Dustin's disaster shouldn't overshadow Kaymer's conquest

IAN HUTCHINSON, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:18 PM ET

TORONTO - The understated Martin Kaymer might quickly slip into the shadows this week at the Atlanta Athletic Club because of the presence of the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open champions and Tiger Woods, who is always under the microscope as if he had a claim on any of those major titles the way he once did.

There’s also an angle to be regurgitated with Dustin Johnson, who mistook a bunker for a patch of dirt, grounded his club and took a two-shot penalty on the 72nd hole of last year’s PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which Kaymer calls “a British Open golf course with good weather.”

At the time, Johnson seemed destined for a playoff with Kaymer and Bubba Watson, but he was on the outside looking in as Kaymer clinched his first major in an environment still buzzing about Johnson’s gaffe that highlighted the harshness of the Rules of Golf.

Adding to the sympathy for Johnson was the fact that he had suffered an infamous meltdown in the final round of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach a couple of months earlier.

Kaymer’s first major championship became not about him winning the PGA Championship, but more about Johnson missing the playoff. Going down in flames draws more attention than the guy who has a happy landing, which is nothing new in golf.

At the 1968 Masters, Roberto De Vicenzo signed an incorrect scorecard, which took him out of a playoff for the green jacket. The benefactor of that infamous screw-up was Bob Goalby, but that’s secondary in the history books 43 years later.

What do you remember about the 1999 British Open? The fact that Paul Lawrie won it, or that Jean Van de Velde blew up on the 18th hole at Carnoustie? What do you recall from the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot — Geoff Ogilvy winning or Phil Mickelson pulling a Van de Velde on 18?

There will forever be controversy over who’s to blame for last year’s fireworks — Johnson, his caddie, the PGA of America, rules officials, golf course design, Democrats, Republicans — and it does make for colourful commentary over wobblies as do the other incidents, but there’s one undisputable fact.

Kaymer is no paper champion.

Oh stop it, Tiger

“I’m not other guys,” declared Woods on Friday to underscore his intention to win in every tournament he enters, but Tiger, who are you trying to convince – yourself or everyone else?

You’re definitely not Kaymer, Rory McIlroy, Charl Schwartzel or your pal Darren Clarke because they’ve all won major titles in the last year. You’re definitely not any one of many guys, either marquee or journeyman, to have won a tournament of any kind since your last victory.

Your return at Firestone was mediocre and those three birdies you posted toward the end of the final round on Sunday saved you from embarrassment in an event you once dominated, even though they may cause many to go ga-ga and see them as a sign of things to come at the PGA Championship.

You’re in a fishbowl because you used to be something special and may one day be again, which is why people want to know what’s happening with your swing, which has gone under the microscope as has your putting. What’s going on in your head is what’s most important.

Right now, your cranium questions are apparently numerous and more pointed than anything you’ll encounter from inhabitants of a media room. When you weren’t like other guys, that bravado worked, but now it’s just a mask in a slow climb back to your former perch.

Why set yourself up with such claims? It might be a better idea to clam up and, if you really believe it, use the credo of one of your major sponsors and just do it.

Women's Open notes

Major status on the LPGA Tour is little more than a designation these days, considering the CN Canadian Women’s Open has already confirmed the top 30 from last week’s tour money list, with more still to sign on before the event is played Aug. 25-28. That’s the way it goes when you have about 25 tournaments on the schedule and five are majors. There isn’t much to distinguish between events, even if one has major status and the other doesn’t … Two of the marquee names that will be at the Hillsdale Golf and Country Club in Mirabel, Que., are defending champ Michelle Wie and Yani Tseng, the world’s top-ranked player. Wie is arguably the best-known name on the LPGA Tour, even if Tseng, 22, has won five majors, including the recent Women’s British Open. “She’s really upped her game. I think she has a lot of things that are going well for her. She drives the ball so far. I think she’s almost leading in greens in regulation and you add good putting,” said Wie … Hillsdale will play about 6,600 yards, which could be to the advantage of both Wie and Tseng … With the two events being played so closely together, don’t be surprised if well-known names appear at the PGA of Canada’s Women’s Championship being played at Bayview Golf and Country Club in Thornhill, Aug. 31-Sept. 1. It’s the 25th anniversary of that event and the Centennial year for the association.


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