From 2011 through 2013, Martin Kaymer had just two wins—both on the European Tour. In the last month, he has replicated that number—at two of the biggest tournaments in the world.
After winning the Players Championship in May, the 29-year-old former World No. 1 followed that up with a victory at the U.S. Open Sunday, finishing nine under par overall and completing the "family sweep," per PGA Tour:
As he told reporters, via Golf Digest's Mike O'Malley, this serves a pretty nice present for dad:
Kaymer: "Our Father's Day was already a couple of weeks ago in Germany, but I didn't get anything for my father that day...maybe that works"— Mike O'Malley (@GD_MikeO) June 16, 2014
Of course, these haven't been mere ordinary wins. They have been emphatic, transcendent performances. As the Golf Channel's Justin Ray pointed out, Kaymer went wire-to-wire for both victories:
If Kaymer goes on to win, his position following each round of this year's PLAYERS & US Open: 1st, 1st, T-1st, 1st / 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) June 15, 2014
Still, at the Players, he held off Jim Furyk by just one stroke. At Pinehurst No. 2, he absolutely barreled over the field, beating second-place finishers Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton by eight strokes. There were just three golfers under par for the tournament, yet Kaymer was an astounding nine-under overall.
Here's a look at the final leaderboard:
While his historically great start (two rounds of 65) will likely be remembered most, his final round was impressive on another level, according to ESPN Stats & Info:
Martin Kaymer (-1) was only player in the final 8 groups to play the final rd under par. The other 15 players were a combined 52-over par.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 15, 2014
Ray and CBS Sports' Kyle Porter noted a few more noteworthy stats:
Martin Kaymer wins by 8, T-4th largest U.S. Open margin of victory all-time.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) June 15, 2014
Kaymer's score of 271 has only been bested by Rory McIlroy's 268 in 2011.— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) June 15, 2014
Kaymer, who jumped to No. 1 in the World Rankings in early 2011 shortly after winning the 2010 PGA Championship, suffered through consistently disappointing play and swing changes over the subsequent three years. But he's clearly back in a major way.
The roller-coaster of a career makes it easy to forget he's still just 29 years old, which puts him into a prestigious group that only features legend Seve Ballesteros, according to Ray:
2 European players have won 2 majors, been world no. 1 & won 10+ times on @EuropeanTour before turning 30: Kaymer and Ballesteros— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) June 15, 2014
While some were bored with the lack of drama, it was a joy just to watch Kaymer's pinpoint approach shots and perfect putting. Porter and Grantland's Shane Ryan put it simply:
You can call this tournament whatever you want but that was a freaking performance from Kaymer. Tremendous.— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) June 15, 2014
Fair play to those watching on tv who are bored by the lack of drama, but Kaymer is an awesome, thoughtful dude. A rarity in this sport.— Shane Ryan (@ShaneRyanHere) June 15, 2014
Unsurprisingly with the way Kaymer has dominated the rest of the tour as of late, some, via Ryan, are convinced that the German is back on his way to the top spot in the world:
Asked a seasoned journo this morning whether he thought Kaymer would be # 1 within 2 years. He hated the question, then grudgingly said yes.— Shane Ryan (@ShaneRyanHere) June 15, 2014
Of course, Kaymer's magnificent performance wasn't the only story from the week.
Compton, who has undergone two heart transplants in his life and never made the cut at a major before this week, finished tied with Rickie Fowler in second place at one-under for the tournament. His entire story—and really entire tournament—has been chill-inducing, but his round ended with something special:
What a moment for Erik Compton. The par drain and fist pump to a roaring crowd on 18. Chills.— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) June 15, 2014
Brooks Koepka, a 24-year-old whose best major finish was 70th at least year's PGA Championship, joined Compton on the leaderboard, finishing in a tie for fourth thanks to a birdie on 18.
As PGATour.com's Sean Martin noted, both are now headed to next year's Masters:
Perhaps the moment that beat all of those, however, came when last year's winner, Justin Rose, finished his seemingly nondescript round of 72 with a birdie.
But after sinking his putt, he paid a tribute to the late Payne Stewart, who famously won his last major title at Pinehurst in 1999. C.J. Fogler provided a look at the touching moment:
Justin Rose Tribute To Payne Stewart At 18 https://t.co/dNRQwFWdg1— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) June 15, 2014
Tiger Woods wasn't playing. Phil Mickleson, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott were all out of contention by Sunday. Heck, the last round was mostly a formality with the way Kaymer was playing.
Still, the 2014 U.S. Open managed to be as captivating and as magical as ever.