Martin Kaymer has been named by his fellow professionals as The European Tour Players’ Player of the Year for 2010, a year in which he won four times to be crowned European Number One.
The 26 year old German won The European Tour Race to Dubai with record earnings following victories in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the US PGA Championship – his first Major title – the KLM Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Those victories were the catalyst behind Kaymer being honoured at The European Tour’s Players’ Awards Dinner last night. During the star-studded event at the Sofitel Hotel at Heathrow, Kaymer was presented with a solid silver salver, which is given annually to the outstanding player as selected by the Tour Membership.
Padraig Harrington was the first recipient in 2009, in recognition of his two Major Championship wins the previous year, and Lee Westwood won the approval of his peers last year following a spectacular 2009 season, which culminated in him winning the inaugural Race to Dubai.
In addition to his individual feats, Kaymer played his part in Europe’s Ryder Cup victory at The Celtic Manor Resort in October, contributing two and a half points from four as Colin Montgomerie’s men edged a thrilling battle with the United States.
The Challenge Tour graduate rose to a career-high third in the Official World Golf Ranking in 2010, and went on to reach World Number One in February this year, a position he subsequently relinquished to Westwood.
Kaymer was named the joint European Tour Golfer of the Year for 2010, an award shared with Graeme McDowell, who finished second in The Race to Dubai, won his first Major at the US Open Championship and claimed the winning point in The Ryder Cup by defeating Hunter Mahan in the final day singles.
Kaymer said: “2010 was a very special year. What I have achieved was unbelievable. And I have to thank Padraig Harrington for it. When he won the Major (The Open Championship) in 2007 and then two in 2008 he gave Europeans the belief that we could win Majors as well. It wasn’t just the Americans like Tiger Woods.
“Then Graeme (McDowell) won the US Open as well. All these things gave me the motivation to work harder. All the putts Padraig holed inspired me to practise harder and it showed at the US PGA Championship, and when I made that putt on the 72nd hole it paid off. I have Padraig Harrington to thank for that inspiration.
“Now I have to continue and keep working hard. After my Major win I was fortunate to keep winning, which was important for me. The expectations are high and people think you have to win every week.
“But that is important for me as I want to not just win one Major but keep winning Majors and working hard, so I can look back when I am 45 or 50 and I can say I worked as hard as I could to be the best I could be. That is what I learned when I grew up, what my parents told me – the most important thing in life is to work hard. The outcome doesn’t matter as long as you try as hard as you can.”
The salver, handmade by the craftsmen at the London workshop of Thomas Lyte Ltd, features a flower pattern decorating the award, denoting the national flowers of each of the countries who have a player competing on The European Tour.
The centre section features the unmistakeable profile and swing of the late Severiano Ballesteros – the inspiration behind the award - accompanied by an emotive comment by John Jacobs, the founding father of The European Tour. Jacobs pays tribute to Seve’s influence on The European Tour with the phrase: “Seve’s supreme talent, flair and passion for golf inspired millions around the world.”
The trophy also carries the names of all European Tour Members who have won Major Championship since the formation of the Tour in 1972.