Germany’s two Major Champions welcomed the newest member to their elite club today and insisted that European golf should savour Rory McIlroy’s towering achievement at Congressional last week.
Veteran Bernhard Langer and reigning US PGA Champion Martin Kaymer were both transfixed by McIlroy’s victory procession in one of the most demanding weeks of the season and both believe that they were watching something truly special.
Langer, who claimed two Masters green jackets, was one of a quartet occupying the top four places in the Official World Golf Ranking 25 years ago. Now Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Kaymer and McIlroy fill the same positions a quarter of a century later.
“We should savour this. It doesn’t come around too often” said Langer as he prepared for the BMW International Open in Munich.
“There was a unique crop of players in the eighties who came along and won Majors and it’s unique again. It’s another generation and I think they benefit from playing each other and beating each other regularly. That’s human nature. They know they can beat them and they know they are just as good and they go out and prove it. For years, there was a drought. Now it’s the opposite.”
Kaymer, who became the first German to win the BMW International Open on home soil three years ago, concurred. He said: “We have the top four spots now and it’s nice. I think it’s something to do with the Europeans playing worldwide and becoming more complete players. We travel a lot and experience everything.
“Watching Rory made me want to practise more. It’s inspirational. If you see somebody playing as well as Rory you want to go out and become a better player.”
The 26 year old former World Number One added: “Rory was impressive. I didn’t see 16 under being the winning score. He was on auto pilot.”
Langer admitted: “I was more than impressed watching Rory. It’s not often you see a player shoot these kind of scores in a Major. Rory is a phenomenal talent and has one of the best swings. I talked to Gary Player yesterday and he said: ‘that boy has a better swing that I’ve seen in a long time’. Mark O’Meara said in Dubai four years ago that he was the best 17 year old he’d ever seen.”