There hasn't been much suspense throughout the 2014 U.S. Open in terms of who would take home the 114th championship's $1,620,000 winner's paycheck. Martin Kaymer never left the outcome in doubt, winning his second major title on Sunday with a final-round score of one-under 69.
The former world No. 1 finished nine under overall. Kaymer beat out his main competitors in Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton by eight strokes to run away with the tournament in wire-to-wire style.
Finishing near the top has its perks, but those fortunate enough to make the weekend were guaranteed a piece of the pie in a massive $9 million U.S. Open purse.
Below is a look at the earnings for the top players, along with more analysis on the second major of the season:
Kaymer added this landmark triumph to his resume, which includes a 2010 PGA Championship victory and a Players Championship win earlier this season, where he also never trailed. Stina Sternberg of Golf Digest praised Kaymer's brilliant play when the championship was realized:
He may not have the biggest following in the game, but Martin Kaymer just played the most amazing week of golf we've seen in years. Bravo.— Stina Sternberg (@StinaSternberg) June 15, 2014
Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman is already giving Kaymer, 29, Hall of Fame hype based on his accomplishments to date:
Martin Kaymer wins US Open. Now has 2 majors, Players, Ryder Cup clinching putt & rank of world #1. He's still in his 20s #halloffame— Kelly Tilghman (@KellyTilghmanGC) June 15, 2014
Putts on the par-four 18th made all of the difference in the battle for second place.
While Compton completed a sensational sand save with a left-to-right par putt, Fowler left his birdie attempt from below the hole on the low side. Kyle Porter of CBS Sports was moved by Compton's final stroke of the championship, as the two-time heart transplant recipient capped off an amazing story:
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
Neither player put together a spectacular day at Pinehurst No. 2, shooting matching two-over 72s.
The payout for solo second would have been $972,000—similar to what a winner at a regular PGA Tour event claims. Instead, Fowler and Compton will share some of that dough and make a cool $789,330
Credit them for holding up well enough over 72 holes to break par, though. Everyone else in the field fortunate to make the weekend cut failed to fare better than one over. Past major champion Keegan Bradley vaulted up the leaderboard and into a tie for fourth with a 67, and Jason Day turned in yet another stellar major performance in shooting 68 to match Bradley at one-over 281.
Other stars who have yet to win a major were at that mark as well—long-hitting ball strikers Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson, along with young American upstart Brooks Koepka.
Stenson could have birdied the 18th to break out of the tie, but his miss actually had huge implications for Koepka, per the Associated Press' Doug Ferguson:
If Henrik Stenson doesn't bidie the last, @BKoepka is headed to Augusta National next April. And not for the Drive, Chip and Putt.— Doug Ferguson (@dougferguson405) June 15, 2014
At this level of golf, money isn't the chief concern on the top players' minds. However, the scenario that allowed Koepka to qualify for the 2015 Masters just goes to show how fine the competitive line is in professional golf.
The world's current top-ranked player, Adam Scott, turned in a solid result at two over, tied for ninth with FedEx Cup points leader Jimmy Walker and past FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker.
But the prevailing story, even with Compton's inspiring effort, will be Kaymer's dominance.
This was the most spectacular showcase of complete golf on the major stage since Rory McIlroy's previous runaway wins, both also by eight strokes, at the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional and the 2012 PGA.
.@McIlroyRory (+6, 73) after his round: "To do what [Kaymer] is doing-I think it's nearly more impressive than what I did at Congressional.”— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf) June 15, 2014
Will Martin Kaymer wind up in the Hall of Fame?
Kaymer's back-to-back 65s put the tournament just about out of reach after the first two rounds. With a massively improved ability to get up and down around the greens, Pinehurst was unable to stop Kaymer in his quest for yet another marquee win.
Now the question becomes whether Kaymer can keep anything like this up for the rest of the 2013-14 campaign and beyond. The German star isn't even supposed to be in his prime yet. After undergoing swing changes, he seems to be just coming back around, but without consistency in every event he tees it up in.
This U.S. Open has to give Kaymer a huge confidence boost. That is so critical for someone who's reached great heights in the game before, only to regress into obscurity for multiple years. Now that he's back on top, there is no telling what Kaymer is capable of.
By closing out another major without wilting under pressure or giving any ground to Fowler or others, Kaymer proved his mental strength. It could carry him on an epic run where he further asserts himself as one of the best players in the modern era.