Martin Kaymer celebrated his rise to world No. 1 without ever leaving America.
The 26-year-old German has a home in Scottsdale, Ariz., which is where he spent last week after his runner-up finish in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship that allowed him to replace Lee Westwood atop the ranking.
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His brother and a friend flew in from Germany, only to tell him the next day they were leaving for the airport. Kaymer couldn’t figure out why they were going home so soon, but he found out when they got to the airport.
They were there to pick up Kaymer’s father, Horst, who joined the celebration.
“He says, ‘Next time in Germany, who knows if you’re still No. 1, so I just wanted to take the opportunity to say congratulations,”’ Kaymer said. “And yeah, the next day he flew out again in Germany. Not a lot of parents do that, and it was nice. I was a 30-hour trip for pretty much 24 hours he was there.”
Kaymer could have lost the No. 1 ranking had Westwood finished third at the Honda Classic, and the battle for No. 1 figures to continue all the way through to the Masters. Westwood again will have a chance to get back the top spot at Doral.
“I really don’t care,” Kaymer said. “I’ve been No. 1 in the world at least for seven days. No one can take it away from me.”
The celebration went beyond family.
Kaymer said he received a call last week from two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer, who was No. 1 when the world ranking made its debut in 1986. Langer lasted three weeks at the top and never returned.
“He just said he’s very proud of how he kept everything together, that I have a very good family and people around me who keep everything in line, that I never really lose my focus on things,” Kaymer said.
He said Langer told him that not many athletes have good people around him, and to keep his circle as small as possible. They also talked about playing a practice round at Augusta National.