PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - Martin Kaymer reached the top of golf and wondered how he got there. He won his first major at the 2010 PGA Championship. He reached No. 1 in the world six months later. And then he realized his game would not be good enough to stay there. Kaymer wasnt much different from Tiger Woods, who overhauled his swing not long after a record-setting performance in the 1997 Masters. Kaymer was concerned about being a one-dimensional player — his primary shot was a fade — especially if he wanted to contend at Augusta National and other majors. He just didnt realize it would take this long. Halfway through his victory at The Players Championship, he thought back to the time he put in on his game. "All that work, all the hours," Kaymer said. "When you are standing on the range for six, seven hours, hitting the same shot, the same drill, you feel like it should be enough. You just dont want to be there at one stage because its so much. And its a little boring as well. But you know long term, it will become something good." It paid off in a big way last week at The Players, the next best thing to a major. The 29-year-old German tied the course record with a 63 on Thursday and was never behind after any round the rest of the way. His biggest challenge Sunday was when he had to return from a 90-minute storm delay and finish four holes in which he had everything to lose. Even with a double bogey that cut his lead to one shot, he didnt feel as if the tournament were slipping away. About the only thing that annoyed him was that "soft egg" moment to the left the green on the par-5 16th. Kaymer had spoken all week about being confident enough in his swing to stop thinking about the mechanics and to start playing by feel. He talked about hitting the right shot — the brave shot — not the easy one. He kept using the word, "wimp," until he jokingly was asked the German word for it. "Weiches ei," he replied in his native language. And then he offered that polite smile and added the English translation. "Its soft egg." Instead of chipping on the 16th, Kaymer decided to use a putter. He didnt hit it nearly hard enough, so instead of having a good chance at birdie, he had to two-putt from over 30 feet just to make par and keep his one-shot lead. He wound up with one of the craziest pars ever on the island green at the par-3 17th, which ended with a 30-foot putt that broke some 8 feet to the right. And he collected the crystal trophy, along with the $1.8 million check from the richest purse on the PGA Tour. But that wimpy decision on the 16th gnawed at him even in victory. He wants perfection. "Its not the right thing to putt it. Its a soft egg," he said. "The swing is all good. Im happy the way that it works out and the way I go. Everything is fine, and Im really happy about this. But those things ... on 16, I was not true to myself, and thats painful. It really is. Because its just not right. "You can think, I won the golf tournament. I should be happy," he said. "And Im very, very happy about this. But those are things I would like to improve for the future." His future again looks bright. Kaymer now has won 14 times around the world. Even as he was retooling his swing with longtime coach Gunter Kessler, he managed to win a World Golf Championship in Shanghai by closing with a 63. Having barely made a Ryder Cup team in 2012 when Europe would have been better off without him because of his form, Kaymer still had enough left to beat Steve Stricker in the match that assured Europe would keep the cup. And he won at the end of last year in South Africa. But it means more to have beaten one of the strongest fields in golf, and to have conquered a course on the TPC Sawgrass that punishes the slightest mistake. Kaymer never really flinched all week. He put his name out front and stayed there. Darren Clarke noticed it in the second round. Kaymer didnt hit it his best that day, but he scored. Thats the golf Clarke remembered. "Hes a proper golfer this one," Clarke said. "Hes a finely tuned engineer." Perhaps he is ready to take his place among the best in the game. The major season is just getting started. "Now its important that you dont stop," he said. "Its very easy to just be happy now, relax and let things happen. But now its a time we have to work even harder." Kyle Emanuel Jersey
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.com) - Thursday marks the official debut of a new dirt racing surface at Meydan Racecourse.BALTIMORE - A year ago, Justin Forsett ran for 31 yards on six carries as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars.Now a 1,000-yard rusher with the Ravens, Forsett knows it would be foolish for Baltimore to take its downtrodden opponent lightly Sunday.We dont look past anyone, Forsett said. I know this (Jacksonville) team very well. Most of my work was done last year on the scout team against this defence. They have a couple of new pieces, but for the most part I know how tough they are.The Ravens (8-5) have overcome a variety of distractions and injuries to put themselves in position to make the playoffs, and the feeling on the team is that theyve come too far to look past a matchup against Jacksonville (2-11) at home.The thing is, if we had a playoff spot locked up and had three games left, then maybe you could fall into that trap, linebacker Elvis Dumervil said.But man, this team is scary because when youre 2-11, youve still got a lot of pride. Theyve got some explosive players and they have a very good defence.Linebacker Daryl Smith, another ex-Jaguar, said, It doesnt matter whos up next. Every game is important in December. All of them are must-win. So the Jaguars are next.Ravens coach John Harbaugh bristled at the notion that facing Jacksonville might be perceived as an easy assignment.I would just reject the whole principle. Its not something that our guys would even consider, he said. Maybe you can afford to look at it that way if youre not involved in it, but if youre involved in something in your job, or your life, or whatever, you dont take anything for granted, right?Jacksonville has nothing to lose except one more game, but pulling off an upset would certainly tack a positive note to an otherwise dismal season.My hope is that we go out there and compete our tails off; that we go up there with a mentality and were aggressive, we have no fear, we go up there in attack mindset, coach Gus Bradley said.Some things to know about the Ravens-Jaguars matchup:HEALTHY FORSETT: One of the reasons Forsett never got a chance in Jacksonville last season was he was rarely healthy enough to show his talent.I had the turf toe during preseason and training camp and then I broke my ffoot Week 9, he recalled.ddddddddddddThe result: Though it was tough, probably the darkest moment in my career to this date, I loved what I went through because it made me a better man.Forsett got his chance in Baltimore after Ray Rice was suspended and subsequently cut. Forsett has already reached career highs in carries, and his 1,080 yards are by far the most hes ever accumulated.DENARD DONE: The Jaguars will be without running back Denard Robinson for the rest of the season because of a sprained right foot. Without him, Jacksonville will platoon Toby Gerhart and rookie Storm Johnson. Gerhart opened the season as the starter, but sprained his foot/ankle in September and lost his job to Robinson. Johnson, a seventh-round draft pick from UCF, has been inactive the past six games.WRONG RECORD: Jacksonvilles losing ways have reached a record low. The Jaguars are 8-37 over the past three seasons, with 27 of those losses coming by double digits. The latest lopsided loss, a 27-13 setback at Houston, set a modern-day NFL record (since the 1970 merger), breaking the previous three-year mark of 26 double-digit losses by the Houston Oilers in 1971-73 and 72-74.SIR SACK A LOT: Dumervil had 3 1/2 sacks last week in a 28-13 win over Miami and is a sack away from matching his career high of 17, set in 2009 with Denver.Pernell McPhee, Terrell Suggs, everybodys doing their job, which does not allow me to get double-teamed so much, Dumervil said.Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles attributed Dumervils success to perseverance.I think hes relentless. He just gets after it, Bortles said. Hes got a motor that doesnt quit.YOUTH IS SERVED: The Jaguars rookies have combined for 65 starts through 13 games, most in the NFL.At the top of the class is Bortles, whos 10 touchdown passes have gone to five different players — including first-year players Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson.After Robinson went on injured reserve with a broken right foot, Lee proved to be a solid substitute.Hes definitely stepped up and taken advantage of it, Bortles said.___AP Sports Writer Mark Long contributed to this story.___AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
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