Martin Kaymer won the US Open in part thanks to a home-made £1.99 training aid invented by his coach.
“You want to win majors in your career, but if you can win one more, it means so much more,” Kaymer said after closing with a 1-under 69 for an eight-shot victory over Rickie Fowler and two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton.
“Some people, especially when I went through that low, called me a one-hit wonder and those things. So it’s quite nice proof, even though I don’t feel like I need to prove a lot to people. But somehow, it’s quite satisfying to have two under your belt.”
The 29-year-old German’s renaissance is partly down to a tennis ball. It is actually a training aid, and a handy way for Kaymer to keep his forearms close together in his backswing. He’s been using it regularly on the range, as a way of keeping his hands, arms and shoulder ‘connected’ all the way through the backswing. He doesn’t want his arms moving independently from the rest of his body. If his arms were to separate through impact — otherwise known as a chicken wing — the ball will drop out as he swings. If the ball stays secure, it means your arms are moving as a single unit, which makes timing less of an issue.
At Pinehurst No. 2, Kaymer was only the seventh player to go wire-to-wire in the 114 years of the U.S. Open. Only three players finished the championship under par. The winner appeared to be playing a different tournament.
“No one was catching Kaymer this week,” Compton said. “I was playing for second. I think we all were playing for second.”
Only a late bogey kept Kaymer from joining Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy as the only players to finish a U.S. Open in double digits under par. He let his putter fall to the ground when his 15-foot par putt on the 18th hole dropped into the center of the cup, like so many others had this week.
Kaymer finished at 9-under 271. His last two wins are the U.S. Open and The Players Championship, with the strongest and deepest field in golf. He never trailed after any round in both of them.
“Martin was playing his own tournament,” Fowler said after recovering from a double bogey on the fourth hole to close with a 72.
“He kind of killed the event in the first two days,” Henrik Stenson said. “He went out and shot two 65s and left everyone in the dust.”
Martin Kaymer won the U.S. Open by shooting 271, the second-lowest 72-hole total in U.S. Open history and the third-most strokes under par in event history.
Lowest 72-Hole Scores in U.S. Open History
2011: Rory McIlroy, 268, Congressional
2014: Martin Kaymer, 271, Pinehurst No. 2
2003: Jim Furyk, 272, Olympia Fields
2003: Tiger Woods, 272, Pebble Beach
1993: Lee Janzen, 272, Baltusrol
1980: Jack Nicklaus, 272, Baltusrol