His two-shot victory at Sun City was his first since the HSBC Champions in Shanghai in November 2011 and, having been ranked the world’s number one golfer early that year, Kaymer is trying to reignite a career that has seen him sink to 32nd in the rankings.
Kaymer’s winning score of eight-under-par 280 was the highest in the NGC since Jim Furyk’s 282 in 2005 and while the 27-year-old may not have set the Gary Player Country Club alight, there was much to admire in his calm efficiency and composure under pressure as he mastered daunting conditions better than anyone else in the star-studded field.
Kaymer followed Bernhard Langer as only the second German to be ranked number one in the world and the Ryder Cup hero admitted that his countryman has been an inspiration. Langer claimed the first half of a German double at Sun City when he won the Champions Challenge for the senior golfers on Saturday.
“Bernhard has always been a very big help, even at the Ryder Cup, he gave me advice which I could use for regular tournaments like this too. Everyone was talking about a German double, so there was a bit more pressure on me. But I’m very proud to have my name on that path at the ninth green and to be part of the special circle of winners,” Kaymer said.
Part of Kaymer’s bad run has been down to swing changes he has made and he said he would consider 2012 to be a success because of the progress he has made in that department.
“I’ve won once in 2012 and it was a very good year for me because I made progress with my swing. I am hitting the ball well and I’m very happy with the way that I’m playing.
“In golf you need a lot of patience and it’s just a matter of sticking to your plan. I have another 20 years ahead of me, maybe even 30 if you look at Bernhard,” Kaymer said.
Kaymer will now return to Mettmann in Germany for his end-of-year holiday and bask in his successful end to 2012.
He can reflect on the confidence he has gained from his key role in Europe’s extraordinary Ryder Cup triumph and returning to the winner’s circle on an individual basis at Sun City, while he has bedded down the changes to his swing.
Kaymer will return to action in Abu Dhabi on January 17 and warm to the challenge of steadily climbing back up those world rankings.