Before Sophia Popov’s win at the AIG Women’s Open, Martin Kaymer and Bernhard Langer were the only two German players to have won a major.
Now, after Popov’s AIG Women’s Open victory, there is a third major winner from Germany, and Kaymer is delighted for his compatriot.
“I think even for her it was quite surprising, because the week before she played on the Symetra Tour in America, and the week after she's competing in the Women's Open and winning," said Kaymer.
“Having a chance is already a good performance and achievement, but then actually finishing the deal (is outstanding). And the way she did it also, the last four holes I could watch on a stream, and I was quite happy for her."
Kaymer has won the U.S. Open and US PGA Championship, while Langer twice won the Masters, but there had never been a German winner of The Open or the Women's Open prior to Popov.
“Now in Germany we have all four majors," Kaymer added. "With Bernhard winning the Masters and Sophia winning the Women's Open, it's quite nice.”
Kaymer was most impressed with the way Popov handled herself down the stretch.
“I don't want to say she played aggressive,” Kaymer said, “but she played very smart, and it's very difficult when you're in those situations not knowing. It’s the unknown.
“You've never really competed in a major where you have a chance to win, so you don't really know how your body and your mind reacts, so I think it was quite impressive the way she did it. It doesn't matter how you win in the end but it's a better feeling when you win that way.”
After watching Popov’s last few holes, the former world number one was one of the first to congratulate the 27-year-old Popov, calling her during an interview with AIGWomensOpen.com. Kaymer’s advice was to ensure Popov enjoyed her big moment.
“It's not me saying something. I think those are the moments where you need to let her tell you how she felt and how she feels now. I just said that I was very happy for her and I just wanted to congratulate her because a moment like this is very rare in your career,” he explained.
“So I hope that she took some time and really enjoyed that moment. Even though you are overwhelmed and everybody wants something from you, I told her maybe you should take an hour with your caddie and just reflect on the day and reflect on the week. Because there is so much positivity.”
Kaymer believes Popov’s major win may well have an even bigger impact on the game of golf in his home country than his own triumphs or those of Langer before him, and he is delighted to see German success in such a competitive global landscape.
“We'll see how much impact it will have on the female golf in Germany. I know Bernhard's win at the Masters, my major wins, they did have a small impact. So hopefully you can have an even bigger impact on female golf in Germany, and also in Europe,” he said.
“It's quite difficult these days on the ladies tour, as a European or American to win, because there are so many Asian players who play so well. So it's quite nice that a European won the AIG Women's Open.”