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Martin Kaymer wins Grand Slam of Golf

October 15, 2014

Martin Kaymer is making a habit of beating Bubba Watson in head-to-head situations, even at an exhibition of major champions in Bermuda.

Kaymer won the PGA Grand Slam of Golf on Wednesday by surviving a wild day of lead changes. The U.S. Open champion won on the first playoff hole at Port Royal by making a 10-foot birdie and then watching Watson miss his birdie putt from 4 feet.

''I was surprised that he missed it,'' Kaymer said after closing with an even-par 71. ''Obviously, you don't want to win a golf tournament that way, but I'll take it.''

British Open and PGA champion Rory McIlroy closed with a 75 and was eight shots behind. Jim Furyk, the alternate in this 36-hole event for the year's four major champions, had a 73 and was another shot behind.

Watson, the Masters championship, shot 69.

Kaymer chipped in for eagle on the 16th hole at Gleneagles to beat Watson in the Ryder Cup in another European victory. They also met in a playoff in the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which Kaymer won on the last hole when Watson hit into the water.

Another shot into the water cost Watson at Port Royal.

The stress didn't end when the Grand Slam was over.

With Hurricane Gonzalo quickly approaching, the PGA of America chartered a flight to get its entire crew off the island. Officials were making sure the four players could get their flights out before the Category 4 storm arrived. It was expected to be near Bermuda early Friday, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The final round was so wild that Kaymer's three-shot lead after seven holes was gone three holes later. He quickly rebuilt a three-shot lead after 12, only for Watson to pick up a shot on each of the next three holes, leaving them tied going to the par-3 16th.

That's when it turned in Watson's favor - but only for a minute. The Masters champion made birdie and took a two-shot lead when Kaymer made bogey. But on the par-5 17th, Watson hit into the water for a bogey, and Kaymer made birdie.

Both made par on the 18th in regulation, and then returned to No. 18 for a playoff.

''It felt like nobody really wanted to win around the turn,'' Kaymer said.

Kaymer won $600,000, while Watson earned $400,000.

Watson missed four good birdie chances on the front nine until he finally converted on No. 8. That was the start of 10 straight holes in which neither player tied a hole with a par. Over the last 12 holes, Kaymer and Watson combined for eight birdies and seven bogeys.

Watson saved his most costly mistake for the playoff hole.

''I hit great putts. They just didn't want to go in this week,'' Watson said. ''That's how golf is sometimes.''

Martin Kaymer leads Grand Slam of Golf

October 14, 2014

Martin Kaymer fired a six-under par 65 to seize a two-stroke lead over American Bubba Watson after Tuesday's first 18 holes of the Grand Slam of Golf.

Kaymer, the reigning US Open champion, was only one stroke off Australian Adam Scott's course record at Port Royal to grab command of the annual 36-hole matchup between the year's four major winners.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, the British Open and PGA Championship winner, was third on 69, two strokes behind Watson, who won his second Masters champion green jacket in three seasons last April at Augusta National.

Jim Furyk, who got into the field as an alternate after Scott turned down the chance to play due to a schedule conflict, was seven strokes adrift on 72.

Kaymer hit 16 greens in regulation, making an eagle and five birdies against a lone bogey.

He opened with back-to-back birdies then began to pull away with a birdie at the sixth, dropping a 120-yard approach shot two inches from the hole, and an eagle at the seventh, sending an 8-iron from 182 yards to six feet from the hole.

"I got a big bonus there on seven. It was a very good 8-iron that I hit to three or four feet," Kaymer said.

"Then I played really consistent. I think it's important on this kind of grass that you need to hit a lot of fairways. I hit a few. My putting felt good. If you make only one bogey on that golf course, you should do fairly OK."

Kaymer drove the green at the par-4 10th to open the back nine with a birdie and he answered a bogey at 13 with a birdie at the par-5 17th.

McIlroy was three-under after seven holes, but closed the front nine with back-to-back bogeys and missed a six-foot eagle putt at 17.

"I wasn't 100 percent on, that's for sure," McIlroy said. "I started pretty well, and then the two bogeys on eight and nine sort of took the wind out of my sails a little bit and I just found it hard to get going after that.

"Around the turn, there was a few sloppy shots and left myself with some difficult positions, but couple of birdies on the back nine, it was OK.

"At one point in the round, it felt like Martin was leaving us all behind, but I'm still there. Get off to a good start tomorrow, you never know what can happen."

McIlroy compared the atmosphere more to a friendly four-ball outing than the tension-packed major atmosphere all have felt simply to qualify for the event.

"It's a very relaxed atmosphere out there," McIlroy said.

"We're still concentrating, still trying to play good golf and ultimately try and win. But, yeah, it's more relaxed, you chat a little bit more."

Watson was a toned-down version of his usually talkative self.

"No, we don't really banter, like picking on each other or anything or making fun. Martin did. Every time he outdrove me he said, 'Look, I outdrove you again.' And I told him, 'I'm trying to learn how to hit the fairways like you other three guys.'

"We're just out here just talking about, when are you playing next, what are you doing, how is the family doing, what are you doing for Christmas, things like that. Just basic stuff. Just small talk. Because we're all friends."

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