Kaymer, Donald voted top golfers

Martin Kaymer has won the European Tour Golfer of the Month award for January and Luke Donald for February.

Martin Kaymer has won the European Tour Golfer of the Month award for January and Luke Donald the same award for February, it was announced on Thursday.

The European Tour’s official website said Kaymer’s award followed his “dominant defence of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, which saw him climb to a career-high World Number Two” and that Donald had been honored on the strength of “his convincing victory in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at Ritz Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain, Arizona”

Kaymer set a new tournament record total of 264 (24 under par) with rounds of 67-65-66-66.

It enabled him to finish eight shots clear of Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and to capture his fourth title in his last eight European Tour appearances.

It was also his third victory in the six-year history of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, following his previous wins in 2008 and 2010 and, in addition, it helped the German young gun to become the quickest player ever to earn €10million on the European Tour.

Kaymer’s resultant upgrade to World No 2 marked the first occasion that two Europeans have been Number One and Two in the world since 1993, when Sir Nick Faldo and Bernhard Langer occupied the same positions.

Kaymer said of his latest award: “I’ve won the Golfer of the Month award four times now and it is always a nice trophy to win.

“I’m collecting them! It’s good to have an extra trophy in my living room. I played very well in Abu Dhabi. I know Tiger has won by 15 shots before, but to win a golf tournament by eight shots is pretty good going.”

Broadcaster Di Stewart, a member of the judging panel, said: “It was another difficult decision for the judging panel. There were so many strong contenders for January’s award.

The panel commended:

– Louis Oosthuizen, the winner of the South African Open on home soil.

– His compatriot, Charl Schwartzel, who won the Joburg Open and had top ten finishes in both the Africa Open and Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

– And Paul Casey, who claimed his first European Tour title in 20 months at the Volvo Golf Champions.

Donald, 33, who was never behind in any of his six matches, produced a master class of outstanding, all-round match play golf, a format in which he has excelled since his amateur years.

So dominant was he, Donald never once needed to play the 18th hole as he saw off Charley Hoffman, Edoardo Molinari and Matteo Manassero, Ryan Moore and Matt Kuchar before taking on Kaymer in a mouth-watering final.

Despite it being only his second event of the year, Donald’s impressively accurate short game and exquisite touch around the greens were strongly in evidence on one of the longest course in US PGA Tour history and he went on to beat the German, who the day before had officially become the new World Number One.

It was Donald’s fourth victory on The European Tour and first in a World Golf Championship and it rocketed him from ninth to a career-high third in the Official World Golf Ranking list behind Kaymer and fellow Englishman Lee Westwood and one ahead of Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell.

“I’m very pleased and proud to have won this award, especially considering the incredible talent competing for the honour,” Said of his award this week.

“I was delighted with my recent win at the WGC-Accenture World Match Play and I look forward to building on that early-season victory for a strong season.”

February was another fine month of performances on The European Tour for the judges to consider, and the panel commended Thomas Björn, winner of the Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy, Alvaro Quiros, who won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and SSP Chowrasia, who triumphed on home soil to clinch the Avantha Masters.

Kaymer and Donald will join the subsequent monthly winners in 2011, all of whom will be considered for The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year – an honour the German shared in 2010 with Graeme McDowell.