Martin Kaymer has received one of the most coveted awards in European golf: Players' Player of the Year.
Even after a season when Graeme McDowell captured the U.S. Open and grabbed the match-winning point at the Ryder Cup, the 26-year-old German won the vote of his peers.
FAREWELL TO SEVE BALLESTEROS
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2011 BMW PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
Aside from only the British Open, the BMW PGA Championship is the biggest, most prestigious event in European golf.
Every one of his Celtic Manor teammates was present to see Kaymer named at the awards ceremony at Heathrow's Sofitel Hotel on Tuesday evening in advance of the prestigious BMW PGA Championship.
Harrington himself was the inaugural winner of the trophy after winning two majors in 2008, and Lee Westwood's return to the European No. 1 spot after a nine-year gap made him the second recipient for 2009.
Kaymer won his first major title at the PGA Championship last August, took his next two tournaments as well and then held off McDowell to take the European Tour money list title.
On Thursday, he starts the European Tour's flagship event with another chance to return to the world No. 1 spot a month after Westwood grabbed it back off him. He currently lies third behind Westwood and Luke Donald, the two players who have most impressed him in his career.
"I just had no chance,” Kaymer said Sunday, after Donald beat him 5&3 in the semifinals of the Volvo World Match Play in Spain. "He played unbelievable. I won only one hole and that was the only golf shot he missed. If he doesn't hole a chip it's a gimme -- he had only two two-putts in 14 holes -- and so I didn't really see a chance."
But when asked if it was the best golf he had ever seen, Kaymer replied: "Close. When I played a practice round with Lee at the Ryder Cup he was unbelievable.
"He didn't play golf for a long time before that (Westwood had been out for seven weeks with a torn calf), but he didn't miss any shot for nine holes,” he added. "That was impressive -- and quite nice to see."
They were teammates then, of course, but now they are all back as rivals for a first prize of over $1 million.
As with last week, the four current major champions are all on hand, and the rise of Masters winner Charl Schwartzel from 12th to seventh in the latest standings means that seven of the world's top nine are playing.
Among those Schwartzel overtook was, of course, Tiger Woods, who dropped from ninth to 12th.
"I did have a smile," said the South African, who after starting the season 34th had set himself the target of top 10 by December, not May.