Ewen Murray: Martin Kaymer can learn from Sawgrass win and get into top 10
Ewen Murray questions the late finish at Sawgrass, but says Martin Kaymer is on the up again.
By Ewen Murray
Last Updated: 13/05/14 5:35pm
They were very fortunate to finish in what was close to total darkness.
Why the officials leave it so late I have no idea. A Monday finish is unacceptable as everyone has gone home to prepare for work the following day. The players hate it, as do the fans who have paid a premium price to see a conclusion on Sunday and the television viewers don't return the following day.
Down the years, a cloud has hung over the US Open, just in case there is a tie on the Sunday which means an 18-hole play-off the following day. Our Open and the USPGA Championship, along with the Augusta National officials recognise that Monday has to be avoided at all costs.
Their mini play-offs and sudden death work superbly. The Players have the same idea in place for the future, but May in Florida produces afternoon storms and they duly arrived bang on schedule late on Sunday. The panic could so easily have been avoided by moving the tee-off times back an hour-and-a-half. That would have meant starting at 8am. Not much wrong with that.
Nevertheless, as the light faded fast, the intensity, the tension and the drama reached fever pitch as we waited to crown the new champion. Jim Furyk, with a final round of 66 had set the clubhouse lead at 12-under par, yet it looked to be a score that would fall well short. After the delay, which always seems to upset those who are in control, it was anyone of four as mistakes happened one after another
The eventual champion rescued the round in thrilling style. German, Martin Kaymer, having double bogeyed the 15th and failed to birdie the par five 16th, holed what could well be the putt of the year to par the infamous 17th. His par at the last to win by one showed calmness and maturity.
Kaymer decided to change the swing that took him to world number one in 2011 and starting last week at 61st in these rankings only highlighted his fall from grace and loss of form. In there is a lesson to many young golfers who seek technical perfection. Martin went back to his long-time coach, Gunter Kessler who has had his trained eye on Martin's swing from a young age.
Slowly his feel for the game returned and his confidence flooded back. Nobody makes changes to get worse. They make them in an effort to maximise their talent, but sometimes what you have naturally and what you know is your best friend when the heat is on.
It takes a big person to admit he took the wrong route and now back in the world's top 30; I would not be surprised to see this eloquent and intelligent young man inside the top 10 by the end of the season.
The runner up, Jim Furyk, in his forties, is becoming the bridesmaid of the PGA Tour. His final round charge however was a delight to watch and a win at Ponte Verdra where he has lived for several years would have been a hugely popular one. 66 was a fine score on Sunday, but the Players title still eludes him.
My co-commentator and European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley would be secretly pleased with his 'possibles and probables' for Gleneagles in September. After a quiet start to the season from Europe's top players, no fewer than six finished in the top 10.
Francesco Molinari had a good putting week and when that happens, he will always be there or thereabouts as he has an enviable long game. Lee Westwood's win in Malaysia has awakened him from his slumbers. Sergio Garcia, with a little more belief will capture the major his career richly deserves.
After injury, Justin Rose looked close to his best and having made the halfway cut on the mark, Rory McIlroy surged through the field at the weekend with some blistering golf. There are too many mistakes currently, but Rory is making a lot of birdies. He's not far away and with three majors in the next three months, I'd be surprised if Northern Ireland's finest doesn't win one of them.
Paul McGinley will be a superb captain. His heart is in the job, he spends many hours with his players and he has their total respect. He is an excellent companion and is turning into a first-class commentator. I look forward to spending more time with him in the future.
Sawgrass saw the introduction of "The Sky Cart" and what an innovation it proved to be. Instead of the usual and sometime mundane interviews, the players, at the touch of a screen could see how they played their shots and they embraced the Sky technology. They don't get the opportunity to see their own swings unless they watch highlights of the day or videos on the practice range.
I honestly thought Matt Kuchar and Martin Kaymer were going to take over and to do a "Gary Neville"! With the touch screen able to be halted at certain stages of their swing, they could tell us what they are working on and if they were happy with the swing sequences. They really enjoyed it and judging by your comments, you did too. The Sky Cart is here to stay, I think!
The Spanish Open gets under way this week at the delightful PGA Catalunya just outside Girona.
This is one of Europe's top courses and I'm sure it will provide a great winner on Sunday. After that we turn our attention to the showcase event of the European Tour, the BMW PGA Championship at the iconic west course at Wentworth.
My one regret that week is the fact we don't see the Americans at our European Tour headquarters. The top 50 in the world are exempt and I'm a little surprised the US Ryder Cup Captain, Tom Watson has not encouraged some of his hopefuls to make the journey across the pond to compete.
The first prize is over a million dollars and the title is a prestigious one. With the possibility that half of his team could be rookies, a trip to Britain would be good experience for them.
For the first time in 26 years, Colin Montgomerie will be missing. Now 50, Colin is having an impressive season on the Champions Tour in America.
In six events he has managed six top 10's and banked close to half a million dollars. The week of the Wentworth event clashes with the Senior PGA Championship in Michigan.
Having come so close in three of the four majors, losing two in a playoff during his regular career, it would be rather fitting if the eight time European number one could land a Senior major.
It promises to be a wonderful week's golf with extensive live coverage from Wentworth and of course the team in the studio will bring you the Seniors golf from the borders of the Great Lakes.
Enjoy the Spanish Open and I look forward to your company for round one of the BMW on Thursday of next week.