Golf: US Open champ relishes the ‘experience’ of playing in South Africa

2014-06-22 15:00

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German golf sensation Martin Kaymer’s remarkable US Open Championship triumph has assured him a passage to travel to South Africa, where he will compete once more in the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City in December.

The affable and vastly talented 29-year-old, who regards Mzansi as his home away from home, raised his impressive profile with a remarkable eight-shot victory to lift the Open trophy at Pinehurst No 2 in North Carolina, US, last Sunday.

Kaymer’s impressive showing makes him an early qualifier to tee off at Sun City’s Gary Player Country Club. He fits the Africa’s Major criterion perfectly.

He also played in the SA Open at the Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate in 2012.

His remarkable win last week, which saw him card low scores throughout the Open’s four-day contest, has earned him his second major title in his career.

His first big haul came in 2010 when he took the PGA Championship title after beating American Bubba Watson in the play-offs at Whistling Straits complex in Wisconsin, US.

On May 14 , the Dusseldorf-born player won the Players Championship – the flagship event of the PGA Tour – by one stroke over American Jim Furyk at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Incidentally, his feat came on Mother’s Day – a day that coincided with the anniversary of the death of his mum, Rina, who succumbed to cancer in 2008.

On Sunday, Kaymer’s triumph was also a lucky charm for him as it happened on Father’s Day – which was a fitting tribute to his dad Horst, a retired corporate executive.

But there seems to be no country in the world Kaymer enjoys playing golf in more than South Africa. He is passionate about the country’s challenging golf courses, the weather and the game reserves.

“Coming [to South Africa] is not just a tournament that we play, it’s really a great experience,” Kaymer was quoted as saying before last year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge.

Two years ago, he shot a 3-under-par final round to win the coveted Nedbank Golf Challenge title by two shots, pipping homespun hero Charl Schwartzel and collecting the mouth­watering $1.25?million prize.

His name, which is engraved all over the Gary Player Country Club, sits very well with the country’s golf fraternity and tourists who visit the world-famous pleasure resort.

A former world number one, Kaymer first played at Sun City in 2011, where he finished eighth with a score of -4 for 284. Last year, he came tied 16th after carding -2 for 286.

In 2012, he steered the European team to a 14-13 win over a solid US team in the Ryder Cup played at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois.

There’s no doubt that with his stunning form on the course, he will repeat the same showing when he is drafted into the European squad to play at Gleneagles Golf Club in Perthshire, Scotland, in September.

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