already lofty status

Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:59pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) - Martin Kaymer's astonishing dominance at the U.S. Open, on a challenging Pinehurst layout where only two other players finished under par, left his rivals purring in admiration.

More significantly, the German's eight-stroke victory at the year's second major has elevated him into elite company, and one can only wonder how much more the ultra-talented, hard-working Kaymer will achieve by the time his career is over.

Aged just 29, he has already claimed two major titles and been world number one, joining Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy as the only players to do so before turning 30 since the official rankings were launched in 1986.

He became the seventh player to complete a wire-to-wire victory at the U.S. Open but his winning margin puts him in rare company with only Woods, Louis Oosthuizen and McIlroy clinching majors in such one-sided fashion over the past two decades.

Woods triumphed by a record 15 strokes in the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, South African Oosthuizen coasted home by seven in the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews and McIlroy landed the 2011 U.S. Open by eight shots at a rain-softened Congressional.

McIlroy has thrilled golf fans with his own electrifying talent over the past few years while winning two major titles before the age of 24 but even he was left shaking his head in amazement as Kaymer crushed the world's best at Pinehurst.

"I'm wondering how he did it," Northern Irishman McIlroy said after tying for 23rd at the U.S. Open on Sunday, finishing a distant 15 strokes behind Kaymer.

"I think I made a total of nine birdies this week, and I don't see any more out there. It's tough. Obviously, if you limit the mistakes, you might end up a couple under par for the week, because you're always going to make a few mistakes.   Continued...

Jun 15, 2014; Pinehurst, NC, USA; Martin Kaymer stands behind the trophy during the final round of the 2014 U.S. Open golf tournament at Pinehurst Resort Country Club - #2 Course. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY