Martin “The Germanator” Kaymer is at it again. The World No. 1 player is perched at the top of the leaderboard just one stroke back heading into today’s third round at the World Golf Championships – Cadillac Championship. He and leader, Hunter Mahan, go off in the last twosome at 1:50 (Eastern).
Mahan blazed around Doral’s Blue Monster in Miami, Florida, in a brilliant 8-under, 64 that included nine birdies in his first round. And he was truckin’ along just fine in his second round at 3-under until he made two late bogies. Until then he had a four-shot lead.
Kaymer had a similarly remarkable first round with a 6-under 66 that included just one bogey too. The difference was his flawless 2-under 70 in the second round that suddenly left him just one stroke back of Mahan. What’s the old Jurassic Park joke? “Warning: Objects In The Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear.”
In his post-round interview, Mahan said:
It’s quite impressive, his run. He seems mentally tough and I think that’s what separates him. And he’s a great putter. But he’s playing great. He’s actually winning, and that’s what sets the good players and great players apart.
And, having interviewed Kaymer, I thought, “I don’t think he’s mentally tough. I think he’s mentally soft.”
Mentally tough is traditional jargon that describes steely determination and grit requiring great effort. You can almost see the rivulets of sweat beading on our hero’s face. There may even be grunts and grimaces to communicate the difficulty of it all.
Mentally soft, on the other hand, requires no effort. It is a relaxed state of being where all your senses are at a keen edge. You instinctively know where the wind is coming from rather than engaging in any sort of systemic discovery. They are the times when all the numbers say it should be a 5-iron, but you hit the 7-iron and somehow it’s perfect. There is no explanation for it except that you know who you are and are unthreatened by fearful, egoic conversations…because you have come to know that they are untrue.
When your mind is in a soft, unthreatened state, the world moves at a slower pace. It’s easier to process the flow of it all. You actually end up in the flow and it naturally, perhaps even spiritually, leads you to the right decision.
That’s who I think Martin Kaymer is, he who unabashedly speaks of playing in a state of love. This may be a romanticized version of what’s actually occurring, but it’s not too far off. And it should make for an interesting afternoon.