Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The question was asked on Friday whether the U.S. Open was over after Martin Kaymer opened with a pair of 65s. His lead was six strokes at that point, and it was a valid question.
Kaymer had posted the lowest 36-hole score (130) in U.S. Open history, and had become the third player in major championship history to post consecutive 65s. The only other two to do so were Tom Watson at the 1977 British Open and David Toms at the 2001 PGA Championship.
No matter the course, play always gets more difficult on the weekend at majors, but it didn't get hard enough for Kaymer to cough up his 6-stroke lead. He cushion never dipped below four, and stretched to as many as nine over the final two days.
Kaymer was on cruise control and no one was catching him. He led the field in birdies, was second in sand saves, tied for ninth in fairways hit and shared 18th in greens in regulation.
He entered the U.S. Open just 178th on the PGA Tour in scrambling, the percentage of time a player misses the green and still makes par or better. But it was those holes that he did miss the green where Kaymer really put this championship away.
Kaymer was spot on when it counted. And it was his putter that saved him. The 2010 PGA Champion putted from off the green whenever possible, and had a knack for rolling his shots from off the green to within six feet of the hole.
"I said to my caddie when we played the practice rounds, I like that you have a lot of options here. Through any experience from the British Open, I've always done fairly well to putt off the green," Kaymer stated. "And I think a bad putt is still better than a bad chip, especially with the runoffs. When you hit one fat (chip), you are pretty much in the same spot again. If I hit a bad putt, I still have a chance to make par. My putting within 10 feet this week was good. I thought if I could get it within that 8- to 10-foot circle, I have a very good chance to save par. You don't really make worse than bogey, and that's very important, I think, in majors."
He lost his touch a little bit in the final round, but it didn't matter because no one was able to make a charge.
While Kaymer was decimating the field, many pundits were comparing Kaymer's blowout to many of Tiger Woods' blowouts. The similarity in leading margin was comparable, but the adjectives used to describe the two were all over the map.
Kaymer's play was boring because he did just enough to cruise to the win. If this had been Woods doing the same, this win would have been seen as dominant or a thorough beating.
The comparison wasn't fair to Kaymer. He put together two of the greatest rounds in major championship history on Thursday and Friday, and no one could match him.
Kaymer was one of three players who posted three rounds in the 60s at Pinehurst No. 2. No player had four rounds of par or better for the week.
Whether it was compelling or boring, Kaymer put away the field with precision. It was Woods-like in how resounding the win was, but the casual fan saw a dull, boring Kaymer trouncing the field and likely turned away.
They are the ones who missed out. Though it wasn't as exciting as Woods' domination at Pebble Beach in 2000 or Rory McIlroy's resounding win at Congressional in 2011, the casual fan will shrug and say it was just another blowout.
On the surface, they are correct. One has to appreciate Kaymer's greatness over his 72 holes at Pinehurst. He became the third man in major championship history to shoot 130 for the first two rounds at a major.
Woods and McIlroy have never done that. Kaymer shares that distinction with Nick Faldo, who did it at the 1992 British Open, and Brandt Snedeker, who posted 130 at the 2012 British Open.
The greatness Kaymer showed over 36 holes carried him to his second major championship title.
Was it boring or dull? Maybe, but it was also dominant. One can only guess that Kaymer doesn't care what adjective you use, because he is only concerned that he emerged as the champion.
COMPTON WINS OVER NEW FANS
Prior to this U.S. Open Championship, Erik Compton was the two-time heart transplant recipient, who happened to be a golfer.
After this weekend, you can invert those phrases to say that Compton is a golfer, who happens to be a two-time heart transplant recipient.
Compton is still fighting for his first PGA Tour title. In fact, his second- place finish at Pinehurst No. 2 was his best career finish on tour. The fact that he was there at all is a testament to his fight.
His first heart transplant happened when he was 12. The second happened 16 years later. If you thought battling for a major championship was tough, think about this: Compton drove himself to the hospital when it was time for the second heart transplant. He knew the symptoms and didn't want to wait, so he took himself to the emergency room.
That heart beating in his chest had to have been pounding with adrenaline all weekend. Compton was battling, albeit for second place, but it was a battle nonetheless.
"You can't ever give up. I mean, we all have adversity in our lives, some are different than others. Some are more major," said Compton, when asked what he would tell people with medical challenges. "The up-and-down I made on 18 is an example of never giving up. I hit the world's worst shot into the green and then got up-and-down.
"So when you have disabilities or you have health issues, some days are really bad and then you got to try to make the best of it the next day and wake up and move your body. And I'm a perfect example of that. I've been on my back twice and I never thought I would ever leave the house. Now I just finished second at the U.S. Open, which I don't think anybody would have ever thought I would do that, not even myself. So you can't ever write yourself off, you just can't give up."
Compton has earned more than enough money to keep his tour card for next year. His second-place finish gets him a spot at his first Masters next year and he will be back at the U.S. Open as well.
He also soared 114 spots in the world golf rankings this week to No. 73. If he can get inside the top 50 in the world, Compton will have all kinds of doors opened for him as far as tournaments go.
Just to think there were times when he couldn't even open a door for himself. Now Compton is blasting through them like a wrecking ball.
- For all the critics who wondered how ESPN could transition from its great World Cup coverage to Chris Berman calling golf action, what do you think is going to happen next year when Fox tries to jump from NASCAR coverage to Open coverage from Chambers Bay? From rubin' and racin' to the tranquility of golf. That will be interesting.
- From the time it was announced, I was not a fan of the USGA playing the men's and women's U.S. Opens on the same course in back-to-back weeks. But after seeing the access the women had during the men's final round Sunday, I think my concerns have eased. Some LPGA players were inside the ropes watching the action and getting useful hints on how to play the course. I'll tell you one thing, if the women had gone first and the men second, I doubt you would have seen the men following the women around the course.