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Martin Kaymer is on pace to become one of Europe's all-time greats

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

Martin Kaymer after winning the 114th US Open. (Getty Images)
Martin Kaymer after winning the 114th US Open. (Getty Images)

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Of all the numbers Martin Kaymer's incredible performance at Pinehurst unlocked last week, this was the one that shocked me the most: 2.

As in there have been two golfers ever to have won two majors, 10 European Tour events, and become world No. 1 before the age of 30.

Seve Ballesteros is one.

Martin Kaymer is the other.

And with his win at the US Open, Kaymer is now on track to become one of the greatest Europeans to ever pick up a club.

There is a dichotomy among European golfers, however, that's difficult to measure. Some almost play exclusively on the European Tour, others play almost exclusively on the PGA Tour. A few play both.

It's tough to ignore those two majors, though. Everybody knows what those mean.

Of Europeans with double-digit wins in official European Tour events, only a handful have won more majors than Kaymer's two. Here's the list:

  • Nick Faldo: 30 wins | 6 majors
  • Seve Ballesteros: 50 wins | 5 majors
  • Padraig Harrington: 14 wins | 3 majors

That's it, that's the entire list.

Kaymer now has the same number of majors as his German counterpart Bernhard Langer, Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal, and Scotland's Sandy Lyle.

At 29, that's some heady stuff.

He also has a Ryder Cup-winning moment that not many others can claim.

The one he's chasing though, it feels like, is Langer. He's the greatest German golfer ever.

It makes sense, too.

Langer won 42 times on the European Tour, three times on the PGA Tour, and has two green jackets.

A PGA Championship and US Open are nice, but they aren't two green jackets.

"We have almost a German gland slam, almost, it's only the British Open missing," said Kaymer on Sunday.

"To win the Masters, it's a huge thing. Obviously that's why I need to adjust a few things in my swing in order to play better golf there. So winning the PGA, winning this one now, I hope it will make Bernhard proud. I'm sure it will make all Germany proud."

But what else will Kaymer do? How much better can he get as he enters his golfing prime? We've already seen that he can climb to No. 1, give his swing an overhaul, and then start climbing for it again (currently No. 11):

He can (and I think will) get to No. 1 in the world again and should be a force on the next few Ryder Cup teams. Even if he never wins again he'll likely go into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Remember ... 29 years old.

He said after the 2010 PGA Championship he was ill-prepared for what came next.

"Four years ago I didn't know what's happening, you know. I was surprised," he said.

"I was not expecting myself to win a major at 25. I was surprised about my performance. I was surprised about a lot of things. I couldn't handle a lot of things that happened in Germany, all the attention that I could get. And then becoming No. 1 in the world, that added another thing. And it was too much."

It's pretty clear that was the case. Since Kaymer won that PGA Championship in 2010 he hasn't even had a top 10 in a major until Pinehurst.

But it's equally clear from watching him win the Players and the US Open in the same season (another feat that's never happened), he is undeterred by what's to come.

Now Kaymer and his swing can bear the weight of it all. That's a terrifying thought for the golf world.

Because maybe Kaymer is actually what everyone thinks Rory McIlroy is going to be -- one of the greatest European golfers of all-time.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

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